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Creating a Quilted Sunrise Mandala

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

How to create the Quilted Sunrise Mandala pillow

The Sunrise Mandala design came to me after watching a beautiful sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. I sketched out the mandala not long after that sunrise.

Here are the steps that I used to complete the mandala. Once completed, I turned it into a pillow. You could also create a wall hanging.

Step 1 - Draw the Mandala

There are many ways to draw a mandala. This post isn’t about drawing the mandala – there are hundreds of videos that will step you through that process. Just know that I begin with a compass and drawing circles on paper. The design ‘grows’ from there by filling in the circles with designs.

Step 2 - Photoshop

Once I like the drawing, I scan it into Photoshop. I create my pattern and print it in the final size.

Step 3 - Trace onto fabric

Use a light box, or here I’ve used a window to trace the mandala onto white fabric. Use whatever type of transfer pen that you like. I like the pens that disappear with a spritz of water. Whatever you use, it's always a good idea to test the pen on your fabric.

Step 4 - Baste

I used safety pins to baste the 3 layers together: top, batting and backing fabric. You could easily use a basting spray. I used cotton batting and a plain muslin fabric for the backing because I'm turning this into a pillow, so, the backing fabric won't show.

Step 5 - Quilt

I quilt the mandala with black thread to create the outline for painting. I think the black thread helps the color pop. I used a matching thread to quilt the background with a filler that brings the mandala to the foreground.

Step 6 - Paint

Using fabric paint, I paint the lightest color first and then the dark color. I use a small paint brush which helps to minimize bleeding of colors. I cannot control the bleeding of the paint, I work with the paint as it bleeds onto the fabric. I take my time, slow down and 'go with the flow'.

Step 7 - Finish

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set the paint. Sometimes, you’ll need to heat set it with an iron. It will all depend on the product you’re using.

I created a pillow out of this mandala by simply sewing on an envelope backing and inserting a pillow form. Again, there are many videos on the internet to walk you through creating a pillow backing.

You could also bind the edges and add a hanger on the back and use as a wall hanging. Or, use as a block in a quilt.

Whatever you choose, this Sunrise Mandala adds a pop of color to any decor.

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