DIY Painted Pillows

DIY Painted PIllow

Throw pillows are a simple, inexpensive way to dress up your home décor, and they are also super easy to DIY. This painterly design is abstract enough that you don’t need to be an artist- just give it a try!


Here are a few pillow designs from Society6 I used as inspiration. You could start with a plain white throw pillow cover or sew your own like I did. (This is one of the simplest sewing projects possible, so don’t be afraid to try even if you aren’t a pro on your sewing machine.)

DIY Painted Throw Pillow (3)

To begin, I measured out two 16” squares of cotton canvas. (Don’t use a really thin material for this project, it won’t come out as well.) I also chose 4 colors of paint. You can use paint specifically designed for fabric, or a regular craft acrylic that you’ve mixed with fabric medium, OR an all purpose paint like the Martha Stewart paint I chose. I also grabbed my handy hardware store tile to serve as a palette and some foam brushes.

DIY Painted Throw Pillow (5)

Begin by painting lines and rectangles. Try not to stress too much about making it “perfectly imperfect” (which is hard!) and just go with it.

DIY Painted Throw Pillow (6)

Work with one color for a while and then move on to the next. Eventually you’ll cycle through all of the colors a few times. Don’t forget to make your design go all the way to the edge.

DIY Painted Throw Pillow (8)

How pretty are these colors together? I love it. Here are my tricks for choosing complementary colors- first, I usually just crib off of something I like. This is why I collect inspiration boards full of ideas. I don’t usually try and reproduce an item exactly, but instead I’ll be copy the colors from, say, a piece are art and use them to make a pillow, for example. See a cool outfit in Vogue – use it for your next paper crafting project. You get the idea. The other trick is letting the paint manufacturer do the work for me. This paint is all part of the same line (Martha’s) and is even sold together in a set. Manufacturers often release new products in themed groups, so look to see how they combine the colors and you won’t go wrong.

DIY Painted Throw Pillow (1)

Here’s a look when it’s getting close to being finished. This isn’t a super attractive shot, but don’t lose faith!

After the paint dried I sewed the painted front to the back piece by putting the right sides together and stitching all the way around the edges, leaving an 8” opening on one side to insert the pillow. Then I snipped the corners and turned the pillow right side out.

Inserting the pillow can be tricky, so here’s a trick I learned from my mom. Put the pillow form in a drycleaning bag and then slide it into the cover. When the pillow is inside and positioned how you like, pull the drycleaning bag out. The thin, slippery plastic helps get the pillow inside the cover. Also, for nice, plump pillows I always use a pillow or pillow form that’s 1”-2” larger than my pillow cover.


Finally, hand stitch closed the opening and display your new one-of-a-kind DIY painted pillow.


I love how it turned out.


Alicia DiRago is the founder and CEO of Whimseybox. She has led DIY events across the country and been featured in the Wall Street Journal. Alicia is a lifelong crafter and former chemical engineer obsessed with making everything from bracelets to (homebrewed) beer! You can find her personal DIY, fashion and design blog at


  • Reply March 5, 2013


    Gorgeous pillows!! I would have never thought of painting them! I love this :)

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