How to Make Decorative Pillow Covers

It’s easy to dress up plain pillows yourself—all you need are fabric paint, a foam brush, and regular erasers. Here’s a step-by-step video on how to make a striped bars pillow.

What You Need

  1. Check pillow cover
  2. Check kraft paper
  3. Check ruler
  4. Check pencil
  5. Check masking tape
  6. Check plastic plate
  7. Check fabric paint
  8. Check foam brush
  9. Check rectangular eraser

Follow These Steps

  1. Remove the pillow insert from its case and place a few layers of kraft paper inside the cover. This keeps the fabric paint from seeping through to the other side of the pillow cover.

    Tip: Wash and iron the pillow covers prior to stamping so you have a clean, smooth canvas to work on.

    Tip: If there are buttons along the back, you may need to use something thicker than kraft paper, like non-corrugated cardboard, so you don’t get an imprint when you stamp.

  2. Measure 1½ inches from the left edge of the cover, and lightly mark the spot with a pencil. To create a nice straight line, tape the ruler to the table so you can use it as a guide.

    Tip: These measurements are for an 18-inch pillow cover, so you’ll need to adjust them if your pillow is a different size.

  3. Add some fabric paint onto a plastic plate; this can act as your palette. Using the foam brush, coat the thin, long side of the rectangular eraser with the paint color of your choice.

    Tip: It’s a good idea to do a few test runs on fabric scraps so you can get the hang of it before you’re ready to move on to your pillow.

  4. Starting at the left edge of the pillow cover, press the eraser down.

  5. Apply another coat of paint to the eraser (do this after each stamp). Press down again, about ½ inch lower than the first stamp. You don’t have to have to measure this; you can eyeball it. Continue until you reach the bottom of the pillow cover.

  6. Now take the ruler and measure 3 ¾ inches from the right side of the stamped bars. Lightly mark it with a pencil and tape the ruler in the new spot.

  7. Repeat the stamping technique to create the middle stripe.

  8. For the last stripe, measure 3 ¾ inches from the right side of the middle stripe and mark the spot or tape the ruler in place.

  9. Repeat the process again to stamp the last stripe.

  10. You can stamp one side of the cover, or both—just make sure to allow an hour of drying time for each side. You can experiment with a variety of eraser shapes and sizes, including the one at the end of a pencil. Play around with patterns and colors to find the one that suits your style.

    Tip: After the pillow cover is completely dry, “fix” or heat-set the fabric paint to allow you to machine-wash or dry-clean the cover without the colors running: Using a dry iron on the appropriate fabric setting, press the reverse side of the pillow cover. If there are buttons on the cover, place a cloth inside as cushioning prior to ironing.