In a cottage-style bedroom, drop-cloth canvas lends texture. Easy to sew and paint, drop cloths come in standard sizes starting at 6 x 9 feet, which you can pick up for less than $15. A 12 x 15–foot canvas will run about $30. Ready, set, paint!
As a soft neutral, drop cloth canvas allows delicate color accents to shine. Flea market finds like a vintage desk clock complete the look.
On a simple headboard, stenciling with fabric paint gives this project its appeal.
Pro tip: When realigning the leaf stencil, our designers turned it downward slightly on each side to achieve a swag effect.
When stenciling on canvas, apply the paint using a tapping motion and light pressure, let it dry, then add more coats until you have the look you like. Fewer coats will give an artistic sketch effect, more will produce a solid, stamp-like motif.
What You’ll Need
- Canvas cotton drop cloth
- Quilt batting on a roll (enough to wrap around the backing)
- Tape measure
- Plastic drop cloth or other nonporous surface protection
- Stencil adhesive
- Fabric paint
- Disposable plate
- Foam spouncer
- Paper towels
- Plywood or MDF backing cut to desired size (a queen-size headboard measures about 5 feet wide x 4 feet high)
- Staple gun and staples
- Wall cleats: Rockler 18-inch Heavy-Duty Mirror and Picture Hanger
- Cut drop cloth fabric and batting so there’s an extra 3 inches on each vertical and horizontal side of backing.
- Place fabric right side up on a protected surface. Lightly spray back of stencil with adhesive. Place onto horizontal center of fabric about 15 inches down from the top and pat into place. Pour paint onto plate; dip spouncer into paint. Dab off excess on stack of paper towels; lightly apply paint to fabric, filling in all areas of stencil gradually. (With any painting project, take the time to let coats dry completely before picking up the roller or brush again. Multiple thin paint layers improve durability.)
- Remove stencil and align the registration marks (we turned our stencil downward slightly on each side to achieve a swag effect). Repeat the painting steps. Do this to both sides of the center motif.
- Lay painted fabric facedown on clean work surface. Add a single layer of batting. Top with the MDF backing.
- Starting in the middle of one side, wrap the fabric and batting around to the back of the MDF. Secure with staples, leaving corners open. Repeat steps on the opposite side, pulling fabric and batting taut as you go. Repeat steps on remaining two sides.
- For neat corners, clip out a square notch of the extra batting and fabric, then tuck them in so they lie flat; staple in place.
Attach headboard to a wall stud using wall cleats. (We attached ours inside a fireplace surround so we matched the dimensions to the opening, and the finished headboard was screwed into the wood surround from the back side.)
Before buying new stencils or even fabric paint, check with like-minded DIY friends who may have designs or colors that suit your style. Most folks are happy to have their leftover supplies put to good use.
Wrapping drop cloth around inexpensive cording creates the piping that gives a finished look to these pillows. Use tailor’s chalk to lightly outline botanical silhouettes, then trace over the sketches with a fabric pen.
Tip: Iron or steam out the folds in drop cloths left from the packaging to get smooth, professional results.
What You’ll Need
- Canvas drop cloth
- Sewing machine
- 6/32-inch cotton cording, 3 yards
- Fabric paint marker
- Pencil or tailor’s chalk
- Pattern, if desired (look through adult coloring books and online graphics sources for inspiration)
- Pillow insert
- Cut one fabric piece 18½ inches square. Cut a second piece 18½ x 24½ inches. Fold this second piece in half and cut on the fold to get two identical pieces that are 18½ x 12¼ inches.
- Measure how much cording is needed: Quadruple the width of the pillow and add 2 inches. To cover the cording, cut bias strips: Fold fabric diagonally, matching the side edge with the bottom edge and press. This will create a 45-degree line with which to align strips. Cut as many 1½-inch-wide strips as the project requires, parallel with the 45-degree crease. Connect bias strips to form one big, long strip: Pin two strips right sides together at a 90-degree angle. Sew a straight line from the top left corner where the two strips overlap, to the bottom right corner. Trim the seam allowance. Repeat to sew all the strips together to form one long strip of bias tape. Starting at one end of the bias strip, lay cotton cording on the wrong side of the fabric and fold in half over the top. Slide a pin through the folded strip and through the cotton cording, securing both. Work along the bias tape, folding and pinning the cording inside every 8 inches. Using a zipper foot on the sewing machine, sew the fabric around the cording.
