Category Archives: Decor

How to Sew a Pillow Cover

There are all kinds of tutorials available in multiple media on how to sew pillow covers.  I know I’m not re-inventing the wheel here but if this tutorial helps just one person I’ll be satisfied.  This is how I sew pillow covers.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

Alternate title for this post:  That time I made a west elm knock off.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

As I mentioned in my post about my fancy-pants new headboard, I ended up having enough leftover material to make a toss pillow.  And I just so happened to have an INNER 16″ x 26″ insert from IKEA that was desperate to be opened and swaddled in canvas.  What, too dramatic?

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

Recently I pinned this pillow from my beloved west elm with the caption “Probably pretty easy to diy this one!”…  I was right.

First off, when you make a pillow cover for an insert (not just plain stuffing), always measure your pillow seam to seam.  This pillow was not 16″ x 26″ as advertised, but actually 15″ x 25″.  I would have been super disappointed if I made my pillow cover based on incorrect measurements!

The type of cover I make is generally referred to as an envelope pillow sham or envelope closure.  This method calls for zero zippers, which means I don’t have to switch out feet on my sewing machine, which makes for a fast, easy process and a happy Jamie.  Basically, the back folds onto itself like an envelope.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

The fabric for your front piece should be 1″ longer and wider than your pillow, so I went with 16″ x 26″ (remember my pillow was smaller than advertised – silly IKEA).

The back is made of two pieces, and one overlaps the other.  For this to work, they each need to be 1″ wider than your width (again 16″ in my case) half of the length of your front piece plus five inches.  Let me explain as it relates to my pillow.  My pillow was 25″ long and 15″ wide so my front piece was 26″ and 16″ wide.  26″ long divided in half is 13″.  Plus five inches is 18″.  So each of my back pieces were each 16″ wide and 18″ long.

Here’s a not at all to scale rendering of what I’m trying to say.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

To hem the edges that make up the envelope fold, I use my tried and true method of using a hem ruler to measure a 1″ fold, iron, and fold it within itself to result in a 1/2″ fold.  Then one quick stitch down the center of each fold.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

 

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

For my front, to recreate the look of this pillow, I used my Valspar Perfect Storm paint sample (also used on my headboard and some wall art) and a small watercolor brush.  I used a ruler for the middle row of dots to line everything up but after that I just free handed 16 rows on either side of the middle row.  It didn’t take long at all to dry, maybe 10 minutes after the last row was dotted, it was dried.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

So I laid the back pieces on the front piece, right sides in, with my hems in the center, one overlapping the other.  I don’t think you’re allowed to put that many commas in a sentence but it just happened.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

I sewed all the way around my fabric pieces, the stitch 3/4″ from the edge of the fabric.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

Then I flipped the pillow cover right-sides out, stuffed my insert in there and it was done.

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

Cute, right?

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

easy diy envelope pillow cover / west elm inspired pillow

Please ‘scuse the bad lighting in the above pics…

Do you prefer envelope closures or zipper closures on your pillows?  Or do you prefer to buy pillows and not think twice about it?  Do tell…

Painting on Plastic – A How To

Painting on plastic can be an intimidating task, but let me assure you, friend, YOU CAN DO IT!  Check it…

how to paint plastic

I was commissioned for this project by one of my favorite coworkers, Big Mama.  Big Mama takes real good care of all of the fine folks at my 9-5, including yours truly.  She makes sure we all have our allergy meds and that our parties are planned and that we have lunch or snacks or sodas or whatever the heck else our little hearts desire.  So when she told me she was redoing her bathroom and couldn’t find a mirror in the right color, I was all over helping her.

I’ve actually done some curtains for her before (using this method) so she took no issue with having me customize something for her home.  We discussed a few different options online and different stores she could visit and then she returned to me with a nice, simple mirror from Martha’s line and a swatch of the color she wanted it to be.

how to paint plastic

Problem was, none of the spray paints capable of adhering to plastic were remotely close in color to what she wanted.  That’s okay though, because it gave me the perfect opportunity to show you how easy it is to paint plastic with latex!

Supplies:

  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Zinsser B-I-N oil base primer
  • Latex paint
  • Floetrol
  • Frog tape
  • High quality paint brushes (one for oil based paints and one for latex)
  • Newspaper or dropcloth
  • Mineral spirits (for primer brush cleanup)

First things first – if there is any area of the plastic item that you don’t want painted, you’ll need to tape it off.  In my case, that was the mirror.

how to paint plastic

how to paint plastic

To secure the tape edge and prevent bleed through, I used a plastic putty knife and gently pressed all the way down the length of the tape.

Then I took fine grit (220) sand paper and lightly scuffed the plastic frame.  You don’t have to go wild with it, just enough to remove that smooth sheen.  Make sure you wipe your sanding dust off with a damp cloth.

how to paint plastic

Zinsser B-I-N oil based primer is incredible.  It will stick to anything.  Just make sure you use a good brush for oil based paints (I prefer Blue Hawk).

FYI – as with all my posts thus far, this is not sponsored.  I’m just showing some love to brands that work well for me.

