If you want to give the people on your holiday list a gift they can really hold onto, why not make them all personalized photo pillows with our easy DIY tutorial? This customized gift may look like it took a lot of time and effort but believe it or not, you can actually do it at the last minute using mostly recycled materials. Your loved ones will be blown away when they open their gift to see their own faces (or rapper/architect Ice Cube's, if you prefer to go the same route we did) emblazoned on a cozy pillow.
– An old pillowcase or t-shirt
– An iron-on transfer paper sheet (your can buy a whole pack for $34 or just a few pieces for $6 )
– Some old clothes or fabric to use as stuffing for your pillow
– A printer
– A sewing machine or needle and thread
– An iron and an ironing board or flat surface to iron on
First, get the photo you want to use ready to be printed onto your transfer paper. You can even add text.
Then, print your photo out onto your iron-on transfer paper.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When printing, make sure you select “mirror image” if your image contains text. Otherwise, the text will be backwards on your pillow. Notice how the text is backwards on our printout.
Place your transfer sheet printed side down onto your pillowcase or t-shirt where you want the image to go. Our pillowcase was substantially larger than our printout so we placed our sheet all the way in the corner. You can always cut away the excess later on. If you’re a kid, don’t do the next part without adult supervision! Next, heat up your iron and follow steps 2-7 here to iron your transfer sheet properly onto your pillow.
Once you’ve waited a few minutes for the transfer to cool, peel away the backing to reveal your awesome photo design!
If you have excess fabric on the sides of your design, cut some of it away (but leave at least a 1″-1 1/2″ margin for where you will sew your pillow closed). Then turn your fabric inside out so that the iron on transfer is on the inside.
Next, on a sewing machine or with a needle and thread, sew the side of your pillow closed. Leave the bottom open since you’ll sew that up last after you stuff your pillow.
Once you have the side of your pillow sewn shut, turn it right side out again. Then, using old clothes or fabric (we used an old hoodie), stuff the inside of your pillow until it’s nice and fluffy.
Once you have all of your stuffing in, turn in the edges of the bottom hem of your pillow and sew it shut. This is probably the hardest part of this whole process so we recommend you use pins to keep your pillow closed while you sew it.
Then, fluff up your newly completed personalized photo pillow and get it all wrapped up to give for the holidays!
Photos © Yuka Yoneda