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Stencil How to: Make Outdoor Pillows From Drop Cloth

Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio

Changing out the throw pillows in a space can be one of the easiest – and thriftiest – ways to freshen up your décor for the season. I’ve been sewing my own throw pillows for years and have gotten it down to about a half-hour science (per pillow).

Recently, I started adding zippers to my DIY pillows because I wanted to be able to remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine. (I have small children. Need I say more?) Also, I’d like to keep my house from being buried under a mountain of handmade throw pillows. Zippers allows me to reuse former pillows. (Read on for details.).

Today I want to show you how to make rustic chic throw pillows using Royal Design stencils and a painter’s dropcloth for the fabric. These pillows work perfectly as part of my lakeside, outdoor-themed décor.

Supplies suggested for this project:

Royal Design Studio Stencils: Buck Forest Bonnie Christine Wall Stencil and Timberland Bonnie Christine Furniture Stencil

Royal Stencil Crèmes – Bronze Age, Copper Kettle, Smoked Oyster and Pearl Oyster

Stencil brush

1 painter’s dropcloth

18-inch polyester zippers (one for each pillow)

Painter’s tape, tape measure, thread and scissors

Sewing machine

Step 1

Sizing the Drop cloth for DIY Stenciled Pillow | Royal Design Studio


Starting at one edge of the dropcloth, cut out 21-inch squares, two for each pillow you intend to make.

Time-saving tip: Designate the seam at the edge of the dropcloth to be the bottom of the pillow, which is also the spot where the zipper will go. This will make for less seam-sewing.

Step 2

DIY Stencil Pillow | Buck Forest Stencil by Royal Design Studio

Stencil Pillow DIY | Buck Forest Stencil by Royal Design Studio


Stencil the panels. I positioned the Buck Forest stencil over my panel, securing the edges with painter’s tape. I used a stencil crème combination of three parts Copper Kettle to one part Bronze Age for the color.

Stencil Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth | Timberland Stencil by Royal Design Studio


Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Timberland Stencil by Royal Design Studio



For the Timberland stencil, I wanted to use multiple colors on my panel, yet still keep a cohesive look between the two stencil patterns, so I used Copper Kettle as my base.

Then I mixed up two other colors using a combination of stencil cremes to achieve my desired look.

I kept the same color for the same type of tree.

Step 3

Sewing Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio

Sew zipper onto panels.

I began by lining up two panels, with the seamed edge on the bottom. I positioned the zipper so that it was equal distance from both ends.

With the stenciled side facing up, I tucked the zipper under the seamed edge of the dropcloth and sewed a line the full length of the panel, using the current seam as a guide.

After attaching the left side of the zipper, I lined up a second panel and repeated the procedure on the right side of the zipper.

Step 4

Sewing Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio

Turn panels inside out and finish sewing edges.

I tried to keep about a half-inch of space around the perimeter to make the finished product a 20-inch pillow, but this is not an exact science. The important thing is to make sure the seam is in far enough to cover the zipper’s edges.

Step 5

Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio


Turn pillow cover right-side out. I ironed the cover at this point to heat seal the stencil design. After that, it’s stuffing time!

Stuffing Pillow for Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio


I stuffed my pillow cover with another pillow I already had on hand – one of my favorite thrifty tricks. The dropcloth is thick enough so no pattern shows through.

Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio


Tip: Since I’m using my pillows outdoors (on the porch primarily), I sprayed them with a liquid-repelling treatment to help keep them from being damaged by the weather.

Outdoor Pillows from Drop Cloth DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio



I absolutely love these stencil patterns together. They work because I used similar color palettes for both and one design is large while the other is smaller. Also, they both have a woodland theme. These patterns exude a rustic yet modern vibe that suits my home’s environment well.

Outdoor Pillow DIY | Stencils by Royal Design Studio

I made four pillows total and they look absolutely stunning. I smile every time I see them lined up on my Adirondack furniture. They make me want to take a break, read a book and watch for wildlife, with a cup of tea in hand.

Royal Design Studio Wall Stencils and Paint Supplies for DIY Projects


  1. These are adorable!

  2. Cute! Cute! Cute! I have looked at this stencil for redoing the hunters’ cabin. Royal Design Stencils are amazing.

    I haven’t used painter’s cloth–yet–but I have used natural colored canvas that I tea stained. It makes a leathery like, uneven color when you put too much fabric in a pot of tea for a couple of days like I did. At first I didn’t like it, but it has turned out really well on my porch pillows.

    Thanks for sharing! susen

    • What a great idea for use in a hunter’s cabin. I’d like to use it in our family’s cabin as well. Thanks for the great feedback, Susen!

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