I think there is still room for me on here too.

DIY Pillow Embellishment

This project was something that I started months ago then got frustrated and left it. It was actually one of the first things I wanted to post about when I started the blog. Instead I started with the outdoor pillow tutorial. Now it’s back to pillows again, but embellishing cushion/pillow cases instead of making them.

Inspiration for this project came from a YouTube video that I watched. WithWendy did a DIY Custom Patches tutorial where she made patches for a jacket. I loved the look of the old school tattoo meets embroidery style and I immediately thought of pillows.

This is the finished pillow.

Now you could make your own pillowcases for this tutorial. If you’re into that you can check out my first post “DIY Outdoor Pillows” if you need a starting point. Click here for the tutorial. I had picked up these pillowcases at Ikea prior to the posting of that tutorial so I thought I should put them to use. You can probably see that they are not exactly the same colour. When I ironed them in my basement under the florescent lights they look exactly the same, figures.

This is what you will need to embellish the pillows.

What you will need:

  • Washable Fabric glue
  • Black marker
  • Pillow case(s)
  • Scissors – both fabric and paper
  • Xacto Knife and a cutting mat
  • Charcoal pencil
  • Light fleece fabric in as many colours as the design needs
  • Leather (Faux or otherwise)
  • Blank painting canvas
  • Plain paper
  • Pencil
  • Reference picture or drawing


I had a really hard time finding a light fleece fabric at my local fabric store. I went to a few and didn’t have much luck. Ended up with blue and red with fleece on one side and the other had an almost terrycloth like pile. It made a mess once I started cutting it up, but it did do the trick.

I started with ironing the cases since they were super wrinkled from the packaging. Might as well get that out of the way first. Next using a reference photo I sketched a flying sparrow onto a piece of paper. Then using the black marker I outlined the sparrow and cut around the outside and inside of all the lines. This is where I gave up the first time because I accidentally cut into the outline and that meant I would have to start again.

Figuring that I needed something a little stronger than paper if I wanted this template to be able to last through the project, I settled on a painting canvas. I had a blank one left over from when I had dabbled in painting. You can pick these up at the dollar store. I drew out the sparrow again and using a charcoal pencil trick that I’ve used in past blogs, I traced around the outline then put the drawing face down on the inside of the canvas. Then using a regular pencil I traced around the sparrow outline to transfer the charcoal.

Next cut around the outside of the sparrow.

I hung onto the piece of paper and filled in each space with the colour I wanted it to be just to have as a reference. Taking the black marker I outlined the sparrow on the canvas, you want the line thick enough to hold up after it is cut out but not so thick that you lose the spaces between lines in tight areas.

With the Xacto kinfe I cut around the inside lines first so the template would have a little extra stability as I worked. Then cut around the outside. I did mess up the first one but I was determined to see it through this time.


Next I laid out the blue fabric and taped the template to it. Using my sparrow reference paper I noted which pieces needed to be blue and using a fine tip black marker, traced around them. I repeated this and then flipped the template to have two more sparrows facing the opposite direction. Then laid out the red fabric and did the same.

This is what I had after tracing out four sparrows. Time to cut out the pieces.

Taking your fabric scissors cut out the pieces from both fabrics. I found it best to work on cutting out one full bird at a time and laid out the pieces as I went. Once they get cut out some of the smaller ones start to look the same.

Take a chocolate break.


Using the washable fabric glue, I have adhered each sparrow to the leather.

Lay the piece out on the leather and start to glue them down. I had a really hard time gluing down the birds, I tried to use the template to mark where I should glue but it didn’t really work for me. The fabric glue got so messy. Once they have dried they can be cut out of the leather and glued to the pillowcases. Depending on the weave of the fabric you might want to put a layer inside the pillowcase to prevent both sides from getting stuck together. The sparrows were fine but the next pillow I made the case had a looser weave.

Once the glue has dried, cut out the sparrows.

After placing the sparrows where you like them, use the same fabric glue to attach.

I did one more pillow using this method and had much better luck with the process; I think the shape I picked helped. For reference I printed out a line drawing of a nautical star. I used the same steps from above, but was able to use the template for the gluing process this time. I also used the cut out from the canvas to trace around in order to cut out the finished star.

These nautical star patches are ready to be glued to the pillowcase.

Time to relax on the couch and watch a movie.

If you’ve made this project or something like it I’d love to hear about it. For more project ideas please subscribe. You can also follow me on Instagram: @mavenmakes

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