- Pin cording onto the right/patterned side of the large piece of fabric with cording edges lining up with the edges of the pillow fabric. Tip: To get a closer fit on the edges, use some small scissors and make small cuts on the cording fabric at the edges: This will let the cording bend around the corners. Pin it all in place.
- To give the cording a continuous look, open a seam on one end of the cording and cut 2 inches off the cording inside. Then, with the other end of the cording, trim 2 inches off of the cording fabric and insert the trimmed cording edge into the open seam so it matches up with the cut edge of the cording inside. Fold the edges of the cording cover, fold it under and pin in place. Sew the cording onto the front of the pillow cover, using the zipper foot to get as close to the cording as possible.
- Hem one 18½-inch edge of the two remaining pieces of fabric for the back of the pillow envelope. Then, with all right sides facing inward, pin those panels onto your pillow front so that they overlap. Sew the pillow front to the back pieces tightly against the outside edge of the cording.
- Turn the pillow cover inside out. Using a pattern or drawing freehand with a pencil or tailor’s chalk, sketch a design on the front center of the pillow cover. (If you’re not comfy free-handing a design, look through adult coloring books, online graphics and magazines for inspiration.)
- Trace the design with a fabric paint marker and insert the pillow form.
Featuring the same piping technique as the pillows, this cube pouf gets its shape from polystyrene balls, which can be added as time goes on to maintain the right amount of firmness. Nestle a small tray on top to hold bedside items.
What You’ll Need (Finished size: 18 x 18 x 18)
- 4 x 15–foot heavyweight (10-ounce) painter’s canvas
- Narrow cording to stitch into seams for piping
- 54-inch zipper
- Sewing machine with zipper foot
- Seam ripper
- Pins and needles
- Pencil or tailor’s chalk
- Fabric paint marker
- 1 bag of 100L polystyrene balls
- For sides, cut one 19 x 75–inch piece from canvas.
- For top and bottom, cut two 19 x 19–inch pieces from canvas.
- For bias strip for piping, cut 11/4 x 150–inch piece from canvas. Piece together as necessary.
- Divide side piece into 18½-inch sections.
- Mark with pencil or tailor’s chalk. Crease along the 18½-inch divides. With zipper foot, sew cording (creating piping) inside the creases. With right sides facing, stitch side along the open ends using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Turn what will now be a tube so right sides are out and topstitch a 1/4-inch seam along this last seam to create the illusion of piping.
- For piping, cover and stitch cording with bias fabric. Stitch piping to top and bottom pouf with a ½-inch seam allowance.
- With right sides facing, stitch one side section to one side of bottom, matching corners, and using a ½-inch seam allowance. For the other three sides, use a ½-inch allowance to connect them to pouf bottom with a basting stitch. This is where your zipper will go.
- With the right sides facing down, place zipper facedown so it lies directly on the seam. The zipper pull should only be about ½ inch down from the top of the seam edge. Pin zipper into place. Use zipper foot to sew the zipper into place. When the zipper is attached, use a seam ripper to open the baste seam.
- Leaving a section of zipper open, stitch pouf top to remaining pouf sides, matching corners. Turn to right side.
- Using a pattern or drawing freehand with a pencil or tailor’s chalk, sketch a design on pouf. Trace design with a fabric paint marker.
- Fill pouf. Open the bag of polystyrene balls carefully or this can get messy. It helps to have two pairs of hands for this step. Insert open end of bag into zippered opening of pouf and pour balls in slowly.
- Carefully shake pouf often to settle the balls; you will probably use the entire bag.
Over time you can add more polystyrene to keep pouf’s shape.
- Close zipper.
Need more ideas? Drop cloths can become laundry bags, slipcovers, pet beds and lampshades that you can decorate using the techniques shown here.
Photography by Chris Hennessey
© Caruth Studio