How to Paint Words On Pillows with Acrylic Paint

This step by step tutorial on how to paint words on pillows with acrylic paint will allow you to add your personal style to home decor. The possibilities are endless!

Today’s project started with some bargain priced flour sack towels that I dyed with coffee. I wanted to do something with them that I could use to sell at an upcoming craft fair, and pillows became the obvious option.

When creating pillows, there’s really no end of ideas for design. But, one major factor helped me narrow down the options:  I wanted to use what I already had without purchasing more supplies.

I had made a pillow for myself a while back by painting stripes on painter’s drop cloth (You can see it here.)  I decided to try that first.

striped pillow

I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of this process.  I was so focused on my task, I just didn’t stop to pick up the camera!  It is really simple, though.  This is what I did…

1.  Mask off your first stripe with 2 pieces of masking tape.  You can measure carefully or do like I did…just eye it and go for it!

2.  Mix acrylic craft paint with a bit of textile medium (found in the same area as the craft paint).  The textile medium makes the paint work well on the fabric and “sets” it so it doesn’t wash out.

3.  Paint the stripe using a stencil brush.  Use very little paint to begin with and then build it up if you want it darker.

4.  Remove the tape and move it over to make the next stripe.  Repeat as often as you’d like!

Once I did a few pillows with stripes, I wanted to try something else.  I really love pillows with big numbers and writing on them, so I wanted to give them a whirl…

collage with pillows with words on them

In reading through other people’s tutorials, I discovered that some people use a Sharpie marker.  Brilliant!  However, my Sharpie markers were far too thick for what I wanted to write…

So…here was my  method for painting words on pillows with acrylic paint:


I printed the font out on my printer, and traced it on to the fabric using graphite paper as the “tracing paper” underneath.


I mixed black acrylic paint with some textile medium (following the bottle’s instructions) and just a teeny tiny bit of white acrylic paint.  I wanted it to be not-too-stark black.

fabric paint

Then, I  painted it with my craft brush (thinning the paint constantly with a bit of water).  I purposely painted it so that some areas are a bit lighter than others so that it looks “worn”.  (Take your time. It is a bit tedious.)

painted words ps

Once the paint dried fully (it dries quite quickly), I ironed the underside of it to heat set the paint.

Christmas pillow ps

number pillows ps

{P.S.  Notice how the “No. 5” pillow is much lighter?  I did that using a teeny tiny black permanent marker.  It was a much quicker process, but the marker was too tiny for the larger numbers and words…}

31 days button

This method of painting is very similar to how I paint on wood. Many of the same techniques apply. This video ~ although showing painting on wood ~ is the same method of painting script as I used on the pillows:

And if you’d like to see a detailed outline of how I paint wooden signs, here it is.

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  1. OK Can I just say how much I love your blog!? It is wonderful! I love your style and how you make THE cutest things so simply! Thanks for always sharing!

  2. We're having a bit of a rainstorm here and our internet is a bit sketchy, so I'll try to answer a question this way… The font I used on the No. 7 pillow was "Edwardian Script" and the font on Joyeux Noel was "English". Thanks, thanks, thanks for all your encouraging words!:) Have a great day…RitaJoy

  3. Your pillows are so pretty and I love that you used the flour sack towels. I used the same tape/paint/textile medium method on drop cloth to make my No.8 faux grainsack pillow, but I may just have to try these longer ones.

  4. Your pillows look terrific!
    Inspired by all the canvas pillows out in blog & design land, I've been hording a few painter sheets with the plan to make pillows too. I hadn't specifically seen these sheets used until now. 🙂 Great job!!

  5. Nice idea, I also do textile painting, I have never used acrylic paints adding textile medium to it. How much medium should I add. I love the idea of creating more colors.Leni

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