Easy DIY Christmas Pillows Three Ways

Create a pile of easy-to-sew pillows that will transform your holiday decorations in an instant.

Making a simple pillow cover is a quick, gratifying sewing project that can take any room in your home from everyday to holiday-friendly in just one easy sewing session.

Available at your local craft supply store or independent fabric store, basic pillow forms are great to have on hand to add instant coziness to any room. By making your own pillow cases, you can easily switch out pillow designs according to trends and holidays. They’re easier to store, easy to wash and an all-around easy accessory any way you look at it.

My go-to pillow size is a 14-inch square. It works well on many standard sofas or armchairs. You’ll find that pillow forms come in so many sizes, from large squares to rectangles and even circles. The goal when making a pillow cover is to make sure it’s not too loose but not snug. Prewashing your fabrics is always a good idea with a project like this.

But your pillow designing doesn’t have to stop with a well-made cover. You can experiment with quilt piecing and even creating your own shapes. If you’re ready to add some snuggle-worthy pieces to this year’s holiday decorating, take a look at these three approaches for creating your own DIY pillows.

1. The Basic Cover

For projects like these DIY pillow covers, pre-cut fabrics from your favorite quilt shop are excellent to use. You can pull just a few pieces from a bundle to put to work. For this collection of pillows, you’ll see Tula Pink’s Holiday Homies collection, a line that’s equal parts cozy and whimsical.

Materials Needed

  • quilting cottons
  • 14" square pillow forms
  • sewing machine
  • coordinating thread
  • rotary cutter
  • iron
  • ruler
  • cutting mat
  • tape measure
  • pins

To get your DIY pillow started, cut a piece of patterned fabric for the front of the pillow that’s 15 inches square. Cut two pieces of solid fabric that are 15 inches wide and 11 inches tall.

With your pillow back pieces, press one 15-inch raw edge over by 1/2 inch with your iron. Once cool, fold again by another 1/2 inch. Top stitch with a coordinating color thread. Repeat for the second piece.

Place your pillow front right side up. Place one pillow back piece on top, right sides together and finished edge in the middle of the pillow front. Place the remaining piece on top of the first pillow back piece, and pin into place. Place your sewing machine presser foot so that it’s flush with the raw edges of the pillow, and sew along all four sides of the “pillow sandwich.” Clip each corner, and turn right sides out. Insert your pillow form.

2. The Patchwork Pillow

If you’re curious about quilting or are a seasoned quilt pro, a quick patchwork project is sure to impress your guests or gift recipient. For a 24-inch square pillow, you’ll need 25 5-inch fabric squares.

Materials Needed

  • 5" quilting cotton squares in a variety of patterns and colors
  • 24" square pillow form
  • sewing machine
  • coordinating thread
  • rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • cutting mat
  • iron
  • pins

This pillow is a 5x5 grid comprised of 5-inch squares. You can utilize a pack of pre-cut fabrics, or you can make your own.

Begin sewing each row by sewing squares together with a 1/4-inch seam. Press the seams on your first row to the right, and then press to the left for your second row, continuing this pattern for all of your row. Once they're complete, pin the rows together, matching the seams on each square, and sew with a 1/4-inch seam to create the pillow front. Once finished, press the large square with your iron. Your finished front should measure 23 inches square.

3. Free Form Pillows

Do you have a favorite Christmas stocking that you love the look and shape of? Are you a fan of Christmas trees? Go beyond the traditional pillow form shape and make your own!

Using a piece of kraft paper, create your own shape that you’ll use to trace as a pattern. For this set of winter forest trees, several strips of fabric from a pre-cut fabric roll were sewn together to create one larger piece. Trace your pattern onto your fabric and coordinating back fabric, and cut out. Pin the pieces right sides together and sew around all sides with your presser foot flush to the raw edges. This time, however, leave an opening at the bottom of your shape for adding the polyester stuffing. Turn the shape out, and press.

Materials Needed

  • quilting cottons
  • fiberfill
  • kraft paper
  • pencil
  • sewing machine
  • coordinating thread
  • hand sewing needle
  • rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • cutting mat
  • iron

Once pressed, add your fill to your pillow, working from the top of the shape down to the bottom. The firmness of the pillow is up to you. Once done stuffing, sew the opening closed with a blind stitch.

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Pretty + Polished

A tailored, tufted headboard and a snappy white duvet unite to serve as a spectacular backdrop for this artful arrangement of pillows. A muted coral and cream-colored lumbar looks lovely, positioned front and center against a set of fresh-pressed shams. Behind the shams, interior designer Jenn Feldman incorporates a trio of smoky, speckled Euros that add drama and dimension in this otherwise light, white design.

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Blue + White, Shibori + Stripes

A porch swing has never looked quite as stunning as it does here, outfitted with a pile of plush, patterned pillows. Swoon! Take note that there are two of each patterned pillow, and they are evenly positioned with one on each side of the swing. Sticking to a certain shade and creating identical pillow piles, as seen here, will allow you to play with pattern without creating a space that feels "busy."

