How to Make a Decorative Pillow

Decorative pillows are a great way to easily change up the look of a room.  And they are easier to make then you think!

Here is a step by step guide to make you own pillows for any season or holiday (and they make great gifts to give too!).

1. Pick your design. I like to use the 'D' size transfer as they are perfectly sized to the dimensions of the pillow. This makes for an easy all in one design.  You can always use different elements of other transfers to make your own custom design - a few extra steps are needed is all.

2. Pick your INK colour.  Yes, be sure to pick Couture Ink (with the white lids) and not Chalkology paste. Only with ink can you heat set it for a permanent design. Chalk paste will wash off.

3. Insert an ink mat into the pillow cover. I like to use ink mats as they are sticky so the fabric will adhere to the mat and not shift while making your pillow.  You can use a piece of cardboard, just be extra careful when you apply your design so that the fabric doesn't shift.

4. Start from the top and work down. Ink is a bit thicker than chalk paste and goes on thicker as well.  I work in thirds. Cover the first third with ink. And then use a large handled squeegee to scrape from left to right to lift off any excess ink.  Repeat this process until the entire design has been inked.


TIP: have some wipes or wet paper towel nearby to wipe your fingers with. As the ink is permanent, if you get it on your fingers and then touch a part of the fabric, it will be hard to get it out.  Keep wiping your fingers throughout the application to ensure they are clean at all times.

5. Slowly and carefully peel back the transfer from top to bottom. Once you have peeled it back, wash it in the sink with warm water and then wipe off the top and sticky side with a wipe. Lay sticky side up to dry so you can reuse it again.

6. Allow ink to dry before heat setting.  I usually leave mine laying flat for 24 hours with the ink mat still inside and then heat set it the next day. If you are in a rush, you can heat set it earlier, just make sure the ink is dry (it will feel sticky/tacky when you touch it, but no ink will be left on your finger).

NOTE: Make sure you remove the ink mat BEFORE you heat set!!

7. Place the pillow cover on top of a towel on a firm surface. I do mine on the kitchen counter. Lay a piece of parchment paper over top of your design. And don't forget to take the ink mat or cardboard out (if you haven't done so already). Using an iron on the dry cotton setting (no water or steam) or a Cricut Easy Press set to 350, you can heat set your design. It should be ready in about 30 seconds with an easy press and about a minute with an iron.  Carefully lift the parchment paper and allow to cool for a few minutes before doing the touch test. If the ink is smooth and no longer sticky/tacky when touched, then it has been heat set enough.

8. Insert a pillow and zip up. I use a basic rectangular pillow (you can get them at the Dollar Store).  They fill the cover quite nicely - no need to specially shaped more expensive square inserts.  Fluff it a bit to make sure it is even and then you are ready to display!


Pillow covers are machine washable. I wash them inside out and then lay flat to dry. Use a dry iron if needed (still inside out) to get out any wrinkles or creases.

Need to change the look? Then it's time to make a new cover and change it.

I also make pillow covers for use outside on my deck and in my gazebo. If they are not in a covered area, then bring indoors to protect from the elements. I leave the ones in my gazebo out all summer.

Want to get really creative? You can combine different transfers together or layer designs to make your own creative look!

Be sure to post pictures of your pillows and tag #glenabbeydecor I would love to see them! Have fun creating.

Products Used:

  • Couture Ink
  • Large Squeegee
  • Handled Squeegee
  • Ink Mat
  • (other items needed: fabric pillow cover, pillow insert, parchment paper, iron, towel)


Amber Dinda is wife, mom of two teenagers and a serial entreprenuer. She has embraced the mid life years as an opportunity to enjoy and explore all that life has to offer and not approach mid life as a crisis. You can follow Amber’s journey and experiences by subscribing to her blog and connecting with her on Facebook or on Instagram.

For more information on Home Decor items, you can visit Glen Abbey Decor on Facebook or Instagram. To order DIY supplies and craft kits to make your own home decor pieces, please visit Chalk Couture.

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