No Sew Changeable Pillow Covers

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If you know me at all, you know that I sew.  I sew all types of window treatments, pillows, bedding and make upholstered headboards.  You would think that a project like this would be a piece of cake for me.  Ha!  My project wasn’t hard – it was really very easy.  The hard part was resisting the temptation to use my sewing machine.  😉

pillow cover collagePin

Are you a pillow lover and hoarder like me?  I love pillows sooo much that it’s actually become a joke between Pookie and me.

My problem is that I never want to buy a ready-made pillow since I can make them  – usually for waaay less than what I’d buy one for. I’ve been known to pay $10 for one, but that’s pretty much my limit.

Therein lies my problem.  I have very, very few seasonal or holiday pillows.  I won’t buy them and I never seem to get around to making them.

Enter changeable pillow covers!  I cut a dropcloth into 12″ squares, printed free printables onto transfer paper, ironed them onto the dropcloth squares and applied a grommet in each corner.  I didn’t even hem the sides because I wanted this to be an easy peasy project.

I was able to give my pillows a whole new look for the season by laying a dropcloth square on each side and running twine through the grommets to tie them to the pillows.  Now when a holiday rolls around or the season changes, all I need to do is to tie the appropriate covers to one of my existing pillows!

My favorite place to display seasonal pillows is on the bench in my foyer, so that is where all of these pictures were taken.

For an everyday, farmhouse’ish look,I chose a transfer of Bessie the Cow to grace one side of my pillow.  Or I can simply flip the pillow around to the other side for a vintage typography advertisement.

Changeable Pillow CoverPin

 Change the covers on your pillowsPin

With the onset of Fall fast approaching, I have this cute pumpkin cover for one side of the pillow and a Fall typography print for the other.  I love the blue mixed in with the traditional Fall colors so I chose one of the pillows out of my basement to use.  This pillow will carry me through Thanksgiving if I don’t have a chance to make more covers.

Changeable Pillow CoverPin

Fall text changeable pillow coverPin

When Halloween rolls around, I’m all ready with a spooky witch on one side and the same pumpkin on the other.  The pumpkin looks completely different on a natural colored pillow as opposed to the blue one above.

Halloween changeable pillow coverPin

Pumpkin changeable pillow coverPinAnd finally for Christmas I have a cute Santa silhouette on one side and a graphic on the other that would carry me through the rest of the winter.

Santa changeable pillow coverPin

Winter changeable pillow coverPin

 Like I said, these were super easy and fun! to make.  You basically just follow the directions on the transfer paper for printing and transferring the images onto fabric and also follow the directions on the grommet kit for how to apply them.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have some helpful tips though:

  • Wash and dry and iron (if it needs it) your fabric before using it.
  • I mentioned above that to keep this as easy as possible, I didn’t hem the squares.  I did spray all the edges with a no-fray spray though.
  • If you are using a printable that has an image that needs to be turned a certain way, you will need to save the printable in PicMonkey and flip the image before printing it on transfer paper.
  • Before applying the transfer, cut out the image that you’re transferring to the fabric.  Cut as closely to the edge of the design as possible.
  • Make sure to apply plenty of pressure when ironing the image onto your fabric.  I don’t recommend working on transfers when you’re in a hurry.

Thoroughly press the transfer paper to your fabricPin

It really helps to put a hard surface of some kind underneath your fabric.  I just used a scrap of plywood that I had laying around.

Using a hard surface under the fabric helps the transfer go on easierPin

  • Use the very tip of the iron to go over and over all of the edges of the transfer.

Use the tip of your iron to go all around the edges of the transfer paperPin

  • Wait until it is completely cool before pulling the transfer paper off of the fabric.  Do it very slowly, pausing to re-press if any part of the image starts to lift and allowing it to cool again.  When removing the paper, I sort of rolled it back as opposed to pulling it straight up.

Remove transfer paper slowly by rolling back instead of pulling straight upPin

  • I made a 1/2″ square template out of a piece of cardboard to mark the location of each grommet.

