Resene Paints - home page

Painterly pillows

Sustainable ideas ❋ Te oranga ō te taiao, from Thrive magazine

Marsha Smith upcycles old pillowcases to create a set of colourful on-trend cushion covers.

Painted upcylcled pillows
How to make a hand-painted cushion covers

What you need


Turn the pillowcase inside out and place the cushion inner on top, with one edge of the cushion at the opening end. (A) Draw a line on the pillowcase to make it the correct size for the cushion, while retaining the pillowcase opening. (B) Sew along this line and then cut the excess fabric off. Turn the pillowcase in the right way and iron before starting.

Leaf Design

Note: For each pillowcase, place a piece of Resene card inside before starting, to stop the paint from going through to the back of the pillowcase.

  1. Draw and cut out some tropical leaf shapes. (C) Lay them on top of the cushion cover so you have a nice composition, with some overlapping. (D) Trace with a pencil and then begin to fill in each leaf with Resene paints. We used Resene Soulful, Resene Just Dance (E), Resene Stinger and Resene Raging Bull for the leaves. Make sure each leaf is dried completely before painting the next one. Use Resene Raging Bull, the darkest shade, as the overlapping layer. (F)

  2. Once all the leaves are painted and dry (G), trace around one of the larger leaves and paint just the outline with Resene Mystery to give the cushion a more interesting layered design. (H)

Terrazzo Design

  1. Use removable tape to create random triangular and polygon shapes. Note: Tear the tape so you have interesting edges, rather than straight ones. It will make your design look more authentic. (I)

  2. Using Resene art brushes, paint inside the taped area. (J) Make sure this colour dries completely before removing the tape. Then start taping and painting the next lot of shapes in Resene colours. Continue this process, making sure you leave spaces where the fabric is showing. (K) This is the time to cover any marks on the pillowcase!

  3. The goal is to scatter the Resene colours so there is a good mix of shapes, sizes and colours. We used all the Resene colours listed at top right. (L)

  4. Finish with Resene All Black. It will overlap the other colours successfully. (M)

Face Design

  1. Paint a group of organic-looking circular shapes. We used Resene Soulful, Resene Just Dance, Resene Jailbreak and Resene Raging Bull. (N) When completely dry, use pencil to draw a continual line drawing of a woman’s face. Search online for “minimal line art” to find images to help you with your design. Use the finest of the Resene art brushes to paint over the pencil line with Resene All Black.



Resene Mystery

Resene Soulful

Resene Just Dance

Resene Jailbreak

Download this project as a PDF

Photography by Michael Moore. August/September 2021

Projects from Thrive magazine
Thrive features authentic information on sustainability, mind and body health, garden-to-table living, eco beauty and fashion...

View more projects


Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

View Videos

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.