DIY (ish) Pillow Cover

diy projects

I remember a post Kate (Centsational Girl) wrote a few months ago. It was lovely, she made her own pillow cover out of a flour sack, and then taped it up and painted a fun pattern on it! I thought it was wonderful. SHE is wonderful.  But, I didn’t even pin it because I know myself and I will never drag out my sewing machine. But, I had already ordered a herringbone stencil from Royal Design Studio for another project so my wheels started to turn.  I could easily hack her beautiful DIY.

Am I the only one who just envisioned Kate as Sleeping Beauty and me as the evil witch with the scary long nails, unfortunate hooded black cape and apple?  A ha ha ha ha, I’m going to HACK your beautiful DIY!

diy projects

diy projects

I gathered up my stencil, brush, acrylic paint, fabric medium (it’s like fabric softener that you mix with paint) and a big piece of cardboard. And, instead of making my own pillow, I just grabbed one of  my $5 pillow covers from Hobby Lobby. Evil witch for the WIN!

decorative throw pillow cover

diy projects

diy projects

diy pillow cover

I started out by putting cardboard inside the pillow cover so the paint wouldn’t bleed through. But it was a pain to get the cardboard the right size and in there correctly and I am forever impatient so, I pulled it out and just decided to go easy on the paint.  Besides, the back (which I think is supposed to the be front) has 3 buttons on it so I wasn’t going to use that side anyway, who cares if paint came through? (*insert additional evil laughter here)  You can see that it only came through in one tiny spot.

diy projects

Since I’m a card-carrying imperfectionist, this was exactly the look I was going for. It took about three minutes, give or take 15 seconds. I even put the cover on right after I painted it, just because I am really impatient (and yet careful).  And, even though I actually had the fabric medium (you can even see it in one of the pictures!) I forgot to use it.  Story of my life. Oh well. So it’s just acrylic paint (.60 cents) and a $5 pillow cover with a stencil I already had. It’s not nearly as finished as Kate’s. Her’s is more pretty captain of the cheerleading squad and mine is more quirky girl who wears knee socks even if they aren’t in style and is in the marching band and loves art class and needs a better hairstyle and some makeup tips.  But they are good friends and appreciate each other and fit in perfectly within their own environments.

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  1. Love it. Very cool stencil. I’m always a big fan of DIYish projects. Simple is good.

  2. Imperfect? Easy? Quick? Fabulous? You speak my language! It looks great and thanks for the info on fabric medium.

  3. LOVED this post! :) Made me smile. I love both of the pillows you girls made. A super cute design!

  4. Love it! I seriously had that exact pillow cover in my cart for my own DIYish Valentine project but decided to wait until I had a coupon. That’s how I roll. ;-)

  5. cute! did you paint your geometric shape white?!

  6. I think this is just the kick in the pants my couch needs (and the kick in the pants I need to GET ON THAT… I saw Centsational Girl’s pillow a few months back and just about fell off my chair then…) both yours and Kate’s are just gorgeous.

  7. Well if you’re the evil witch and Kate’s Snow White, I guess that makes me Doppy, following y’all around in a semi-infatuated state, batting my eyes at your cute pillow.

  8. Seriously!!!!!!!!!! Is there no end to your amazing ability to turn the most common thing into something so beautiful!?!?!? Geezzzzzzzzzz you are amazing and so inspiring!

  9. I love this. I’m currently trying to update my pillows on the cheap. I’m so going to pin this! I’m with you on the quirky, imperfect-impatient-but-totally-cool-with it mentality. Lol! Anywho, I bought some fabric I love from Joann’s that I’m going to try to use in redoing them. Pokadots (navy with white dots) and the other being a chambray. Thought I’ take a cue from my wardrobe and use the sewing machine I just got :).

  10. brittany rae says

    LOVE! But my boy already complains that my sofa is only there to “hold” my many throw pillows… SO I will admire yours from afar.

  11. Oh, I wish I could be an Imperfectionist. Trying to do things perfectly is a real burden. Yes, seriously! I didn’t know that hobby lobby sold these pillow covers. Great resource!

  12. Fantastic pillow And a great laugh! A great way to start my day…

  13. Such a great idea!!!

  14. Haha. I love your hilarious commentary. Quirky knee socks art girl definitely gets the win here.

  15. You are SO smart! I love this and I absolutely want that stencil.


  16. This turned out so cute, imperfections and all! I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday checking out their pillow cover selections… they’ve got a ton of new pretty cute stuff! Unfortunately they were out of the ones I wanted….boo. Oh well, maybe I’ll try to stencil one like you.

  17. FYI…threat blocked…”Exploit rogue scanner..Type 1929….
    I think that’s what it said!!!….hope this helps!

  18. Love the pillow, although I did find your email in my SPAM folder. I use AOL, but your email updates do not always go there, just periodically. Hope you find the problem.

