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December 27, 2010

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How to emboss velvet: my snowflake pillow

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Madigan made... an embossed velvet pillow.

“A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte

It is really a perfect fabric in the colder months. The word itself just sounds warm and luxurious.

I love to use velvet around the holidays and in the winter. Do you remember our den with our Christmas tree? I used some velvet in there. Can you spot it?

I told you about our tree skirt already. It is just an old velvet curtain panel that I wrapped and draped in a cozy puddle around the tree base.

I needed a small, long pillow for the bench under the botanical prints. So, I made one with the other velvet curtain panel I had.

Because I am neurotic and can't leave well enough alone, I didn't just want a plain velvet pillow. I wanted to add a little something to it. Embossing the velvet seemed like a great idea.

Embossing turned out to be quite easy to do. I found two detailed sets of instructions at Threads Magazine and They varied slightly in the technique, but the premise was the same.

I practiced first on a scrap piece of fabric with a couple different stamps. The holly and letter stamp were too fine for this project. The one that seemed to work best was the thick foam snowflake stamp.  (And I liked that I'd have a pillow that could carry me into January, too. )

Yes, you can emboss with a foam stamp. The iron did warm the stamp and I was a leeetle nervous using the foam stamp repeatedly. But you will see at the end of this post how it held up.

The materials needed were simple: an iron, ironing board, stamp and a spray bottle. (I did not have an empty spray bottle, so I use a lavender linen mist... it smelled really good while I did this project!)

I followed the following steps:

A. Heat the iron without steam on cotton/wool setting. Select where you want the image and lay the fabric over the stamp.

B. Spray the back of the fabric lightly with water. (You could spray the stamp itself, but I found this method worked best for me.)

C. With EVEN pressure, press the iron down on the stamp for about 30 sec. Do not rock the iron back and forth or move it.

D. Gently lift the fabric off the stamp and see how it looks.

Some of the snowflake images were not as crisp as others. It could be my technique OR it also may be the fabric. I read that some velvets are easier to emboss than others.

But, I did not really care, since snowflakes are supposed to be different. The stamps gave a soft background image on the fabric. And just to let you know, it is really difficult to photograph the embossing!

I'm sure you are wondering: How did the foam stamp hold up?

By the end, the stamp started to curl and melt/shrink a little. (another reason why some of the images were not crisp) It did the job, but I think this poor little stamp will retire after this session.

After I embossed the fabric, I just sewed it into a small pillow.

I love that I can keep this soft velvet pillow out through the winter months.

"This is beautiful. What is that? Velvet?"
Name that movie and we'd likely be friends IRL (in real life).