â€¢ Photo-transfer paper for T-shirts (available at some craft supply and stationery stores)
â€¢ Pillow form in desired size (must be large enough to accommodate photograph plus 5 to 10 cm/2- to 4-in border on all sides)
â€¢ White or off-white smooth and tightly woven fabric such as cotton broadcloth, preshrunk and pressed, for pillow-cover front (add 3 cm/1-1/8 in to diameter of round pillow form, or add 3 cm each to length and width of square or rectangular pillow form; cut fabric to this size)
â€¢ Printed or plain fabric, for pillow-cover back (same size as pillow-cover front)
â€¢ Pregathered ruffle or eyelet (add 5 cm/2 in to circumference of round pillow-cover front, or add 5 cm to [width x 2] + [length x 2] of square or rectangular pillow-cover front; cut ruffle to this length), optional
â€¢ Piping (same length as ruffle), optional
â€¢ Matching thread
â€¢ Dressmaker's chalk pencil
â€¢ Stencil of desired motif, approx 2.5 to 7.5 cm (1 to 3 in) in diameter
â€¢ Acrylic paint in desired colour(s)
â€¢ Stencil brush or small piece of sponge
â€¢ Clean plastic container
â€¢ Paper towels
1. Using photo-transfer paper (see Designer's Tips, this page), centre and transfer image onto right side of pillow-cover front, following manufacturer's instructions.
2. Determine desired position of each stencil motif on border; with chalk pencil, lightly mark dot at centre. Dip brush into desired paint colour and dab onto paper towel to remove excess; 1 motif at a time, position stencil and pounce with brush (if using more than 1 colour, rinse brush in container of water between colours). Let dry.
3. If using ruffle and piping: With raw edges even, pin piping around right side of front, overlapping ends in seam allowance; using zipper foot, baste 6 mm (1/4 in) from edge. Press under 6 mm along 1 end of ruffle; with gathered edge of ruffle even with raw edge of piping and starting with pressed end, pin ruffle, right side down, over piping around right side of front. Trim remaining end of ruffle to overlap 15 mm (5/8 in) and press 6 mm to right side. Overlap ends, covering raw edges; hand- or machine-stitch. Using zipper foot, baste ruffle 6 mm from edge.
4. With right sides together and edges even, pin front to back; using zipper foot and 15 mm seam allowance, sew together, stitching approx two-thirds of the way around round cover, or leaving 1 edge open on square or rectangular cover. Turn right side out. Press under 15 mm around opening. Insert pillow form; slipstitch opening closed.
Laura blurred the edges of her digital photograph using Photoshop; your copy shop can do this for you. Laura e-mailed her digital picture to a copy shop; it output the photo onto the photo-transfer paper and created a test sheet of smaller images. She practised with these to determine the best combination of time and heat.
If you have a scanner or if the image is digital, you can output the photograph onto photo-transfer paper designed for your colour ink-jet printer. Before applying your final image, practise on scrap fabric.
Most of the copy shops that offer photo-transfer T-shirts have industrial irons and, for a nominal fee, will transfer the image for you.