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Leafy Sunroom Pillows

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 81 July/August 2000

For these sunroom pillows, mustard-yellow linen was printed with three different-sized anthurium leaves.

Leafy Sunroom Pillows How-To
1. Using a sponge brush, paint the underside of a flattened leaf, so the veins will be visible. Don't coat the leaf too thickly; aim for the thinnest thorough coat possible to produce a detailed image. Turn the leaf over, and place it on fabric.

2. Cover leaf with a paper towel, and roll over it several times with a rubber brayer.

3. Lift the leaf gently from the pointed tip, pulling straight up. Stems tend to shift during this step, so print leaves and stems separately, leaves first. Let the first color dry before overprinting; otherwise it will bleed into the second impression. When you are finished printing, heat-set all paints with an iron, following the paint manufacturer's instructions.

Palm fronds from Florida were printed straight up and down in subtle hues on natural-colored linen napkins. The result is a minimalist pattern suitable to a variety of table settings.

To make a geometric pattern, first make paper templates of your leaf. Then, lay the fabric out -- in this case, a plain canvas tote bag -- and use the templates to mark with a pencil where the points of the leaves meet on your fabric. Mark out the entire pattern, and take a good look at it before printing -- the best way to avoid the mid-project realization that your design is listing.

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