Middle-earth: Middle-earth Cushions
You can find cushions with an elvish or Middle-earth feel in department stores or in markets. I picked up some from a shop near my local mall as shown above. However, you can also decorate your own, which also looks very effective. Here’s how.
You will need:
- A cushion and a cushion cover (available from most department stores)
- Needle and thread (the thread should preferably match the colour of your beads)
- Fabric paint (optional)
The rough concept for making any beaded cushion is as follows:
1) Before you start, work out how you will do the cushion’s background colour, if it is a coloured background. Here are some ideas:
- Dye it. If so, buy a dye and follow the instructions.
- Bead it. This will take the longest time, but if you have time on your hands, it could look very effective. Do this after you do your design. It’s probably also a good idea to have a dyed or already coloured background, so gaps won’t look strange or awkward.
- Buy a cushion cover in that colour already.
- Do your design first, then fill in the background with fabric paint.
2) Mark out a rough pattern lightly on the cushion cover for the beading with a pencil.
3) Work out how you want to do the foreground or pattern of your picture. You have two or three options.
- Sew along the pattern you drew with an appropriate colour of thread, adding beads where you want decoration.
- Cut out some fabric in the right colour and attach it with fabric glue. You could put beading or fabric paint over this, or leave it plain.
- Outline the design in fabric paint, possibly with beading inside the shapes.
Knowing the basic concept, below are some designs you can use for your cushions. Click on the images drawn in red for a bigger pattern that you can print off as a guide.
The Gil-galad cushion can be created with fabric, fabric paints or with beading. Here’s how to make it (refer to the small picture on the right for colours):
1) Decide on your choice for the background. If you can find a dark blue cushion cover, that’s probably the easiest way. However, you could dye the cushion cover dark blue, or you could bead the cushion completely blue (this would take a lot of time, so I don’t recommend this option.
2) Mark the design out on the cushion in pencil. You can also outline the design in fabric paint when the initial design has been marked; however, you will need to wait for this to dry.
3) So that you don’t need to worry about gaps in the beading, you may want to cover the gold part of the design in a gold fabric. Choose a fabric that will be easy to sew on and have the right texture. You may want a silky fabric.
4) Sew rows of beads within the borders of your design. If you have used fabric, you may want to just do occasional beads, or you can do the full rows.
The Silmarils cushion is probably best created mainly with fabric paint, because it is simple but varies in colour. Refer to picture on the right for colours.
1) It’s best to work from a pale green background for this piece, so either find a pale green cushion cover, or dye one in that colour.
2) Mark out the pattern (the red circles are for the Silmarils).
3) Paint in the darker green highlights, leaving space for the other colours. You’ll notice the background is mostly a mottled green.
4) Paint in the brown lines.
5) Inside the circles for the Silmarils, bead with silver or transparent beads. You may wish to put a material background on this piece of the cushion beforehand, so gaps in the beading won’t look too awkward. I’d suggest a grey or white background.
The designs above have quite an elvish feel, but the beauty of the elves is not a limit in any shape or form. What about a dwarven cushion, black with silver beading? Or perhaps a cushion bearing the white tree of Gondor? Let your imagination run free.
If you’d like a cushion with a proper photo on, try something like a fabric or t-shirt transfer kit. You can find such kits to do this in most craft stores, so you could have your very own Legolas cushion!
Here’s another cushion idea from Ainanna_Estel
Tree of Gondor Cushion
Interestingly enough, IKEA is quite a good place to go to get basic supplies for your elven room. I found a cushion cover there called Inez Trad, the design of which looked like it could be some artistic impression of the Tree of Gondor, for only £2.50 (about $5 in the US), and then I purchased an inner cushion to go inside, which was roughly the same price.
So I had my cushion, but it was a bit boring with just the grey shape of the tree, so I bought some cheap silver sequins (I thought about gold, but decided it wouldn’t look so good and I like silver better, but you can make up your own mind), and sewed them all over the tree on branches like flowers or buds. It took a while as I had to do it by hand, but in the end it looked really pretty and the overall result made the effort worthwhile. And one of the best things is that if you ever change your room for a less elven design, the cushion will still fit in, and if you don’t have an LotR-themed room at the moment then this cushion can bring an elven feel to your room.