It was a bit of a pain to paint white primer on a white mirror, so if your plastic surface is white, you may want to consider tinting your primer.

Once your primer dries – it’s time to paint!  Cutting latex paint with Floetrol lengthens dry time and reduces brush strokes.  Sometimes I don’t mind brush strokes.  It can enhance the look of certain pieces.  But brush strokes weren’t going to do this mirror any favors.  A couple of ounces of Floetrol was enough for my paint sample.

I just poured it directly in the little pot, screwed the lid back on tight and shook it like crazy for several minutes.

When you paint a dark color over top of white, the first couple of coats are going to scare you.  They’re going to look uneven and patchy and you’re going to want to crawl in a hole.

how to paint plastic

Push through these feelings, friend.  I promise you, it gets better.

My first couple of coats look especially bad here because for some bonehead reason I painted the latex on with a brush and then went over it with a foam roller.

how to paint plastic

how to paint plastic

I was trying to flatten the brushstrokes as best I could but this method is really only suitable for flat surfaces.  Plus the Floetrol does a good job of eliminating brush marks anyway.  So after the second coat I abandoned this method and just went with my trusty paint brush.

Four coats did the trick for this mirror and I waited an entire day between each coat.

how to paint plastic how to paint plastic

I scored the crease between the tape and the frame with an X-ACTO knife to make sure the tape came up clean.  When I pulled the tape away there was a tiny bit of bleed through, but I pulled that up with a steady hand and my X-ACTO.

Four coats did the trick for this mirror and I waited an entire day between each coat.  

I don’t have an after pic in it’s permanent home in Big Mama’s bathroom (yet) but I hope to update this post with one if I can get her to take one for me.  I do have this staged pic – don’t get me started on how difficult it is to photograph a mirror in a badly lit condo.

how to paint plastic

I hope this post gave you the confidence you need to tackle a plastic painting project!  Have you painted on plastic before?  Got any insider tips or tricks?  Do tell…

DIY Canvas Drop Cloth Textile Headboard

Geez that title is a mouthful!  But it’s a big title for a big project that I’m pretty pumped about sharing fuh reals.

I’ve actually been thinking about doing this ever since I hung some DIY’d frames that I wasn’t sure about from minute one.  I even mentioned how I felt in the end of my post about them.  Just.  Meh.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

I don’t know why I waited so long to do this, because once I bought the supplies, I knocked ‘er out in a couple of sessions over a weekend.  By myself.  While I was getting over a combo sinus + upper respiratory infection.  And it only cost me $29.11.  No, seriously, look:

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Ipso facto – an able bodied novice with a few bucks and smidge of determination can totally tackle this, and they too will be left with a really cool, unique and bold headboard!  You ready?

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Supplies:

  • Curtain or textile
  • 48″ long x 1″ diameter wooden dowel
  • 2 traverse rod brackets (I used these)
  • sample size latex paint
  • craft paint brushes
  • newspaper (I’ll explain)
  • cardstock (if you’re making a template for your pattern)
  • scissors
  • drill and screwdriver
  • level (my laser level was really helpful)
  • wee bits of patience

Click here to see how I made my curtain out of a $10 drop cloth!

Now for the pattern.

I already have a couple of patterns happening in the room so this took some careful thought.  My duvet is this beaut from west elm and my rug is this little guy from IKEA.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

I read this post once about mixing patterns – I wish I could find it or remember where I saw it – but it gave great advice.  It said to make sure your mixed patterns are three different sizes – small, medium and large.  My duvet is my medium.  The ikat design resembles Spanish tiles and each little chunk of the pattern is about 6″ wide.

My striped rug would be my small.  I guess because some of the irregular stripes are skinny?  I don’t know, I never said I was an expert.

Anyway, my textile headboard was to be my large pattern.  Which is good because I kind of already had a design in mind, and it ended up fitting right in with the duvet.  If you follow me on pinterest, you may have seen my recent Endless Circle pattern pins (here, here, here).  I was inspired by the pattern on the wood headboard in west elm’s picture of my duvet (check it out here).

If you don’t care about how I made my pattern because you want to make your own, skip on ahead a few pictures / sentences.

To recreate the endless circle look, but with dots instead of a solid line, I needed a template.  I used a math compass on card stock to create a 10″ diameter circle (referred to as a “pie” henceforth) and cut it out.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Then I drew a line through the middle of it, and a line perpendicular to that.  Then I sliced each of my four pie slices in half with two more lines.  And then each of them in half again with four more.  And then in half again with eight more lines.  So I ended up with 32 slices of pie.  Make sense?

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

The plan was to put a dot next to the end of each line around my pie.

I started with the center of my pie at the very top of my canvas in the middle of the width.  I used a craft sponge pouncer dipped in latex paint to make my dots.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Here’s where the newspaper comes in.  Friends, when I decided to paint on a drop cloth, I didn’t think I’d need to protect my work surface.  Isn’t that what a drop cloth is designed to do?!  Well after my first row of circles I noticed that my paint was bleeding through onto the dining table!  EEEP!  It was at that point that I taped some newspaper down underneath the drop cloth, which did a dandy job of protecting my table from bleed through.  I then continued to paint my dotted circles using my template and following a right to left horizontal path.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

The paint is the same blue I used for my striped wall art (Valspar Perfect Storm).  It kind of has greenish undertones but the canvas seems to neutralize that.

