I am in the process of changing my mantel and decor over to a patriotic theme. I know not everyone decorates for the 4th of July but I happen to love the color combination of red, white and blue. More specifically when it is a deep red, navy blue and vintage white like found in vintage tea stained banners. Even if you do not go all out decorating, an easy way to add a little festiveness for the 4th is by adding in some DIY patriotic pillows.
Today I want to share with you some pillows that I actually made last year, I think they turned out very well. I was not blogging yet so there are not too many pictures of the actual process of making the pillows but I will try to explain best I can. I just love these pillows and I hope you will too. 🙂 All of these pillows were made using the same method as my easy zippered pillow cover tutorial. If you need help with how to sew a pillow with a zipper, check that out. It is super simple!!
First up are the 1776 pillow and the “States” pillow. These pillows were both made using our Cricut to make stencils and spray paint. Spray painting a pillow is so much easier than using stencils and hand painting with a stencil brush. We have also spray painted Christmas pillows in the past as well. I would suggest checking out that post for tips on spray painting pillows.
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FOR THESE PROJECTS YOU WILL NEED:
- Drop cloth to use for pillows to give a vintage look
- Red, white and navy home decor fabric
- Red and Navy Blue spray paint
- Cricut Explore Air or Silhouette Cameo cutter (and the tools it comes with)
- Clear Contact paper – Cut down to 12″ wide
- Transfer tape or blue painter’s tape (optional)
- Brayer roller or something to press the stencil down
- Fusible webbing
- Cardboard or poster board to mask off
- Flag on a stick 🙂
- Down Pillow Inserts – I like these from Ikea
The 1776 pillow was made with two colors, the red and navy. Because it has two colors, you will have to cut out and paint the image in two parts. Using our Cricut, we cut out two stencils of the image. We painted the stars in navy first while masking off the 1776. Then after it was dry, we lined up the second stencil with the stars so that the design would match. After it matched up, we masked off the stars and painted the 1776 in red.
We like to use contact paper with the Cricut to make our stencil because it is cheaper than vinyl and clear so you can see where you need to line things up. Our Cricut cutting mats are 12×24” however the pillow covers that I make are 20×20” so we have to print out two halves and stick them together to make a whole. The contact paper makes it easy to do that as well.
Make sure you mask off all areas that you don’t want to be covered in paint. We like to use poster board or cardboard along with painters tape for this. The paint on the pillows is somewhat stiff at first but softens up after time. Also you can wash them and the paint will not wash out. It may look a bit faded after washing but I think it adds to the vintage look of the pillow covers. These pillows have not been washed. This is how they look after the original painting.
Here is the .png file for the 1776 pillow cover:
You can cut this file out on your Cricut Expression or Silhouette Cameo.
I love how this states pillow turned out. The flag sewn on it came from one of those little flags on a stick. We got it from some Veterans outside of Walmart after donating money to them. I figured I could use it for something down the road and this was it! I am glad I held onto it. 🙂
Mr. Wonderful made up the list of states for the background in Photoshop and we made a stencil with the contact paper. That was a fun one to weed out. 😉 Make sure when you are weeding out letters, you keep track of all the middle parts of the A’s and O’s, etc. You will need those when you are spray painting. We painted the front panel of the pillow cover before I sewed the pillow together. That makes it easier to paint the image on since we did not have to work around any thick edges or corners. You can see the piece of drop cloth under the stencil ready to be painted. Make sure to use a brayer or something to press the stencil down completely before painting. You don’t want the paint to bleed underneath the contact paper.
After the paint was dry, I took the flag off of the stick and attached it to the panel using fusible webbing. You could leave it like this if you do not want to sew it on, but I wanted to stitch around it. I figured that it would look nice outlined in navy blue and stitching would help to firmly secure it to the pillow cover. I used a blanket stitch around the flag.
After the flag was secured on to the pillow cover, I sewed the pillow cover together. Mr. Wonderful suggested that I use a navy blue fabric for the back of the pillow and I am glad he did, I really liked how it looks. I think it makes the pillow look more like a store bought pillow than a DIY project doing it this way. You can see a little of the backing fabric in this picture.
Here is the .png file for the states pillow cover:
The America and stars pillows were inspired from some pillows I saw at Target. I love getting ideas from there. 🙂
I have some 16 x 26″ lumber down pillow inserts from Ikea and when I saw this America pillow, I knew it would be a perfect one to recreate for the lumbar pillow. Although mine was not going to be shaggy unfortunately. I found some navy blue and white cotton duck fabric at Walmart. I checked through our fonts to find one similar to the America font on this pillow. After figuring out the size I wanted it, we printed out the letters and I traced them onto the fusible webbing. Make sure you trace them backwards onto the fusible webbing. That way when you iron the fusible webbing to the wrong side of your letter fabric, the letter will be facing the right way when you iron the letter onto your pillow fabric. Hopefully that is clear. 🙂
Again I decided to stitch around the letters. The fusible webbing by itself would hold the letters on but I like to sew them down so I do not get edges that start to come up later after some use or after washing. I sewed around each letter using a blanket stitch with white thread. I did not want a contrasting color for this pillow.
Here is the .png file for the America letters:
There is no reason you would have to cut this out on your Cricut or Silhouette. The letters are easy enough to cut out by hand.
Lastly, we come to the red stars pillow. Initially when I saw the pillow at Target, I was planning on using the same applique technique as on the America pillow. However, we had just taken a trip to Washington DC and NYC with our two older boys and while we were there we saw the original flag sewn by Betsy Ross at the National Museum of American History. It was really interesting and I highly recommend going if you have not been there. We noticed that the way she sewed the stars on looked like a reverse applique method. We thought it was really cool and Mr. Wonderful REALLY thought I should try to sew this pillow like that. Let’s just say I was hesitant. For one thing, I had never sewn anything using a reverse applique method. Secondly, I try to avoid hand sewing at all costs! Lol. In the end, I gave in and tried the reverse applique method.
It looks pretty good from far away but in my book this pillow is a fail! I used a home decor weight of fabric which I think may have been my undoing. Here I am painstakingly sewing the stars. You feel sorry for me, right? 😉 Actually, I feel sorry for Betsy Ross after doing this. Ha!
I used a turned edge method which means I traced the stars on the red fabric and cut them out leaving a little edge of about 1/8″ around the inside of the star. I clipped the fabric at all the points and corners. Using my needle, I turned this edge under as I went along sewing it down. The part that does not look good is right at the inside of the points of the stars. It started to fray soon after, again I *think* this is due to the fabric, but who knows maybe I was doing something completely wrong. If I was using a cotton quilting fabric, I don’t think I would have had this issue. Here is a closeup of the issue.
Even though I do not like that part, it still looks good overall so I will still use it. I do like the look of the reverse applique for something different and I am willing to try it again at some point. I will have to do some more research first. If any of you sewing gurus out there have any tips, I am all ears. 🙂 I hope you liked the patriotic pillows. Let me know if you have any questions!