Bring spring style indoors


(This article originally appeared in the Concord Monitor’s LiveWell magazine.)

There’s just something about spring that feels fresh, exciting and new. There is new growth outside that people want to bring indoors. (Spring cleaning anyone?)

This project takes inspiration from the flowers and trees blooming outside.

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You’ll only need a few things: fabric, paint and filler.

Paint your spring design on the fabric first and then let dry all the way before you sew into the pillowcase. Then, stuff, close and you’ve got yourself a throw pillow.

Don’t worry if your painting skills are a little rusty. If you’re not up for doing all the painting by hand, you can use stencils or make flower-shaped painting stamps from sponges.

Materials

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½ yard white or beige canvas

16-inch pillow form or polyester fill stuffing

Acrylic or fabric paint and brushes

Needle and thread

Steps

1. Cut two 18-inch squares from your canvas fabric. Half a yard will be enough for one pillow, but you’ll need more to make multiple. If you plan to make a lot, you may want to buy canvas drop cloths used by painters, since it can be less expensive than buying cut-by-the-yard fabric.

2. Set one square aside – this will be the back side. Place newsprint or some other protective sheeting under the second square in case the paint bleeds through.

3. Using a pencil and a bowl, trace a circle on the fabric. This will be the start of your wreath. Then, write out the message you’d like in the middle. Use a stencil if you’d like the letters to look different than your typical handwriting.

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4. Paint the wreath and letters first. You can add loops and swirls to the border to make it seem more plant-like. Let the paint dry most of the way. I used regular acrylic paint, which dries faster than fabric paint but can make the fabric stiffen.

5. When the wreath part of the painting is dry, you can decorate by adding flowers. You can look at pictures of real flowers for inspiration or just go with images of how flowers appear in your imagination.

6. Let your finished painting dry fully (at least four hours) before sewing together. To sew, take the fabric you set aside and place on top of your painting, lining up the edges and corners and pin in place.

7. Starting about 4 inches away from the bottom corner, sew around the edge of the squares, leaving a 8- to 10-inch gap in the bottom of the pillow case.

8. Turn the pillowcase rightside out through the opening you left. You may need to use a pointy tool, like a pencil or meat skewer to fully turn out the corners.

9. Fill the pillowcase with the pillow form or stuffing.

10. Make sure the raw edges of the gap are turned in and sew the opening of the pillowcase closed.

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