Dia de los Muertos Sugar Skull Fabric Painting Project

Use our easy instuctions for our version of Sugar Skulls without the weight gain! Featuring Jacquards Textile Colors, Lumiere 3D metallic fabric paints and embroidery to create a multi dimensional, bright and fun pillow covers. Included in these fabric painting instructions are the measurements and guide to covering a pillow. Using Linen fabrics for the pillow backs and Organic cotton fabrics for the front of the pillow.Customize your space with painted pillow covers using Jacquard's Textile colors, professional quality fabric paints. Permanent on any fiber and easy heat setting to set color.

Fabric painted pillow cover

Taping fabric fro fabric painting
Choose your fabrics
Step 1. Choose your pillow cover front fabric and cut it to 18 inches square, tape it down taut to your working surface. Check out our Cotton canvas fabrics.
Flourescent fabric paints
Choose your paints
Choose your paint colors, acrylic is permanent on fabrics. I used Jacquard Textile Colors Flourescent fabric paint to make bright fun sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos or Halloween.
Dia de los muertos sugar skull template
Choose your template
Step 2. Cut out your template for the sugar skull. I downloaded this one just for the shape of the skull and design inspiration but NOT to reproduce exactly. If you can draw, then free hand is ok too. Center your pattern on front piece of pillow fabric, outline the skull with pencil.
Painting skull on fabric
Mark your skull
Step 3. After you transfer your skull shape with pencil, use a taklon or other synthetic brush suitable for acrylic paints and fill skull in with opaque white fabric paint. Get a good layer of white on so that you can see your other colors bright and clear, use two coats of white paint if needed.
Fabric painting-transfering design
Decide on a design
Step 4. Use your creativity and imagination to draw out the rest or the skull, you can also use the template you've downloaded to copy the eye and nose parts. Just lay paper cutout over skull sillouette and use a pencil to press over lines and make an impression on your white skull.
Drawing designs on fabric
Mark your facial details
Draw out your designs with pencil. Take your time to create an original art piece that will sparkle with color. Use floral design, spirals, leaves or a catholic cross to mimic an authentic sugar skull. Paint in design with fabric paints.
Fabric paints
Get inspired with color
Step 5. I used the flourescent fabric paints as my base for the main color areas. They provide the bright pizazz that make the skull jump off the fabric.
fabric painting
Add color and design
Step 6. After the main designs are painted you can go in with the detail. I used Lumiere 3D for a metallic, 3 dimensional look.
Pillow making project
Add the final details
I loved coordinating colors and adding the final touches of detail. It really made the design pop.
Add background details
Step 7. Now for the background. Use a regular kitchen sponge (fresh and well rinsed) and cut out a circle, star or any shape you want to repeat on the background.
Stamp painting on fabric
Color in your dots
Step 8. Carefully plan out where you want the circles, space them either symetrically or random across the background. I used Metallic Silver Lumiere fabric paint mixed with black to create a dark silver color. Mix well and spread on a palatte, lightly press sponge onto paint, covering entire design evenly. You will have to reapply the paint for each circle. A sponge with tighter holes will cover more evenly, I spun the stamp around to completely cover the fabric and then went back in with a brush and more paint.
Layering fabric
Decide how to finish
Step 9. Once your design is finished you can start planning what color you want on the back of the pillow. I used a linen fabric that comes in a multitude of brilliant colors and has a nice weight for home decor. You can also create a wall hanging, a quilt with a skull for each square! Color galore!
Add the interfacing
Step 10. Choose an interfacing for your pillow top to add weight to the cotton. I used fusible fleece to add a little loft so that when I embroidered it would add dimension and weight.
iron setting
Fuse the top to the interfacing
Step 11. When you fuse the interfacing to the fabric you'll also be heat setting the painting. Set your iron to the hottest setting. Be sure to protect your iron and your painting by placing muslin or other cotton fabric over the top of the fabric.The interfacing will be below pillow top with fusible side up so it sticks to the back of your painting. Iron until fusible has bonded with the backside of your painted fabric.
Making a pillowcase
Choose your pillow backing
Step 12. Now for the pillow back! Choose 1/2 yard of a 54-60" wide regular/ linen weight fabric, or of a 45" wide upholstery fabric. You need the extra width to add weight to your pilow case back.
Measuring hem
Measure and press
This is for 54" fabric- Lay the fabric out and cut 18 inches off the length. Fold that piece in half and press. This will be the inside layer of the envelope pocket pillow back. You should now have a 18" x 18" square folded in half and the remainder of the other piece.
Hem pillow back
Put the back together
Step 13. Take the other linen piece and along the 18 inch side fold it so that you have a large 8 inch hem and then fold in again so that the raw edge of the hem is inside the fold. This is going to add weight to the top piece of the envelope pillow back.
Sew the hem
Sew you seams
Step 14. Sew along the hem fold with coordinating color or for extra fun choose a contrasting color. You can also hand stich with embroidery floss for a more hand crafted look. At this point, if you want, you would embroider on the front of your pillow as well, before sewing the front to the back.
Silk dupioni ribbons
Add your details
Step 15. If you would like to add a contrasting ribbon trim for the outside edge follow the next three steps. If not continue on to step 18.
Silk ribbon trim
Choose your color
Choose a 2 inch wide silk ribbon and fold in half, pin to outside edge of pillow to with the raw edges againt fabric edge, overlap ends.
Ribbon corner
Fold your corners
Step 16. When you get to a corner use extra ribbon to fold on either side, this will allow the trim to round the corner and create a little corner ruffle. Pin all corners.
Sew on trim
Finish your trim
Step 17. Pin ribbon trim, at the end match up the ribbon and sew a seam to connect the two ends. Sew along all four sides 1/4 inch from raw edges.
Fabricpainting  pillow project
Trim your edges
Trim extra ribbon off the ends to 1 inch and fold the edges down towards outside edge of fabric.
Pocket pillow
Sandwich your back and front
Step 18. Layer the back pieces on top of the pillow cover top so that their outside edges meet the outside edges of the top , you will have an opening in the center where you can slip the pillow insert, sew around outside of edges . Turn right side out and insert pillow. I used our bamboo fill pillow inserts, we also have corn fiber stuffing.
Skull pillow
Final finish
Have fun coordinating your backing fabric to the front design, contrast the color of ribbon trim for a fun finish or just keep it simple with a plain edge.
Fabric paints
Dimenional fabric paints in easy applicator bottles
Fabric paints
Textile colors in 30 different colors