Photo By: Sarah Dario

Cozy, Cushioned Nook

Book-worms, raise your hand! Is this built-in window nook a living dream or what? An olive-green cushion creates an unmatched spot to snuggle up with your favorite book and fur babies. The key to keeping your eyes open while flipping through, though? Proper support, of course. Enter: beautiful bolsters and perky patterned pillows, galore. Not only do the plush additions accessorize, but they add comfort and function to the space, too.

Photo By: Sarah Dario

Playful Pattern

Living in a rental? Use bright hues and energizing patterns to enliven otherwise blank, white spaces. Mimic this eclectic look by piling a crisp white sofa with poppy, pink and purple pillows and a coordinating area rug. Bonus points if you can snag a funky and fiery accessory such as the Aztec rug used here.

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Splendid Screened Porch

Reach a new level of sophistication in your patio seating with the addition of some posh pillows. In doing so, you’ll create a designer dupe look and feel oh-so-cozy in the process. (P.S. Never underestimate the power of a coordinating throw blanket, while you’re at it.)

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Head of the Table

Add a sense of softness to an often-stuffy space: the formal dining room. A plush pillow looks perfect at the head of the table, don’t you think?

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Spa-Quality Seating

Morning routines tend to feel like a work out, especially before you finish that first cup o’ joe. What better spot to catch your breath in between blow drying and face painting than this sweet little window seat? We think the pair of pillows adds a little something-something that makes the space feel like an in-house oasis.

Photo By: Sarah Dario

Conversation Cushions

Four white Euros leave this quad of cognac leather chairs looking oh-so-cool in this sun-filled sitting room. Get this statement-making style by incorporating a set of basic, non-patterned pillows into your design. In a time where prints reign supreme, opting to go without will yield a bold design that will set you apart from the rest.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Make a Connection

Open-floor plans can be tricky to style, but nothing is impossible with the right cover or case on your side. The living space and dining room have a cohesive aesthetic here, all thanks to this gorgeous, white and navy gingham number positioned on the corner chair. Take advantage of this technique by incorporating pillows in your open-floor plan using the same core colors throughout.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Additional Seating

Short on space? Create extra seating without breaking the bank on a fancy new armchair. A small, wooden bench topped with a graphic pillow serves as perfect parking spot for extra guests.

Photo By: Laura Metzler

Heat Up the Bedroom

White bedding is beautiful but boring, without the proper accessories. Add a punch of color to polish off the look. Add two saturated and stylish statement pillows to the center of your bed. The results speak for themselves.

Photo By: Cure Design Group

Cushy Corner

A plush duo in the corner of this built-in banquette makes for a soft, stylish spot to start the day. Add two or three throw pillows to your breakfast nook for a chic and comfy space to eat.

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Homey Touches

Adding tasseled pillows to the mudroom creates a sense of comfort and coziness as soon as you pass through the door. Switch out covers throughout the year, using seasonal shades like summery blues and oranges or black for a spooky, holiday hue.

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Round Out the Space

Forgo the classic, rectangular or square-shaped pillows for your modern or boxy furniture. Instead, opt for snazzy circular or oval pillows to balance out all the straight lines. Just trust us on this one, folks.

From: Caitlin McCarthy Designs and Caitlin Murray

Photo By: Caitlin McCarthy Design

Vivid + Vibrant

A fool-proof way to add energy to dark, moody designs? Pops of bright, bold, in-your-face pigment. We love the way this pair of hot-pink lumbars complements the global-inspired ottoman, each looking electric against the midnight blue sofa and navy walls.

Photo By: Sarah Dario

Usher in Autumn

Use prints and patterns on outdoor pillows to signify the start of a new season. Mad for plaid during fall? Us too. It’s time to add some fluffed-up flannel to those Adirondacks and dress your porch for the crisp, cool weather.

Seaside Serenity

This stack of beach-hued bed pillows instantly calm, proving just how powerful colors can be. Transport yourself to your own, personal plush paradise by using shades of soft sand, sea foam and deep blue atop clean, white linens. With this selection, sleep will never come easier.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Luxe Linens

While some white bedding requires a helping hand from vibrant hues, others do not. Case and point: this large, luxe, white-on-white California king, equipped with nine perfect, plushy pillows. So what exactly sets this bed above the rest of the worlds’ white beds? Two words: sleek stacking.

Celebrate the Season

Pull out all the stops for the holiday season. Festive tinsel, gilded garland and needlepoint pillows — oh my! Grab one like this sweet, holly-berry beauty, and it will put a smile on your face and cheer in your heart. That’s a promise.

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Something Old + Something New

Bring your flea-market find up to speed with a couple of cushy, contemporary accessories. The distressed, natural wood bench here, looks right at home with patterned pillows, sleek shiplap and black-and-white artwork.

Photo By: Sarah Dario

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