Crazy Easy Placemat Pillows (and Napkin Pillows and Dropcloth Pillows)

So pillows. We all love them and use them. We like them for comfort, we like them for decoration, we like them to add  color to our neutral couches. The more the merrier really…except for one little problem.

Throw pillows are freakin expensive.

Not like Rolex and Mercedes expensive, but even cheap pillows are $20-$30 a pop. I’ve seen plenty a pillow go for well over a hundred bucks and that is insane….especially in my house where they are just going to get peanut butter and boogers wiped all over them.

Well I have a solution. A looong time ago I showed you how to make your own envelope closure pillow, but this tutorial makes that one look like a rubix cube. Did you know you can make one in about 10 minutes, without a showing machine, for under $5? Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? It’s not…please allow me to blow your mind.

It all starts with a placemat (or two). I found these beauties at World Market for about $4 a pop.

The key is to get a placemat that has two layers…not all placemats have this, but many do. The layers will be sewn together all beautifully on about 90% of the border, but there will be one little section where you can see the stitching. All you do is open that up with a seam ripper (or whatever you have that works, I may or may not have used a steak knife before).

Then you stuff it. You can buy pillow stuffing at craft stores, the bag below was $1.50 at Hobby Lobby (it was on sale for 50% off) and I used one bag for two placemat pillows.

Then just stitch up the hole and BAM, you have a beautiful pillow that looks like it cost you way more than four dollars and change.

Make a pillow in less than 10 minutes for around $5!

That’s it! I have never before and may never again do a tutorial that is so easy. Now if you’re anything like me (and I’m assuming you are since you’re here) you will be double checking placemats for double layerness everywhere you go. It’s okay, embrace it.

I’m far from done with this post though, this is actually an update on my lonely built-in bench.

It needs a lot of pillows, so a lot of pillows it will get.

So, next up we have napkin pillows. These are just cheap single layer napkins, they are pretty much just a square of raw fabric except that the edges are already hemmed.

If you want a large pillow you can just sew them together, I wanted smaller lumbar pillows so I sewed then in half (all but one short edge), stuffed them, and sewed then closed.

My pillows are going outside, so a gave them a few good coats of waterproofing fabric protector. I cannot vouch for how well this stuff actually works, but I had it lying around so I figured what the heck. (I’ve since found that THIS STUFF works even better).

Make any pillow an outdoor pillow

Lastly we have dropcloth pillows (made with leftovers from this project). These are NOT ten minute pillows because there is nothing “premade” about them…but fear not, they are still simple and totally doable. To make these I followed my own envelope closure tutorial. I’m not going to give you another full tutorial, so if you want to know your going to have to click on the link above (after you finish reading this post of course).

I thought big bold stripes would look nice paired with the above pattern, so I grabbed some masking tape and spray paint and went to town. This was my first time spray painting fabric and I have to tell you, it works really really well. I got really crisp lines…no bleeding, no smearing, dries fast, looks great. It’s also cheap, easy and quick. I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting more fabric in my future.

Since these pillows were getting an envelope closure they can’t just be stuffed, they need a  pillow form. Do you know how much they want for a large pillow form at Hobby Lobby? Almost twelve bucks! Ummm, NO….so I made my own for about $1.50 a piece.

  I painted a few more dropcloth pillows and tried to copy some of the elements in the placemat design.

Here they are adding some life to my bench! For all eight of them (including the two napkin ones not pictured) I spent right around twenty bucks. Not too shabby.

We are making progress!

In fact, the only real similarity in the pictures above is that they both include a pantsless toddler. Go ahead, I’ll wait.



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Comments

  1. Super-cute and great idea for the placemat pillows! I will keep my eye out for them next time I’m out shopping…..

  2. Looks great Ashley! I made pillows from World Market napkins and curtains not long ago-they have such pretty prints! Love the spray painted dropcloth too. And I had no idea that fabric protector existed, I’m going to get some of that before I make new things for my patio next Spring!
    Melissa-TheHappierHomemaker recently posted..Vintage Button Garland and Rustic Tree TopperMy Profile

  3. I was just about to buy pillow forms to go in some odd size (24×24 inches) shams that came with my king size bedding. Thank you for bringing this idea to my attention just in time! Love the bench and the pillows!

  4. Looks very nice! Thanks for the waterproof spray info.

  5. Looks great Ashley. I agree with the cost of pillows! I have been putting off buying some for the past year (we have not a one except on the bed) but now I will be looking for placemats when I go shopping tonight :) Hope y’all have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. Oh, first of all I have a weakness for stripes and yours turned out beautiful! I like the patterned pillows too, I struggle with pattern more often than not – unlike how you can coordinate, that’s a talent!
    Inspire Me Heather recently posted..project: Christmas treesMy Profile

    • Thanks Heather :) I’ve been loving stripes lately too, and it doesn’t hurt that they are the easiest thing ever to do! I’m realy usually not the best coordinator, but I think big bold stripes would look good paired with almost anything.

  7. I flipping LOVE this! And I’m in such dire need of new and pretty throw pillows (inherited 3 god-awful ones from mom & MIL)…I see a project in my New Year – because really, who has much time left at this time of year?!
    Julie recently posted..Check it out! Giveaway at Thrifty & ChicMy Profile

  8. Ashley…these are awesome. I love your “fabric” pick!!! XO, Aimee
    Aimee – It’s Overflowing recently posted..Dreamy Dwelling Home Tour: Charming CottageMy Profile

  9. great ideas and love your helper….

