Monday, July 25, 2011

Restoration Hardware Inspired Pillows - Tutorial

Restoration Hardware Inspired Pillows
hand painted on canvas
  I have a thing for the natural linens and natural and neutral colors of Restoration Hardware and am a fan of the  

Presse Parisienne Burlap Pillow Cover.  I love the faded charm and vintage look so I decided to make my own version.  Now, I know these are not a actual knock-off because I didn't use french words to mimic the old bank bags and flour sacks like Resto did and they aren't the exact same style but it was the inspiration for this project.  I like the idea of incorporating stories and meaning throughout your home as much as possible...doing things with intention.  Kind of like how in Art History you see a painting that's interesting/beautiful to look at and you can enjoy it without knowing anything about it, but most likely, there is something more to it, a depiction of an event, a story, symbolism of some kind or another that the artist intentionally added.  So not that these are some great work of art like that....but I was just going for the symbolism aspect.  OK so I made the first pillow a tribute to our wedding date, but the other two pillows may just look like more nautical themed decor, but they represent our family history because my husbands ancestors were ship builders and that's where his last name comes from, and then I also remembered that some of my ancestors were ship owners that brought over some of the first Americans.

This project also cost me nothing since I had everything on hand...I have a big roll of raw canvas from an art project I did back in the day.  

raw canvas, burlap, or undyed cotton fabric or other linen-type fabric
burnt umber acrylic paint 
flat paintbrush
scrap cardboard
sewing machine
matching thread
pillow forms
image or lettering printed to desired size (how to print a picture on multiple pages info here)

Find or create an image you would like to transfer onto your Restoration Hardware pillows.  If you are doing words, just select the right font and sizes and print out.  Figure out the size of your pillow and how big you want your image to be and click here to see how to print a picture on multiple pages.

Trim the pages and line up your image and tape all sections together.

Flip your printed image over and shade the back with charcoal as pictured.  I used a willow stick the first time and it wasn't as messy as the chalky charcoal I used in the picture.

Once the back surface is covered with charcoal, flip the image over and line up on fabric (raw canvas in my case) and tape down so it doesn't slide around.

Using a mechanical pencil or sharpened pencil, carefully trace over your image with firm pressure to transfer the image to your fabric.  Carefully pick up one side and take a peek under the paper to see if your image has been fully transferred or if you need to go back over a couple areas.  It won't be perfect but it will give you a good outline to go by.

Using Burnt Umber Acrylic paint (I used Dick Blick) I would get the paint on my flat paint brush and then run it over the cardboard to keep the tip flat and remove excess paint.  I did not use any water.  Then carefully go over your pencil lines and paint the outline of your image (or just paint your letters this way). You may want to practice first on some scraps.  After I had my outline done, I went back and did some filling in and shading but it was very you can see in the ship wheel, on the spindles I would place my brush down on the outline and then drag it towards the middle of the spindle and pull up just a little bit and did that all the way up the spindle to create some dimension.  But how you decide to embellish on your outline is totally up to you and dependent on your image.  But with these pillows, the simpler and more basic you keep the image and detail....the better.  I also reminded myself not to go crazy trying to make these so perfect  because they are supposed to have a vintage, worn look to them and so every line doesn't have to be perfectly evenly shaded.  And I promised I wouldn't care when they got thrown around either, if the image gets worn from'll just add character. :)

Now, measure the size of your pillow form and then cut the fabric to fit, adding room for seam allowance. (I added 1/2-1 inch which is being generous, but I figured I could always make it smaller...can't make it bigger)  Then cut fabric for the back, cut two pieces large enough to overlap by a couple of inches.  Give yourself a few inches to work with.

Fold the raw edges back on the overlapping pieces and iron as pictured above.

Sew a straight seam to finish the edge on both pieces.

Now line up your pieces with the right sides of your fabric facing each other.  Finished seam down against painted fabric.

Place the overlapping piece on, right side down also as pictured.

Pin around the edges.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam around all four edges, back stitching at start and end.

Using the slip opening, flip the pillow cover right-side-out.

Take pillow form (or in my case, nasty crusty kid wrecked pillow) and insert it into your custom, hand painted "vintage" burlap pillow cover to add some rustic charm to your space!

On the anchor, once the dry brushing was done, I wanted to add some faint color to the rest to add more dimension so after I had painted the outline and dark areas of detail, I did go back with a little water and a super small amount of paint just to barely tint it and went over the interior of the anchor, added a little more detail.

NOTE: I just saw this tutorial on Knock Off Decor and it's a much easier/faster method, especially if you don't feel comfortable hand painting!

Drop Cloth Pillow Case Knockoff

from the Shabby Beach Nest


nicolette {momnivores dilemma} said...

These are stunning! {I have some kid-ruined throw pillows that need new life, thanks for the idea!}

I like how you didn't directly knock them off, and weaved some history into them...

If you have a moment today, please share this with my readers @Creative Juice Thursday Hope to see you there!

Desiree @ The 36th AVENUE said...


I'd love for you to share this at my link party... AMAZING JOB!

Katie said...

Those look so good Candace! Reminds me of our days in art together :) only a little more productive I'm sure haha! Great job!

Inspired by you said...

Fantastic job! Love the detail.

Desiree @ The 36th AVENUE said...

I just want to let you know that I'll be featuring your pillows tomorrow on my blog... Feel free to visit and button up ;)

Thank you so much for sharing!

Mandy said...

These are beautiful!! Thank you for sharing, I'm going to try this!

Mel said...

Beautifully done. You certainly have a lot of patience to go with your skill :)

Visiting from Funky Junk Interiors.

Cheryl said...

LOVE the pillows. Where do you do you the prints from? I wanted to do a Mr. & Mrs. pillows for a wedding gift and can follow your wonderful instructions but not sure where to go to get the words. Thanks if you can help me. Email me at Thanks again

andrea@townandprairie said...

Love you work, so unique! You have good taste. The post was very well written. Just signed on as a follower and hope you will also stop by, Regards, Andrea @

Artsy VaVa said...

Your pillows are beautiful! Just pinned this!

Anonymous said...

These are so cute! I hope you don't mind but I am featuring them on my blog tomorrow!

Fifi said...

AWESOME!! I would love to try this out!!

your newest follower from the blog hop! looking forward to more of your posts! ☺

Lynn Page said...

I just lOve this and stumbled upon it in pinterest... Had to double take on you're wedding info tho as I live in Yakima, wa it was a "small world" moment seeing your pillows :)