  19. I think that it was Snow White with the apple, and Sleeping Beauty had a spinning wheel. :) :) (Sorry – couldn’t resist; must be the perfectionist in me. :) ) I am one of your “lurkers,” and feel bad I’ve come out of the woodwork just to comment on Disney characters. But, in all seriousness, I love your blog! Thanks for all the lovely posts. :) :)

    • You are right! Clearly I’m a mom of boys & have no business talking about fairy tales!

      • Oh, but I’m glad you did – using fairy tales and cheer leaders to talk about pillows and paint makes a DIY post go from cool to fantastic. :) Your writing makes me smile. :) :) :) (And not because I’m looking for mistakes – I promise!!!! :) )

  20. I am going to Hobby Lobby now!!

  21. You are too funny! I love how your pillow turned out and Kate’s too :) xo Kristin

  22. You make it so cool to be Mary Catherine Gallagher! You can sniff the paint on your fingers instead of sniffing them from your pits! And you know we all think that you’re the head cheerleader, and we feel like the chicks carrying Gatorade to the football team, wishing we were cheerleaders. Off to finish schooling the 4 dwarfs!

  23. Centsational Girl says

    You are a riot! I almost spit out my coffee on my keyboard this morning…. you’re cracking me up! I love your version, thanks so much for the linky love – it’s the perfect accent to your cozy living room, you are the queen of texture !!
    ~ Kate

  24. Super fun pillow! I have been wanting to make a “great lakes” pillow and this is how I am going to do it. Thanks! But I will have to make my own stencil. We’ll see how that goes. ; ) Loved the funnies today. I love both your and Kate’s blog. Different, but equally amazing ladies. : )

  25. Haha I love this! You’re too funny. But I’m seriously smitten with that pillow – I might just have to copy both of you guys on this!

  26. You can put wax paper in the pillow cover, between the layers of fabric, to stop the paint from bleeding through. The wax paper is more pliable, easier to work with–and, really, who isn’t for easy :-). You really don’t have to cut it down to exact size (unless you’re freakish about wasting an inch of wax paper), because you can fold anything that’s extra. Since the wax paper will be confined within the cover, you should have little, to no slippage.

    When I need a barrier between fabrics that are not confined or between fabric and my work surface, card board is preferred since it’s less likely to slip. Of course, masking tape is always an option for slippage issues.

    side note: Nester, you and I would drive each other crazy if we worked on a project together……I think I must be a card carrying member of the Perfectionist Society. That one of the reasons why I like coming here to read what you have to say–your words and message are helping me to “tone it down” a bit. I think there is room for most of us to find middle ground, be flexible and to know when to strive for extreme excellence or when to let it go.

    I’m hoping to instill that proper balance in my children and save them decades of greif?
    Carry on!

  27. Kimm at Reinvented says

    You are NOT anything like the wicked witch of anywhere, but that was a fun mental picture anyway! Love the herringbone.

  28. Love the look. Love the project! Absolutely love the high school girls analogy at the end! Brilliant post.

  29. These are great! Thanks for sharing your tutorial! I always love visiting!

  30. I LOVE it!!! Sooo right up my alley. I love to DIY but hate have to wait on anything more than 5 minutes, lol I’d totally be right there with you slipping it on the pillow still wet, haha

  31. and it totally goes with your rug

  32. Had some issues logging onto your site again today. I typed your website directly into IE. :( I arrived safely after going through google.

  33. Just thought I would let you know what my computer error says:
    I use plain ole Internet Explorer and have free AVG Anti-Virus installed. Continues to say that it has found Exploit Rogue Scanner (type 1929) and the site it is trying to redirect to seems to be Have no idea what any of this means but it has been happening for about a week as I try to view your site. Hope you are able to figure out the problem.

  34. Too cute! I love the pattern. Have a great weekend.

  35. Kristina M. says

    Love this! Got some brand new, in the package, pillow inserts from the Goodwill for 99 cents each. So, I have plenty of pillows to bedazzle. Just out of curiosity what’s the point of the fabric medium?

    • Fabric medium helps the paint absorb into the fabric rather than sit on top, the paint won’t become hard or stiff or scrape off after it is dry. SoSoft is a great fabric paint too. FYI if you’ll iron freezer paper to the back of your fabric, it will stabilize the fabric and you’ll get no bleed thru. Love the chevron.

  36. You’re too funny. Love this and I am about to do my very own DIY Royal Design Studio stencil Review and I was planning on some throw pillows and wondered about the paint situation! Thanks for the info! Acrylic works! Love how yours turned out:)

  37. Err! Love the pillow… Unfortunately we Canadians don’t have hobby lobby and I couldn’t find it online!! I will admire from the North and remain envious over all of the great deals and projects you can fulfill on a budget!

  38. I’m in the middle of redecorating my bedroom (shhh, my blog followers don’t know yet!) and was just telling my husband how I wanted to switch up our bed a bit with new decorative pillows. I was thinking of sewing new covers but this is a great idea! I’ve painted a rug with fabric medium before but haven’t dared it on a pillow case yet! This is going to be fun!

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