  10. Oh my! I love, love, love that! I am heading to World Market today to get some two sided placemats. I can do this. I don’t sew…so I’ll just finish up that little area with Steam a Seam!
    Wow, great tutorial. Thanks!!!

    • Oh yay, they have so many beautiful ones to choose from. I’ve never tried Steam and Seam…I’m afraid if I used it I would never touch my sewing machine again, lol.

  11. Well isn’t that just the smartest idea I ever did see! Even I could handle those pillowcases and not have them turn out all wonky and not-square. Brilliant idea! (Sharing on FB right this second.)
    Kelly @ View Along the Way recently posted..Announcing the Holiday Heirloom Recipe Link-UpMy Profile

  12. It’s looking good! Such an inviting place to sit and chat! Pantsless toddler and all… haha
    Kassi @ Truly Lovely recently posted..WIWW – Sweater Dress from Old NavyMy Profile

  13. Great minds think alike!! I did the EXACT same thing, with the EXACT same placemats from world market. I love the chartreuse green in that print. I have one on my couch and I kept one as a placemat and put it on my coffee table.
    jenny@birdsandsoap recently posted..The ForumMy Profile

  14. ACK! I’ve never thought of that before!!! Placemats?! And you are totally right…I’ll be checkin’ the backs of those puppies from now on!!! :)

  15. Christina says:

    This literally made me smile and say “wow!” out loud! So clever! I have been following your blog for the last few months after seeing your Paisley stencil table on Pinterest and I just love everything you do! My boyfriend and I are buying a house and close in January so I plan to start a blog to document all my projects (many of them will be inspired from yours!) I hope once I get that going you will follow me! :) Thanks for this awesome idea!

  16. Oh, placemat pillows, I just love you. A good 1/3 of all pillows currently on display in my house are actually placemats. I love a good pillow loophole! Great post with three easy ideas for them!
    Courtenay recently posted..Paper Lunch Bag Advent CalendarMy Profile

  17. Like your pillows! I’ve never tried painting fabric either, but come spring, I’m going to give it a try too (can’t spray paint in the snow!)

  18. Looks great!!! Love the ‘bench’….and the pillows add just the right touch. Love the barn star too!

  19. Awesome! Really creative.
    Izzy recently posted..How to cook pork short ribsMy Profile

  20. I have done this before and loved the results because the placemats are stiffer and make great statements, I love the Bench, saw it on another post, saved the pic to show my son who is a Carpenter Artist, I would love one, I love the statement. Love your post, even though you use a Showing machine, I need one of those fabulous machines.. Merry Christmas
    shirley tener recently posted..A STITCH IN TIME WINNERMy Profile

  21. They look fabulous! Placemat pillows INGENIOUS and fabulously FAST! I also need some outdoor pillows and I will be finding that outdoor waterproofing spray!

  22. Genius!!

  23. I love your pillows. I have used placemats in the past, but never thought to buy double layer ones I could just open up. I thought about spray paint on fabric but never wanted to ruin it so I have to thank you for trying it for me. As for drop cloths, they are perfect for so much, I started making curtains out of them first and now have reusable bags for groceries, napkins, and pillows. And they are so much cheaper than fabric in the fabric stores.
    Lois recently posted..It’s Friday, time to share the best of the weekMy Profile

  24. Fantastic job! The strips on the canvas came out great! I hand painted some last year that didn’t do too well but I’m going to try this! Thanks for sharing!
    Tammy @ A Walk in the Countryside recently posted..King’s Crown or Thumbprint – made by Tiffin or Indiana Glass?My Profile

  25. I love this idea! I used the same print but bought the napkins…should have gone for the placemats, so much easier, next time :) Thanks for sharing with us and linking up.
    XO
    Kristin

  26. You did a great job on the pillows. I love making placemats pillows too. Thanks for sharing at DIYbyDesign.

  27. Wow, Ashley, the whole area looks fantastic! I love the pillows on the bench. Do they stay there or do the kids pull them down?

    I’m also going to try that waterproofing spray. Let us know if yours works, kk?

    Cheers! Jan
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

  28. Corey miller says:

    Did you make the table on your patio?? If so, how did you make it?? All of your projects are fabulous!! I am in the process of doing the stenciled table right now. I just got my stencil in the mail the other day. I hope it turns out as good as youurs did!!

    • We actually didn’t make that table, I bought it at a garage sale a long time ago. It would be really easy to make though, it’s just a box made out of plywood with old fence posts nailed to it. And YAY for stenciled tables! When you are finished feel free to e-mail me a few pics, I’m collecting reader projects for a post and would love to include yours!

  29. Buying stuffing and pillow forms from fabric or upholstery shops can be silly expensive. But buying decorator pillows from clearance places like Marshall’s, Ross, TJ Max or anywhere else that sells off household goods at cut rate prices is usually much cheaper. It’s the same stuffing just in a nice fabric bag rather than a plastic one.

  30. Great post! I LOVE the placemat pillows. They look so nice and the best part of them is the cost. I can’t stand how expensive nice pillow are! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Love, love, love the spray painted pillows! I need to get sewing or male some for my porch.
    Donna recently posted..Menu Plan Monday 4-15-2013My Profile

  32. ShalMayan says:

    I LOVE YOU! Thank you for sharing these pillow ideas! I have a new home (my first and it will be my last too :) ) and I so want to make it look nice, but as you say, pillows can cost some $. THANK YOU for these great tips!! xoxoxoxox!!!! :D You have made my day!! :D

    Be well… Shal :)

  33. Looks like a real cozy place to sit outside. And it’s a big improvement over how it looked before.
    Erin recently posted..Top 10 Reasons to Buy a Teak Shower BenchMy Profile

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