When I completed my circle pattern, I staggered the template to create a lattice look.  I can’t think of a better way to describe this process so here are some fun visuals.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Once my painted pattern was dry, It was time to hang this bad boy up!  I used these traverse rod brackets from allen + roth.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

My handy laser level made it easy for me to be sure that my brackets were perfectly vertical.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

I marked where the screws would go, drilled pilot holes and put in the anchors for the screws.  And because I like to keep it real, this is what our bed looked like after that part of the process (sorry, babe).

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Don’t worry I washed the sheets immediately after.  Anyway all that was left to do was hang the canvas up and revel at my new headboard!

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

Much better than the “before” if you ask me.  And I even had enough canvas fabric leftovers to make that toss pillow – I’ll be back with the quick how-to for that soon!

I will say this massive textile kind of makes that wall to the left look bleak and empty, but because we’re moving soon, I don’t know if I want to spend a ton of time hanging things on the walls.  I need that thought to marinate for a minute.

diy canvas drop cloth textile headboard

 

Other DIY’d items seen in this post: bench / mid century nightstands

What do you guys think about my “headboard” – love it, hate it?  Do you have a formula for mixing patterns?  Do tell…

A Curtain Of Sorts

I recently completed a pretty big project that I’m totally obsessed with.  I’m gonna give it to ya in two posts though, so you’re not stuck reading a one thousand word diy essay, k?  Lets talk about how to sew curtains.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

Supplies:

  • Blue Hawk 9′ x 6′ canvas drop cloth
  • Iron / ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Yardstick
  • Binder clips
  • Seam ruler (not necessary but certainly helpful)

I wanted this curtain to be floor-to-ceiling, and my ceilings are 8′ high, so the first step was to trim this guy down.  I also wanted it to be just under 4′ wide.  So I measured 4′ feet from the long side at both the top and bottom edges, folded it over and clipped it in place using binder clips.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

I then ironed a line down the length of the curtain and used that as my guide to cut the fabric as straight as possible.

I repeated the process across the width by making a fold, clipping with binder clips, ironing and cutting across my ironed line.  I went with 8′ 1″ so that once it was hemmed it would be down to 8′.

For the side hem, I used a seam ruler to iron a 1″ fold along the length of the canvas.  I then folded it within itself, resulting in a 1/2″ fold.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

Then the side got a double stitch hem all the way down.  I used a needle and thread in my sewing machine specifically designed for heavy weight fabric.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

The hem along the width would serve as the top of my curtain.  I prefer hidden tab-top curtains.  I just like the way they look.  The process to make them is a bit more tedious but the juice is worth the squeeze if you ask me.

For my tabs, I cut nine 2″ x 4″ rectangles out of my canvas scraps.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

I folded the long edges into the center and ironed.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

And then used a zig zag stitch down the middle for added sturdiness.  This left me with nine 1″ wide, 4″ long strips.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

Using the same folding and ironing technique as I used on the long side of the curtain, I prepared the top to be hemmed, but before I double stitched it, I tucked each of my 1″ wide tabs under the fold, about 4 1/2″ inches apart.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

Then the tabs got double stitched into the top hem.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

I folded the bottoms over and stitched them in about an inch and a half below the top hem so that I could slide a dowel rod through like so.

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

 

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

how to sew hidden tab top curtains

And voila!  I turned a $10 canvas drop cloth into a curtain of sorts.  I’ve used this method on several different fabrics for curtains for friends of mine and it works like a charm every time.

Stay tuned to find out how I used this curtain!  Hint: it’s not over a window.

Do you like to sew your own curtains or do you prefer to buy them?  Do tell…

Pink, Painterly and Polished

Pink, Painterly and Polished.  The three Ps.  Yes, the three Ps.  Oh, that’s not a thing?  Ok well look here, friend: If you have ten minutes, a vase and some nail polish you’re 100% qualified to take on this little DIY.

easy diy painterly vase

Look in your nail polish stash and pick a few colors that you like or that look good together, or preferably they meet both of those standards.

easy diy painterly vase

Grab that sad dollar store vase that’s been giving you buyer’s remorse (yes, even for a dollar) for months now and give it a wipe-down.  I used rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove all of the fingerprints and months worth light dust the vase collected.

easy diy painterly vase

Start with your lightest nail color and throw some random swipes on your vase.  Let dry for a minute or so.

easy diy painterly vase

Move on to the second lightest color…

easy diy painterly vase

And so on…

easy diy painterly vase

Ending with the darkest color you chose.

easy diy painterly vase

Let it fully dry for about an hour in a cool-ish area of your house and then fill that beauty with water and your favorite flowers!  Peachy carnations are one of my preferred picks and they perfectly complimented the pinks in my polishes.  Whoa how many Ps was that?

easy diy painterly vase

Has anyone else given a face-lift to a boring dollar store vase?  Or maybe you like to alliterate as much as me?  Do tell…