October 1, 2011

DIY Greek Key Fabric [with printable]

This one time I was shopping daydreaming about shopping at Horchow online.
Mostly looking for duvet inspiration when  came across this pillow.
Since you've read the title of this post, you've probably inferred I am referring to the Greek Key beaut. I love the symmetry, simplicity and how you eye automatically travels through the lines. There's not even a price for the pillow I like, but the other two are 250 bucks a pop. 
Two. Hundred. And. Fifty. Dollars...Each. {umm, no thank you}

Armed with the pillow as my inspiration, I decided to make my own fabric.
I came across this super fun website that helps you make your own Greek Key patterns. It is honestly awesome. They give you so many options, you could make any pattern you want in just a few minutes. 
Here's the one I came up with, it's pretty close to the original. I made it a square pattern and used it at 10x10 inches, but you could use it at whichever size you'd like.
Plastic sheet/folder (or stencil sheet)
Natural Fabric with Tight Weave (cotton or linen)
Paint of desired color
Fabric Medium {from Michaels'- purchased 2 but used 1/2 of one}
Spray Adhesive
Exacto Knife & Paper Cutter (or stencil-burning tool)
Greek Key Stencil

Instead of buying the stencil sheets and the stencil burning tool, yadda yadda- I used what I had on hand.
A plastic folder.
With a little deconstruction, I had a piece of plastic to experiment on.
I just used my trusty spray adhesive to attach the template to the folder, then got to work.

The stencil is designed for the black part to be removed. I used an inexpensive paper cutter to do all the straight cuts. I marked how far forward and back I could move the blade {without cutting into the white portion of the template} with a piece of white electrical tape. See in the pic below? That way I could do speedy cuts, because there really is a lot of them.

After I had done all the cutting vertically and horizontally I used an Exacto knife for some of the corners. It took me the entire episode of Project Runway to cut it out. 
A nice chunk of time- but still worth it for 
(1) the money saved &
(2) I got exactly what I wanted. 

I wasn't loving the patterns I found online, so getting the exact pattern in the exact color is a HUGE value for me. The bigger the pattern is blown up to use, the quicker and easier it will be to cut out. 

Also, if you made your own, you could simplify it quite a bit. 

As usual, I ignored the amount of time it would take and went full speed ahead towards getting a very close copy of my inspiration. Here's what I used to for the color. 
I was dying to try out the much-talked-about Martha Stewart paint line. I chose Beach Glass in Satin and mixed it with some white paint, to lighten the color a bit. I also picked up Fabric Medium and Pearlizing Medium. I bought everything from Michael's, on sale and ended up using about  1/2 a bottle of each of them (less the white paint.)

Follow the directions on the back of your paints in order to combine them properly. You can only see the shimmer in these pics of the paint while it was wet. Dry, the shimmer is super subtle and doesn't show in the dry paint pics I've taken.

Use a tight weave, natural fabric to paint on. Mine is an inexpensive cotton that feel like a 200-300 thread count sheet.

I used spray adhesive to attach the stencil to the fabric. I sprayed a light coat on the back of the stencil so the fabric wouldn't get very sticky. {You could use regular spray adhesive or stencil adhesive, both will work}

If you're following my lead and using a folder the adhesive is a must
The stencil will be in two pieces- the inner scrolls and the outer frame and lines- so you need to secure the inner scroll work to the fabric, though I still held it down as I dabbed/stippled the paint brush. The paint didn't bleed under the stencil at all, I was really impressed.

Can you see the clump of paint on the left side?
If you get one, it's probably where the acrylic didn't get mixed into the fabric medium. Just scrape'em off while the paint is wet.

Drying time is 24-48 hours. If you need to do any touch-ups the next day you should be fine. When I did there wasn't any color variation between the old and newly applied paints.

After the drying time, you need to iron the fabric to heat set the paint. Follow the directions on your specific brand of fabric medium. You should iron the reverse side of the fabric, without steam.

Want some IDEAS for your new 4 dollar Greek Key FABRIC? OK!

