A not-so-soft (but still really awesome) pillow (and a FREE PRINTABLE!)

By | December 7, 2012

Today’s post is the first in a series of Christmas-themed DIY projects I’d like to post for you guys before Christmas is actually here and it’s too late for any crafting. We’ll see how that goes.

I had seen burlap all over Pinterest recently, and I caught the burlap bug.

There are burlap stockings and burlap tree skirts and burlap everything. Of course, I wanted to work with things I already had and areas where my decor was lacking a little bit, such as other than the tree or mantle. Plus, my mom always had this adorable Christmas pillow she would get out that I loved to play with.

So, I set out to make a custom burlap pillow for our couch. Of course, burlap isn’t the snuggliest of materials, so it isn’t going to be my new napping pillow or anything…not that I do that during the day. (Really, Hubs, I don’t.)

Anyway, I used less than a yard of burlap for this, and it was actually free since I found it in my mom’s basement in a bunch of old party decorations I’d been keeping forever in case I ever wanted them again. And guess what? I did! (So there, you doubters.)

Anyway, I also had a bunch of not-being-used throw pillows I bought at a garage sale for something like $.50 each. They were orange (which doesn’t match anything we have in our house right now, but I thought I could recover them, so they seemed like they were worth the (minimal) expense at the time. Plus, they were in good condition and clean (though I washed them anyway) and well taken care of so I could use them as is if we ever ended up with an orange room.

(Someday I’ll post about my tips for good thrifting techniques.)

Anyway, when I was getting these pillows out from storage, I noticed they had zippers on them, which good because it likely meant that the insides were not loose stuffing, but rather already in a liner.

That was an exciting find because I needed a liner with the burlap because it’s a pretty open weave and has little holes all in it, so stuffing would just come right out all over our couch. Not so good.

Anyway, when I opened one of the pillows, I found this:

Red? That means someone already recovered this pillow and I just got a free red pillow case that will be a perfect accent to my Christmas burlap pillow! Double score!

Then I opened the second one…and it was just white, which was fine because that’s what I wanted for underneath my burlap anyway.

(I also opened the green one that was already on our couch it turned out to have a super ugly red and brown pillow in there, but that’s sort of beside the point.)

So I measured the size of the pillow and marked that on my burlap, cutting it out as even and straight as I could. (Burlap often has a crooked weave. Mine was no different.)

And then I took it started my stenciling process.

For my design, I wanted something simple that would be easy to make a stencil of. So, I go to my Christmas board for inspiration and find this pin.

It’s adorable right? Not so easy to make a stencil out of (I always bite off more than I can chew in that regard…) but the link went to private blog that I didn’t have access to. Darnit. So, I set out to recreate it myself.

Here’s what I came up with:

(If whoever you are that created this ever reads this, I’m sorry I knocked out your design, but it’s the best form of flattery, right? And I couldn’t get to yours to use.)

Also, keep reading for the printables at the bottom!

Of course, the day before, I’d made this little print and cut out all the letters to make a stencil. Hubs helped with this because I’m AWFUL at using an exacto knife and I really hate that step in making stencils. Yuck.

(Note. I used regular printer paper and just coated it in a couple layers of clear tape to make it more durable because I’m scared to death to put anything strange in our printer. I hate even using cardstock because I’m terrified it will jam and break my printer. Seriously, our last printer is dead because it’s in a perpetual jam and I’m terrified to send this nice new one to an early grave. I’m just really bad at printers…

In fact, I feel a little like this poor guy.

You can use cardstock or cardboard, or even freezer paper like this method if you want, but this way does work for those who are printer cautious like me.)

Anyway, I made a stencil and cut it out and taped it to my burlap and started tracing the letters with a black sharpie.

Once I got it all on there, I took off the stencil and touched it up to make it a little darker.

Then, now that my design was finished, it was time to start sewing.

You want to sew the pillow with the insides facing each other, like this.

At this point, I made the very brave decision to go downstairs to the basement and attempt to use the sewing machine my mother-in-law graciously gave me since she has a nice, new one.

I’ve used a sewing machine before, but never without supervision. Note, I’m not scared of the sewing machine because I could sew up my finger (although Hubs seems fairly terrified I will do this), but because I’m fairly certain I’ll break the machine. (Maybe this post should have been titled “Harmless household appliances Melissa is unnaturally afraid of…”)

Anyway, I got set up with the machine and started sewing, cautiously, which was fine for about 3/4 of the way down the first side of my pillow when the burlap got snagged under the foot and when I tried to get it out, I somehow knocked out the bobbin-holder-thingy and couldn’t get it back in, no matter how long I tried to decipher the very vague instructions in the book.

So I gave up and went back upstairs and hand-sewed the rest of it. Which didn’t take as long as I though. Apparently, after the stocking sewing adventure last year, I’m getting better at this stuff.

When you get all but one side in, turn the case back right-side out.

Then, insert your pillow. You want to be as gentle as you can with the burlap because it’s a bit persnickety. (Meaning, it could rip or the seams could unravel a bit if you tug too hard it.)

And then finish stitching the last side up as neat as you can since this will show.

I should have put this side on the bottom, but apparently was half-asleep when I was hand sewing, (or not paying attention as I was watching FRIENDS episodes on DVD from the first season). Still, it’s not that noticeable.

What do you guys think? I’m thrilled with how well it turned out, and I love how well it goes with the surprise red pillow I found.

Have you done any Christmas crafting lately? I’d love to hear about it! 

What about your irrational household fears…please don’t tell me I’m the only one…

Oh, and here’s the links to the PDFs I made for you guys. I have the white one here, but I also thought it would be fun to make some with a colored background so you could just put it in a frame and hang it if you aren’t the pillow-making type. Enjoy.

All I ask is that you don’t make anything to sell with these images. I’m not a designer or anything, but I did spend time creating this, so please use it for personal use only, okay? Thanks!

You can just click on the link and it will open full size, from which you can just save it to your computer. Let me know if there are any issues with this and I’ll ATTEMPT to fix them. Also, if you have a special request for a color and I happen to have a free moment I’ll try and make it for you, so feel free to shout that out, too.

And if you do make a pillow, take a picture and show me. Post it here, email it to me at Melissa(at)lovinghere.com or tweet it to me (at)Melissashipman!

christmas diy

christmas tree art yellow gold

christmas tree art light blue

christmas tree art dark red

christmas tree art light green

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