Before you go screaming away from the page. It's easy, easy, easy, requires no formal painting experience and can be accomplished even if you have no artistic ability whatsoever.
Although, I hate saying that, because everyone has some artistic ability, regardless of what they think, but that's a conversation for another day.
I have been in love with those hand painted (looking) pillows that are all the rage now, for a long time. I just didn't love the price. Being a can do kind of crafter, I figured I could probably make one on my own for free and gave it a shot.
This was my inspiration piece.
In 1999, I took a freebie class at my library and made this pretty fall slate. It was my first attempt at pumpkin painting and I just love it. I did a great job.
Of course, I didn't think so when I left the library. In my mind, it was rough, unprofessional and it definitely did not look like the teacher's work. I guess it was a common observation in her classes, because she was prepared for the grumbling.
She told us not to despair, that we "should all leave it in the car tonight and when we go fetch it in the morning, it will have been visited by the trunk fairy who will have cast a spell of beauty on it that could only be seen in the light of the new day."
A little corny, but you know that lady was right.
The magic of perspective is a wonderful thing. Separated from everyone else's version, and my own critical eye for a few hours, my artwork was actually amazing. It's a lesson I try to keep in mind when crafting.
And you should, too.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
And we are our own worst critics.
Enough storytelling...back to the pillow.
To start, I grabbed, a piece of white cotton fabric from my bin and measured out a 17 inch square. My pillow form was 16 inches, so I left half an inch on each side for a hem. I wanted my pillow to be poofy, so if it ended up a little smaller than 16 inches when finished, it was ok.
When my square was drawn out on my fabric, I ironed it to make sure it was totally smooth. Painting over wrinkles is never a good idea.
Next, I grabbed some artwork as a guide, my fabric paint and drew a pumpkin on my fabric with a pencil. If you are hesitant to do this, you can practice first on paper, or you can print out a pumpkin shape and transfer it on to the fabric.
There are tons of methods out there to do this. Of course, the easiest is to turn your printed pumpkin paper over, cover the back with pencil, then place it right side up on the fabric and trace over the pumpkin, pressing down firmly as you draw.
My pumpkin is hard to see, because it's light and it should be. You don't want too much pencil showing through. It'll be hard to cover with paint.
Now. This is the most important step.
Remember when you were in school and you would draw pumpkins at Halloween and color them in, because they were basically an orange ball and hard to mess up, but also because it was fun?
Well, hold on to that feeling, dig into your paint and have fun. Real pumpkins are not perfect and your painted one should not be either.
Freeing, isn't it? ;)
I applied paint with a bristle brush in long strokes, moving from top to bottom. The paint did not cover all areas and that is ok. I also left some linear brush strokes on the pumpkin without smoothing them out on purpose. The strokes and spaces create definition and interest.
I added details with a bit of brown and yellow paint. I added yellow wherever I thought the light would hit the surface of the pumpkin and I added brown to create the vertical lines and shading wherever darkness would be. I didn't get too crazy with my shading and depending on your own design, you don't have to add any at all.
Up to you.
When I was satisfied with my design and it had completely dried, I once again ran the iron over the fabric to set the paint. I have to say that I have done that with all of my projects and it works. They have washed very well.
I stuffed the form in, closed up the bottom and voilá.
Custom made, hand painted, pumpkin pillow for fall.
It was essentially free, since I had all the supplies on hand, took me all of about an hour to complete and adds a bit of fall to any room of the house.
And I didn't even have to put it in the trunk.
I guess that fairy makes house calls, too.
Have you tried hand painting?
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