Tutorial: Screen Printed Cat Pillow

January 14, 2017

Just for fun – over the next week or two I’ll repost some of your favorite tutorials – enjoy!


A couple of weeks ago one of my little ones walked in and said, “will you teach me to make a screen?” Now a very good mother would have done this long ago, especially since this little one has been asking to do this for months. Unfortunately I’m more of the “my studio is MY refuge” kind of mother and I don’t take time out as often as I should to let them into my space. I felt the need to take time for her this time. So glad I did.

She would like to share with you her process.
She things that if she can do it so can you!

General’s Carbon Sketch Pencil

Draw your picture with a carbon pencil and send it through a thermofax machine and thermal-mesh to make a screen. You can also email your image to a thermofax screen service and let someone else make the screen for you.

Lay out your cloth on a padded print surface (mine is a layer of felt under twill) and position your screen. It’s easier to handle a foam brush than a squeegee. Dip it in the paint. With one hand hold the frame, with the other press the brush across the screen. Notice how her finger is pressing the brush? You really need to squish the paint fairly hard to get the paint through to the fabric.

We made a few prints then washed and dried the screen before turning it over and making some facing the other way. We also decided to do some splatter painting over the top of the kitties just for fun. Dip an old toothbrush into the paint and run your finger over it. It makes a really fun mess!

Cut out the kitties and hold them up to the light and make sure they are aligned. Pin the cats and sew a straight stitch around them, leaving a gap about two inches wide. Use pinking shears to trim about 1/4 inch around the outside of the seam.
Stuff your pillow through the gap. I always have left over bits of batting so she tore some of those up and used them.

Squish the batting back into the pillow and stick a pin into it so that it’s easier to sew.

Sew a straight stitch to close the gap.

Pose for a picture with your beautiful little creations. Carry them around and tell everyone you know that you made them yourself. Sleep with them every night.


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  • Reply
    Teresita Leal
    February 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    congratulations on your two lovely creations: daughter and pillows!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Lyric, I can’t wait to do this with my grandson. I think he would like to make a pillowcase out of his design. Will a regular #2 pencil work? I’ll ask my daughter in law to help him get the drawing done for Christmas and then we’ll send it to you for a screen. Thanks for sharing with us – your daughter is going to have fun making more screens I bet!

    • Reply
      December 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      A black ink pen is easiest to copy or scan – and then you can just email the jpg to me. You can always trace over a pencil drawing with ink then erase the pencil. The pencil my young one used was a special carbon pencil that I can burn a screen directly from. I look forward to seeing yoru family project!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Wonderful tutorial dear niece! Thank you. I hope you plan to play with them in July, too. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 7, 2012 at 6:19 am

    What a genius child! I love her drawing and the printing she did with it. She will always remember this project with her Mom and that her Mom thought it was important enough to share with others. Great job Mom!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I agree with Jane, your little one needs her own blog. I know she can teach me lots of things, like how to draw a cat. She is adorable. (Something I did with my neighbor (she is 7) is pounding flowers on fabric and watercolor paper. We had a blast.)

  • Reply
    ms lottie
    April 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Your blog is such a lovely place to visit. I love kids drawings – so free and unconcerned! Your ideas for notes in the aeroplane mags is sweet, I'd love to find one and those pics the other day were simply beautiful.

  • Reply
    Jane LaFazio
    April 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    oh this is fabulous! I love her kitty drawing and the tutorial is perfect. I'm thinking she needs her own blog. 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda Kittmer
    April 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I totally understand the studio as a refuge concept LOL. However, if the results are this awesome, obviously taking your daughter in there from time to time is totally worth it. Please let her know that I LOVE her cat. It is absolutely adorable. Her original drawing is fabulous and the end results turned out great. She must be so thrilled with them!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

    What a wonderful project! I regularly do art/sewing projects with my grand daughter and need to remember to take out my thermofax screens! Please tell your daughter how much I LOVE her cats.

  • Reply
    Judy Warner
    April 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Great idea, Lyric! Told my daughter I am going to start a file of potential future projects for when our grandchild arrives. 🙂

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