I’ve been going a little crazy with canvas painter’s dropcloths lately, because they’re an inexpensive way to purchase a lot of yardage, and because they’re my favorite color–neutral!
I’ve used them for window treatments in my kitchen:
I’ve used them to recover some chairs that are currently in my office:
And I’ve used them to make LOTS of pillow slipcovers. One with a monogram:
One with our name and anniversary year on it:
And a super-cute 11 Magnolia Lane pillow for Amy and Terry’s Christmas presents:
Yes, I’ve been sewing up a storm! But my favorite ones to date are the ones I finished yesterday: slipcovers for my front porch pillows that sport our house number!
The UPS guy really has no excuse now, does he?
I’ve used several different techniques to transfer ink, or paint, onto the canvas, but for these I used the Citrasolv to transfer the ink. There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this, but I thought I’d make it easy for some of you who have asked and just type it up for you here.
1. Wash and iron your fabric–if you’re using dropcloths, they do shrink so don’t skip this step! I have children and pets, so the whole point of slipcovers is that I can take them off and wash them.
2. Measure your pillow and cut the front of your slipcover an extra 1″ all the way around for the seam allowance. I usually sew slipcovers for pillows that I already have in my house, but of course you can buy pillow inserts very inexpensively if you’re making a gift.
3. Cut two flaps for an envelope-style back. I saved myself time by using the edges of the dropcloths for this–they are nicely hemmed. The two flaps should overlap by about 2-4″, depending on the size of the pillow. Be sure you cut them the extra 1″ on either side, too. Set the flaps aside for later.
4. Print your design as a mirror image. Depending on what kind of computer and printer you have and what program you use, this might involve commands like rotate, flip, mirror image, T-shirt image, etc. You’ll need to look that one up on your own. I actually had to print my numbers out normally, scan them, THEN flip them, then print them out again!
5. Find a copier that uses toner. Sorry, ink-jet and traditional laser printers don’t work with Citrasolv. This was the trickiest part of the project for me. I tried Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot, and none of their copiers worked. Older copiers are best, apparently. I tried the one at our public library and it works perfectly (you won’t know until you put the Citrasolv on it whether or not the ink will transfer).
6. Put a towel under your slipcover top, center the image, and tape it onto the top so it doesn’t wiggle around while you’re working on it.
7. Using a paintbrush, apply a generous amount of Citrasolv to the image. I used about a tablespoon for all four numbers. A note about Citrasolv: in my area, I bought my bottle at a local art supply store. I tried Wal-mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Hobby Lobby, Whole Foods, and Michael’s, all to no avail. If you don’t have an independent craft or art supply store, click HERE to order through our Amazon affiliate program.
You’ll probably only need the 8 oz. size (unless you fall in love with the smell, like I did, and start using it to clean your house!).
8. I gave the Citrasolv a few seconds to soak in, and then I took the bottom of a spoon and started rubbing the image (you’ll have to rub pretty hard; your goal is to transfer as much of the ink as possible so your image is clear and sharp). You’ll see the ink transfer to the fabric almost immediately if you peek, which of course I did after so many failed attempts with different copiers.
9. After a few careful peeks to make sure that you’ve rubbed enough to transfer all of the image, go ahead and remove the paper when you’re done. At this point, I allowed my pillow tops to dry. You could certainly launder and iron them again once they’ve dried–this technique is supposed to be colorfast.
10. Pin your pillow top with your two back envelope flaps that you cut earlier. You probably already know this, but pin the right sides together to make a fabric sandwich. On the bottom, put your pillow top (facing up), then your top envelope flap (right side DOWN), then your bottom envelope flap (also right side facing DOWN). Pin your edges together and it should look like this:
11. Sew all around the four sides, about 1/2″ in from the edge. This ensures that your slipcover will fit snugly, but not too snugly. Trim the corners so you’ll get a nice tip, and then press the seams open:
12. Turn the slipcover right-side-out, and press again. I usually use a pencil to push the corners into nice sharp tips. Slide (or force:) ) the pillow into the slipcover and adjust.
13. Stand back and admire your work!
Let me know if you have any questions, and please leave a comment if you have any creative pillow ideas.
**NOTE–be sure to read the first comment below from our reader, Jess, who has some great tips for setting the transfer and laundering your pillows. Thanks, Jess!**