Pillows {of course}
Curtains {or Shower Curtains}
Headband? It's kinda chic.

PLACES to use your new, free STENCIL?
Walls. Mimic the look of mucho expensive wallpaper.

  Floors. This Greek Key rug is gorgeous,  but DIYing a runner or mat would probably be a little more realistic!
This smaller rug is $147 on Amazon I'm sure we could make it for a fraction of the price.
Add a Greek key border to pre-bought sheets or bedding, to make them look instantly expensive and gorgeous!

Here's a close up of my new fabric. It looks legit- right?

I can't wait to show you guys the end product. I love, love, love it! You can find it here!

Don't forget to grab the printable pattern & to check out the website to make any Greek Key design you want, it ROCKS!


  1. Wow. great post it looks fab i love it i will have to check it out for my self. i found a site you can design your own fabric at spoonflower.com and they send it to you with the design on xx

  2. Oh my, that looks SO cool. I can't wait to see what you do with it. Awesome tutorial. I would love to try making my own stencil.

  3. That Greek Key design looks great! Love how you made your own! Very ingenious!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  4. What a fantastic stencils!

    I would love for your to post this gem up on my Fall In Love linky party on Wednesday.

    Until then come by and see a spectacular new spice cabinet.

  5. Looks great. Thanks for the printable. Thanks for linking to Things I've Done Thursday.


  6. This is such a great idea! This was the top viewed link last week at So Very Creative.

  7. Wow! This is an amazing idea! I never would have thought of it and you found several fun ways to execute it. I'm impressed! Great job.

  8. wow.... well now i'm obsessed with this pattern! so cute!

  9. Turned out great. I love stencil embellishments. They offer such a personalized touch to home accessories. Great inspiration!

  10. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday - you were featured today!
    --Mandy, www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

  11. Once again...I love this idea too!

  12. I love that you used the folder for your stencil! Brilliant. I'm going to use that idea on my next stencil project for sure.

  13. I absolutely LOVE your project and the tutorial is great! I love it so much... It's officially pinned on my Pinterest account for a must do (http://pinterest.com/designbuildlove/)! Came over via Tip Me Tuesday!

  14. Great project, thanks for sharing the how to. Laura Cottage and Broome

  15. Wow - I am impressed! Great idea making your own stencil.

  16. This is awesome! It may have taken you an hour to cut the stencil out, but now you have the PERFECT stencil you can use over and over!! I love it! Love the color of paint too - can't wait to see what you did with it!!

  17. How creative! Thanks for sharing! New follower looking forward to seeing all your great posts!

  18. Beautiful!!! I've been wanting to create my own stencil design for a while now, but wasn't sure how to execute it - thanks so much for the tutorial on just that!

    Your design turned out amazing on the fabric (ooooh, and thanks also for the MS paint mention - was about to buy some the other day, but chickened out at the last second! Good to know it is actually a great paint). I can't wait to see what you did with the final product - I think it might be for a drum shade!!

    Take care,

  19. I cant't believe you made that! I'd love to use it for a table runner.

    P.S. I'm giving away 25 free shutterfly holiday cards... come on by! http://acraftyescape.blogspot.com/2011/11/giveaway-shutterflys-2011-holiday-cards.html

  20. Wow, this is awesome! I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for all of the great tips and tricks~

  21. Very nice! Love me some greek key! Thanks for sharing. I have pinned this so I can (hopefully) make this in the future.

  22. Came here curious what the heck GREEK KEY was and left with a TON of great ideas! I feel so sophisticated now. I will have to find a way to work 'greek key' into my conversations tomorrow. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

  23. Wow, I love what you did so much!! Thank you for the template as well, I can definitely see myself using it in the future :)

  24. Love this, I have been wanting to add a greek key pattern to our curtains and am now inspired to try it out using your tutorial! Thanks!

  25. Hi, so I'd like to do this for an event, but the link to the stencil isn't working. Any chance you can post it, again? Thanks so much!

  26. Thank you for this nice sharing. Great post.


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