Use a small template to mark the location for the grommets in each cornerPin

  • I enlisted Pookie to help me with the grommets.  Even with his strong arms, he had to get something even harder than the plywood to get the cutter to go all the way through the thick dropcloth.

You may have to use a hard surface like a piece of metal to get the cutter to go through thick fabricPin

  • This is the grommet kit that I used.  It’s just what Home Depot happened to have at the time.  I’m sure any brand will work just fine.

Grommet kit from Home DepotPin

To be honest, I was kind of dreading this project because it seems like many of my crafts just don’t turn out looking the way that I envisioned them.  This was actually a fun project to do and for once I’m pleased with the result!

I can’t wait to make some snowflake ones for winter and some hearts for Valentines and some shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day and and and…..

So, how about you – do you change your pillows for different holidays and seasons?

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  1. You are so smart! These pillows are so cute and I agree that $10.00 is high enough for a pillow. I absolutely love your idea of changing them up. My favorite is the mince pie one. You’re the first pillow hoarder I’ve met, too funny. Hope you’ve had a good week.

  2. Suzy, these are such a smart and darling idea! I love how you dressed your pillows for the season! I’m going to try my hand at this too! The best part of this project is that you don’t have dozens of pillows to stow away… just these creative covers!

  3. Shirley@Housepitality Designs says:

    Beautiful pillows and great project Suzy!!!

  4. Suzy, all I can say it that I LOVE YOU!!!! This project has me so excited. I can’t wait to try my hand at this, the hubby will have to do the grommets for me. No big deal for him at all. I can do all sorts of graphics. This is so perfect for someone who can’t sew a lick, not even a straight line. LOL!!


  5. These are so unique…and that’s not an easy thing to do on a blog these days! I have never seen anything like them…all your graphic choices are perfect too. Well done girl!

  6. barbgarrettnc says:

    Remember that night we sat up way too late, before we left to go to Haven, talking about this event. I KNEW you could do it. And not only did you do it, you BLEW the idea out of the water!! WOW! I could not pick a fave if I wanted to. Each one got better and better. You picked some great graphics. I can sew, but I’m going to use this same idea myself bc I love the look. You’re the bestest! xxoo

  7. I love, love, love this! I need to take lessons from you on all things related to fabric. I love it, but it scares me to death since I don’t sew. I save ugly but usable pillows from yard sales and then do a wrap thing (doesn’t that sound fancy?) to cover them. I like your idea much better, you creative lady!

  8. Suzy, this is just the best idea I’ve seen in a long time! And it’s very original, too. I am planning on transferring some images onto canvas bags for our church bazaar. I just have one question. Where do you purchase the transfer paper???

    1. Hi Jane. I priced transfers at lots of places. I was surprised that Walmart was the most expensive. Target has them for a little less, but I wound up buying them from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon. My next stop would have been Hobby Lobby using a 40% off coupon there too. I didn’t price them at any of the office supply places because I assumed they’d be more expensive there. This is the first time that I’ve used transfers and once I got the hang of it, it was really a lot of fun!

  9. I love this post and first time visiting this blog. Love the creativity!
    I think Bessie the Cow needs to get on my sofa!
    Happy Friday!

  10. Aren’t you brilliant! I just love this!!! I am so inspired because pillows are my favorite way to decorate!! Thanks so much, all the no-sew posts have been so great!!

  11. Suzy, those pillows are too cute for words! So glad you shared those with us! Now, I’m off to buy transfer paper!!

  12. Suzy, your pillows are so neat!! I love the idea of being able to change them out with the seasons! I am going to try and make some of these, thanks for sharing!

  13. What a FABULOUS idea! I love how you can change the look of the pillow so easily with the different images! Great idea!!!

  14. Suzy, this is just genius!! I love, love, love it! So cute and functional! Pinning!

  15. Great idea so you don’t have to buy and keep track of various pillows throughout the year! Thanks for sharing! Stop by my Friday’s Five Features tomorrow and link up this post (and others)!

  16. Great idea! your pillows look amazing, love all of the graphics.