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Fabric Design: Creating Accent Pillows

Lesson Plan and Artwork by Joe Couletta, Sax Art Consultant
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Lesson Plan
Grades 7-12
Sax Lesson Plans, Art, Social Studies, Math


Fabric painting has been in existence since humans began weaving fibers together to form fabric. Fabric painting, both as an art form and way of design, is thousands of years old, dating back to 3000 B.C. Fabric designs were traded throughout Asia, Egypt, & Greece, and made its way to Europe and Japan in the 2nd century A.D. Early examples of fabric art found in Peru date back to 200 B.C. These techniques obviously have changed with use of Liquitex® products.


  • Students will research the history of fabric design.
  • Students will create an original design to paint a designer pillow as an accent piece.
  • Students will decide how the fabric design will be incorporated as an accent piece. Consideration will be utilized as to size and shape of the finished pillow.
  • Once the design is executed it will be drawn on the fabric, painted and then sewn into a pillow.

Supplies Needed

Liquitex® Professional Ink Essentials, Assorted Colors, 1 oz. bottle, Set of 6
Liquitex® Professional Acrylic Ink, Metallics, Set of 6
Liquitex® Professional Spray Paint, Iridescent Antique Gold, 400ml
Liquitex® Professional Spray Paint, Cobalt Blue, 400ml
Liquitex® Titanium White Spray Paint
Liquitex® Paint Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 6



Standard #1: Generated and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.


Standard #3: Refine and compete artistic work.


Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.


Step 1

Ask students to research fabric paining and discuss some of the early origins and techniques used.

Step 2

Discuss how Interior Designers use pillows as accent pieces in their designs to bring out color, line and pattern.

Step 3

Students should sketch out and determine the design to be used on their pillow. The design chosen will help determine the size and shape of the pillow.

Step 4

Wash unprimed canvas to remove any sizing in the material. Allow to air dry and then cut the washed canvas to the size needed. Keep in mind this canvas will be sewn to a backing and stuffed with batting or a pillow form. Allow extra material on each side of the piece for this process. Press and tape canvas to a board.

Step 5

Demonstrate how to use Liquitex® Spray Paints on unprimed canvas. Have students practice prior to starting on their final piece. This will cut down on the margin of error.

Step 6

Students will use Liquitex® Spray Paint to create the background of their pillow design. Once applied and allowed to dry students can then utilize Liquitex® Paint Markers with precision nibs to draw in their design details.

Step 7

After the pillow top has been completed and allowed to dry, a backing will need to be sewn onto the pillow top. This can be done by hand or machine. Students can use plain canvas or a colored fabric to enhance their design. An envelope backing is the easiest style to use. Pillows can be stuffed with batting to complete their shape or slip over a commercial pillow form.

Note: These pillow are for decoration and not for use as a sleeping pillow.

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