DIY Monogrammed Throw Pillow: A Successful Failure


Every time I go into a craft store I feel like I'm entering a magical apothecary.  I love seeing all of the shelves filled with pretty products - stamps, stickers, pretty papers, paints, ribbons - but I'm most intrigued by the things that I don't recognize.  Bottles, boxes and spools of things that could very well be eye of newt and tongue of frog, for all I know (albeit a really pretty eye and tongue).  

I'm attempting to be a little more daring in my projects and try out some of these products - hence the experiments with glass etch cream and DIY grommet kits - and this week I got to try out another new-to-me product.

As you all know, over the past few weeks I've been creating some affordable throw pillows for various spots around the house that need them.  One of those spots was the guest bedroom/office.  When I merged the two rooms due to nursery needs, I had to combine the deep navy blue of the bed linens and the sea-glass green of the office storage.  I've been wanting to find some accent pieces to pull the colors together since then, and a pretty monogrammed accent pillow seemed like a good project to try. 

I've seen some projects that feature stencils and fabric paint that garnered some very pretty results.  But buying a giant tube of fabric paint in one specific color that I may never use again seemed like a waste of money and space to me, so I did some research to see if there were any other options.  Enter Delta Textile Medium.

Textile medium is basically an additive that allows you to turn regular acrylic paint (that would normally be too stiff and crack on cloth) into permanent fabric paint.  I loved the idea of being able to combine it with the supplies I already own and to make only as much as I need for each exploit.  I picked some up for around $8 and set about testing it on my next pillow project. 

I found some very pale sea-glass colored Calvin Klein napkins at Home Goods for $3 and grabbed a pack of pretty alphabet stencils at JoAnn's.  I broke out my navy blue acrylic paint and some brushes and went to work.

After ironing the napkins, I laid them out and taped them down to a piece of foam core. I selected my stencil, centered it and taped it in place as well. 

Then came the textile medium and paint.  The mixture calls for 2 parts paint to 1 part medium.  I was curious to see if the medium (which is opaque white in the bottle) would dilute the color of the acrylic paint at all, but I didn't notice a difference. 

Using a small, flat paint brush, I painted in my stencil, pressing down on the edges as I went over them.  (One of the nice things about working with fabric is that because it's absorbent there's less chance of the color running underneath the stencil.) 

Initially (get it?), I thought it would be cool to have a monogrammed pillow for both my husband and my last names.  Then I realized that I would be creating a set of pillows saying "S" and "M."  I thought that, perhaps, particularly on a bed, that might not be the best idea.  My own cheery little line of bondage decor.  (yikes...)

The paint dried very quickly and I was able to remove the stencil to check out my handiwork.  In part because the monogram alone seemed a little plain, and in part because painting in the stencils was fun, I decided to repeat the process and add some scroll work to the edges. 

Once everything was dry, I placed a piece of cloth over the painted areas and ironed them again, as per the instructions on the bottle.

The final part of the process was the same as the one I outlined in the previous Napkin Throw Pillow article.  I placed the monogrammed napkin and a plain napkin back to back and sewed three straight seams.  I sewed another seam 3/4 of the way across the fourth side and then turned the pillows right side out.  After a quick press, I stuffed the whole mess with poly-fill and then closed up the opening.  Done!

Soooo... why did I call it a failure?  Well, the truth is, I don't really like how it turned out.  Part of it is that I think the material of the napkins is a little too casual.  It doesn't really mesh with the rest of the bed linens.  And I'm on the fence about the paint-on-fabric results.  The paint seems too flat,  or too... well, paint-like.  Again, though, that could be because of the material of the napkins.  And finally, I just don't love the scroll work.  I thought it might be a nice nod to the curlicues in the paisley duvet, but for some reason they don't sit right with me.  Too country maybe? 

All of that said, I DO like the textile medium.  It was easy to use and far more cost effective than buying fabric paint for every color I ever want to use.  Product win. 

The pillow doesn't look terrible and it'll stay for now, but I'm still keeping an eye out for something I might like a little better.  But you never know until you try, right?

Have a great week guys!

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