New This Month


Printed Seashell Pillows

Photography: Krause, Johansen

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2009


The scallop shell's iconic shape turns pillows into inspired accessories. The linen covers can be store-bought or hand-sewn. 

If you are making them, print onto the fabric before cutting it, so the pattern will continue to the edges. Be playful in the design, with a mix of light and dark impressions, or go for a stylized row of narrow Vs, made by inking only part of a large shell.

Use this technique on pillowcases, shirts, and sarongs. Print with rubber forms or beach finds (such as shells). Mix paints to find a shade that suits the fabric.

Tips: Test on scrap fabric. For a sarong, cut fabric to size (ours was 44 by 66 inches). Finish with a rolled hem: Turn edge over, and secure with tiny stitches. Wash objects with warm water and dishwashing liquid after printing.


  • 44 by 66 inches of fabric

  • Old towels

  • Fabric paint

  • Shells and sea stars


  1. Cover your work surface with a few layers of old towels (for shells and sea stars) or with paper (for forms).

  2. Brush fabric paint onto part or all of object using a sponge brush.

  3. Print shells and sea stars: Lay fabric flat; press object as if it were a rubber stamp. (Towels allow for some give, yielding a detailed impression.) 

  4. Print forms: Lay fabric on form; press with fingers. Remove fabric.

  5. Let set according to paint manufacturer's instructions.

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