Jul 13, 2010

DIY - Revamped Pillows with Imperial Trellis Print

I love Kelly Wearstler's style. An award winning interior designer, she's done projects all over the world and one of her famous patterns, Imperial Trellis, can be seen as wallpapers, fabrics and even clip boards and trash cans.

I've been slowly putting together our living room area and quickly fell in love with her Imperial Trellis II print in Java after seeing this photo:

{Uploaded by Suzie on DecorPad.com}

But of course, the fabric is way way WAY out of my price range, the cheapest I could find it was $105.99 a yard. I could have bought the pillows here or here from one of these fabulous Etsy sellers and in hindsight that probably would have been the best way to go (Sometimes DIY projects take quite a bit more time than expected to complete!).

But since I had a few things I could make pillows with lying around the apartment, I decided to make them myself. I used a white tablecloth (one of the same ones I used for my balcony curtains) bought from Ebay several years ago for $7-$10 each. I also had 4 of these blue pillows.

First, I took the trim off the pillows:

Then I cut up my tablecloth into 18.5 inch squares (to allow 1/4 inch for seams).

I then purchased some Americana acrylic paint in Bittersweet Chocolate, some Fabric Painting Medium and a little stencil sponge tool (came in a two pack) from the craft store. The Fabric Painting Medium can be used with any acrylic paint to make it usable for fabrics. You just have to let the fabric dry for 24-48 hours after painting and then heat-set it for 30 seconds and you're done! It's even washable!

Using the Imperial Trellis design, I used 6 sheets of 100lb card stock and made a template.

Then I painted in the design. For the first pillow I just painted right over the template and then quickly discovered that the paint was moving around ever so slightly so I had to go back and fix a lot of it. For the rest of the pillows, I lightly traced the template design onto them with a pencil and painted them in with a brush.

I decided to use white for the backs because painting took quite a bit of time. Since I used a tablecloth that was thick, the blue pillows underneath don't show through, and neither do the lumps!

Ta da!

Cost Breakdown:
4 Pillows - reused
1 White tablecloth - re-purposed (you can get them for $7-10 on Ebay)
Acrylic Paint x 2 - $1.29 each
Fabric Painting Medium - $1.99
Foam Brush - $1.97
100 lb Cardstock - Already had for a school project but I bought it at Kinko's for 20 cents a sheet


Doing this project from scratch would run about $15-20 + four pillows.

Once again:


  1. Thank you so much for your prayers..it means so much to our family!! I am so glad I came over to see your blog, it's amazing!! Can you make me a few of those pillows...I've always loved that print!!:) I'm still trying to figure out how you did that...I love it in wall paper too!!

  2. It looks great, but I always cringe at painting fabric that you rest on. I did t-shirts and such when I was younger and remember the fabric paint always dried hard.

    Not something I would want to rest my head on.

    Is fabric paint still that way?

  3. Heather - I forgot to mention that in my post actually, the fabric paint isn't TOO hard, but it's not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world either. I'm glad I left the backs of the pillows plain so one could flip them around and use that side. :)

  4. ps. Actually I used it on a t-shirt and it came out nice and soft, so perhaps it's because of the tablecloth fabric?

    And Rene' - I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog and I'm happy to hear about your father in law! I could make you some pillows but it would probably take me another year :) Painting patterns is a sloooow process! I've seen a few people do this as a stencil on the wall instead of the wallpaper and my goodness they are amazingly patient!


  5. whoa! so impressed! I had no idea from the initial pic that it was paint!

  6. Love this!!! What a great idea!

  7. Fabulicious. You are very patient to do all of this by hand. I might give it a go but I will use freezer paper and cut it out on my cricut (I think, lol).

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Mel - Freezer paper would have worked sooo much better, I wish I would have thought of that! And I'm totally jealous of your cricut! I'm saving up for one :)

  9. Just found this via Danielle Oakey Interiors! Love it! Totally my kind of project. I'm definitely going to try it!

  10. You did a great job with these. Thanks for showing how you did it - I've thought the same thing many a time (after finding out how expensive Imperial Trellis is . . .)


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