How to Make a Pillow

How to make a pillow even if you can't sew! Don't have a sewing machine? Hate sewing? No problem! This Fathers day gift, made from old jeans, doesn't require a sewing machine! This can also be revised to suit any occasion.


Age:  12 and up with some help

Difficulty:  Easy-Medium  

Time  scale:  3  out  of  5    



  • 9 x  14 inch  piece of prewashed white cotton material  
  • Computer    
  • Picture of your Dad
  • T  shirt transfer paper    
  • Picture of world map  
  • Iron  
  • Ironing board  
  • White pillow case  
  • White sheet of paper    
  • Old blue jeans  
  • 2  old Jean shirts  (or use seams from jeans)  
  • Scissors  
  • Pinking shears  (zigzag  scissors)  
  • Fabric glue  
  • Clothespins  
  • Small bag of fibre  fill    

How to Make a Pillow when you can't  sew

Prewash and iron white cotton fabric.   

Use the computer with a picture editing program to add a text box that says “World’s Greatest Dad” and a small circular picture of Dad, near the bottom of a world map. There are free printable maps here. Adjust to fit on a regular sheet of paper. The size of the map should be approximately 7 inches wide by 10.5 inches long.    

Before printing, flip the image in the printer settings. Print the picture on to a sheet of T shirt transfer paper.  

Iron on to a white piece of cotton material. Follow the instructions that come with the transfer paper. The Hp cool peel paper worked better than the Epson transfer paper.  

Although the age for this says 12 and up, please use your own discretion. Kids should have help, even if they are capable of using an iron. I actually think sometimes, (oh, imagine that! ha ha) I require supervision, when it comes to using hot things. (The blister on my finger tells me so.) In other words, don't let age be the determining factor here. I really don't want anyone getting injured!


Ironing on the transfer requires using the hottest setting and a lot of pressure on the iron.  (Not exactly child friendly, I know).  This really is worth the effort, especially since the rest of the project is quite easy.   Keep the iron moving. Don't leave it in one spot for long or you will discolor the fabric. 


Peel the transfer paper from the cotton material. If you are using Hp cool transfer paper, you will need to wait until the transfer has cooled off completely, before doing this.


Trim around the edge with pinking shears. Leave about a 1/4 inch of material all the way around the picture. The width of this edge may need to be adjusted, depending on the width of what you are using to cover it. I used trim from the front of jean shirts but you can use seams or the waist band from the pants, if you don't have shirts to use. Repurpose any scraps you have.


Cut 14 inches up from the bottom of the leg of an old pair of blue jeans. Leave in one piece so the seams are intact, including the bottom hem.

Put a piece of white paper on the inside of the leg to keep any glue from soaking all the way through and sticking the pant leg together. Oops, I think I let the cat out of the bag about the secret ingredient for how to make a pillow without having to sew. So now you know, even though you already did. I'm sure you already saw it in the materials list. So much for adding a bit of drama to this.


Yes, it's glue, but not just any glue. It has to be permanent fabric glue. I know, it isn't really that much of a secret.

Put fabric glue all the way around the 1/4 inch seam on the back of the transferred picture.

Flip the picture over so it is right side up and center it on the blue jean leg. (Actually, not quite centered end to end. You will need to take into consideration that one end will need to be turned under. The other end (bottom of leg) already has a finished end.) Adjust accordingly. Smooth the picture down so it is nice and flat. If this sounds confusing, try dry fitting all the pieces first, before adding glue. You will then see what I am getting at.


Rip the front button strips off of two blue jean shirts. This should be a piece about an inch wide and the whole length of the shirt front.

Turn the cut edge of the blue jean leg to the inside. Glue shut. The width of the edge that needs covered should equal the width of the button strip you will use to cover it.


Leave the bottom edge seam on the opposite side of the leg, open for now.

Use fabric glue to attach the strips to cover the unfinished edges on the map picture. Substitute with other pieces (as I mentioned earlier), if you don't have these. Use these instructions for how to make a pillow, as a guideline. Don't let not having the exact same materials deter you from making your own!


Now, let the glue dry for at least a couple hours.

Remove the paper from inside the pant leg.

Stuff the pillow with fibre fill. Poof up a couple inches or so. Don't over stuff. Make it into a comfy pillow, not one that looks like it is about to explode.


This really is how to make a pillow, the easy way. There is no sewing and you can take advantage of seams that are already in place. Now you can apply fabric glue to the inside of the seam opening and you don't even have to turn the fabric in on this end. Is that handy or what? I thought so.


Use clothespins to hold this shut while it is drying. They are like little mini clamps but they are from the laundry room, instead of the workroom! Leave on at least a couple hours before removing them.  

Now, you know how to make a pillow, when you don't know how to sew. Wasn't that easy?

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