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Make It : Photo Pillows

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1 of 3
Silk prints and linen backings cut to size

1 Silk prints and linen backings cut to size

Right sides facing inward before sewing closed.

2 Right sides facing inward before sewing closed.

Finished pillows - 2 with grandchildren and one vintage photo from her childhood.

3 Finished pillows - 2 with grandchildren and one vintage photo from her childhood.

About 10 years ago I made my mother photo pillows for Christmas.  It was before she had grandchildren,  so I made them with some vintage photos from her childhood.  Those pillows have definitely seen better days and this Thanksgiving she mentioned how much she loved them but that they were getting "a little ratty".    The originals were made with iron-on transfers and I thought this time I would try something different.  I had been wanting to experiment with Jaquard's line of inkjet fabrics - so this was the perfect opportunity.  I opted for the silk habotai, it comes in 8.5 x 11 sheets as well as 8.5" x 120" rolls.  The fabric is fused to a paper backing that is easily removed once you print. After printing and removing paper, I backed the silk with fusible interfacing to give it a bit more structure and then sprayed them with Scotch Gard (to make them water resistant).  I cut heavyweight linen for the back of the pillow and sewed it on all 4 sides (leaving a hole in the bottom to stuff - which I then hand-sewed closed after filling.)  For a project like this I much prefer the printable fabric to an iron-on.  They were a bit hit with my mom as well- she definitely preferred the silk - but I think she was most excited that this time I used photos of my niece and nephew!


Comments (13)

  • Hi, I use a product called DYLON IMAGE MAKER. its cheap and can go thro the wash a few times too. I actually use it on canvas and if anyone wants me to to give some tips, i'd have no problem. Plenty of instructions come on tube/tub. The tub is far more economical. xx

  • I recently hosted a local craft club at my home. We took a fabric (actually white sun blocking curtain fabric) and cut it to 8 1/2 x 11 and then cut butcher paper to match size. If you iron the fabric to the paper you can run it through your printer. We selected pictures to use and made some little bags, and hanging calendars. This fabric is very durable and since it has the sun blocker in it (a kind of rubbery side) there is very little worry about fraying when it goes through computer or when sewing it together.

    Our craft club has been in existence since 1980. We meet once a month at the home of different members for food, fellowship, and a delightful craft. Lucas Country Crafters

  • I love these Photo Pillows. They are so fun! I included them with a link back to this site in my Mother's Day Gift Tutorials post here:

    I adore Martha and the Martha Stewart site and have been a loyal fan for many many years.

  • Crafter Comment:

    That's great - thanks for letting us know.

  • nice crafts, thank you for posting..

  • I absolutely LOVE this!

  • Hi I was wondering where I could send my pictures and have a few pillows made for me? Please Let me know either way thank you do much

  • Crafter Comment:

    Hi Michele,
    It looks like Snapfish offers a photo-pillow service-

  • Last year, I created a Picture Frame Pillowcase using a fabric swatch from,
    I was able to upload my own photo and then they "printed" it onto the fabric. I lucked out and got my swatch free during a promotional, but the everyday price is $5. You could also print in color this way.

  • I want to do this with the kids at my after school. I have 61 children. What is the cheapest way I can make these with them???

  • Crafter Comment:

    Hello Jonathan - The children could do small 4" pillows or little sachets. Which would make the materials go a bit further. Iron on transfers are another less expensive option - but they don't hold up quite as well as the printable fabric.

  • I made a similar project with fabric ironed on freezer paper and running through my printer then peeled off and sew as usual. Worked great.

  • These are so very cute. My first thought was to add borders to all 4 sides and make a bit bigger - even the size of a pillow form. The picture would be visible completely, without the wrap around effect. Definitely something I will be making for my grandkids.

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