What To Do When Making A Stencil Mistake

Updated: Sep 27, 2020


medallion stencil
You can see my mistake as I am in the middle of stenciling

Have you ever had a plan in your head of how something should turn out and this just doesn't happen?


How frustrating is that?! I had all my materials ready to go to show my next fabulous stencil pillow. This is not what happened... I had spent time designing my medallion stencil, cutting it out on my silhouette machine, placing it on my pillowcase, had my daughter, Emma all ready to record the process. I started to paint... one quarter into my project, I had the misfortune of having too much water on my sponge brush and the paint mixture bleed right under my stencil. There are no do overs, no paint eraser or fixes for this. I finished the stencil, thinking that maybe miraculously it wouldn't look bad... yeah it did, and not what my finished product was suppose to look like. I took myself outside and sulked for awhile on my hammock. thinking I had just wasted my entire morning on something that was now ready for the garbage. Luckily for me I started texting my sister, Nicole who was on an eleven hour car ride with her husband to Idaho and had time to text with me. She gave me encouragement. I said to her "If you were here with me, you would have made me stay within the lines!" She laughed at me, a quote from my previous blog about our business, you can read that here. As we were texting back and forth a plan started to form.


medallion Stencil
MY RUINED STENCIL

So now I had this ruined pillowcase, with no extras in my house and no way of getting a replacement until an Amazon order could arrive. Then I started thinking about all the repurposing I have done in my past and how could I take this mistake and turn it around?

What would I do if I had to repurpose this? How could I make this a sustainable project?Luckily I had extra canvas remnants in my closet that blended well with my pillowcase material. I re used my medallion stencil and made sure that I did not apply ANY additional water and I re stenciled my Medallion. Third time was the charm! I had done a practice, then my ruined pillowcase trial and now a separate stencil ( see below photo of my three attempts all together). It came out just like I had envisioned! I then lined it up exactly over my stencil on my pillowcase, pinning it in place. I then chose a complimentary embroidery blue ombre thread. My medallion was mostly purples and pinks with a touch of blue and I wanted to balance out the color.

I penciled a circle around my design and got to work with a chain stitch.this took me about an hour and a half to go all around my design. I also fell in love with this whole embroidery process and will definitely incorporate this in future projects. Once this was complete I took my pins out and I cut the surplus fabric about 1/4 of an inch from my embroidery stitch. WOW the finished product looked amazing and better then my original idea of a flat ombre stencil!

Not only did I have a beautiful stencil but a dimensional appliqué.


So this goes to show you, when a mistake is made, a solution is always at hand. It may not be what you had originally thought of, but the results may warrant a spectacular outcome!


Lessons that I learned while doing my project that also just double for life experiences:

  1. When a failed project ensues, be kind to yourself and walk away and give yourself a moment.

  2. It's always important to have a go to person that is either supportive, or gives you accountability for your actions.

  3. Look at what is in front of you and find the good, find the opportunity that it presents.

  4. Be willing to try something new that may give you a surprising result!

How to stencil a pillowcase correctly the first time!

  1. Purchase your pillowcase, the one I used was a 16x16 canvas pillow cover.

  2. Cut out your stencil, using your silhouette machine, my favorite material is contact paper for my stencil. the Medallion design that I show here can be purchased on my Etsy store.

  3. Place in center of pillowcase, press down to make sure design is securely on.

  4. Decide on your color palette, I used a variety of of colors from Liquitex acrylic paint.

  5. Place a small amount of color on your platte, I use the same plastic lid and clean after each use. make sure that the consistency of the paint is good, if its too think add a drop of water to the pint and mix until the consistency is what you want.

  6. Take your sponge or stencil brush, and dab paint on in a downward motion, mixing like colors. for example I will transition from blue to purple to pink so that the blended portions do not get muddy.

  7. Carefully peel off stencil, and use a tweezer for any small pieces left behind.

  8. Once stencil is completely dry, use a pillow insert it is recommended to go slightly bigger on insert to give pillow a more full look. My insert is a 18x18 insert.

How to fix a stencil a pillowcase if you make a mistake!


1. So if you are at this step then you did what I did

2. Find your self a spare piece of fabric that compliments your pillowcase

3. Re stencil

4. Cut around leaving enough space to pin over original (see above photo)

5. Pencil the outline of where you want to put your stitch, I used a simple chain stitch, however there are multiple decorative stitches that can be applied. I used a zig zag stitch on my peace pillow you can view that here. All stitches can be easily viewed and learned in minutes on youtube.

6. I used an embroidery floss and embroidery needle on my pillow.

7. Once you have the decorative stitch completed take a sharp fabric scissor and cut evenly about 1/4" around your stitch

8. Stuff your pillow and you have a real wow piece for a bedroom or livingroom , or an amazing original gift to present to someone!


medallion stenciled and appliqued pillow




diy stencil pillow


Below are the products that I used in making my pillow.


  1. Cameo silhouette Machine (Love mine!)

  2. 16x16 Canvas pillow covers

  3. Contact paper , for all my stencil projects

  4. My original Medallion design on Etsy

  5. Liquitex paints, this is a great starter kit that gives you a good range of colors

  6. Sponge brushes

  7. Stencil brushes as another option

  8. 18x18 pillow inserts

  9. Embroidery needles

  10. Embroidery floss (This is a version of what I used on my pillow)

Note:  My blog periodically contains affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase, I might make a small commission at no extra charge to you. Purchases made through them are greatly appreciated.




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