DIY Pillow Ideas – Painted Fall Pillows

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The colors of fall are maybe my favorite and I combined two of my passions, art and sewing, to create these amazing fall pillows.

Fall pillows are such an easy way to add a touch of fall to any room in your house. These pillows really are so easy, you will want to make more than one of each!

Fall Pillow DIY

I had a  lot of big deadlines due last week. As soon as I was done I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be creative and make something. So I made DIY fall pillows. 

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You Made that?
DIY Pillow Ideas

I made my pillow using a pillow cover, acrylic paint, and my sewing machine. I used free-motion stitch embroidery to sew in the details.

What is Free Motion Stitch Embroidery?

Free motion machine embroidery is very different from regular sewing. By using a special quilting foot and lowering the feed dogs, you feed the fabric wherever you want to stitch. It’s so much fun because you can move the material in any direction while sewing it on your machine.

A lot of free-motion embroidery is done slowly and perfectly. I love it when it is more free and outside of the lines. Can I just say how much fun this was to make?

Fall Pillow DIY

Check out the video on how to make my painted fall pillow.s

What You Need to Make Painted DIY Fall Pillows

Pillow Cover – I used the IKEA Gurli pillow cover

Sulky Brown Embroidery Thread (Dark Brown)

Free motion quilting foot for your machine (varies by sewing machine brand)

Mark B Gone Washable Pen

Acrylic Paint – I used Alizarin Crimson, Cad Yellow Medium,  Brown, Light Green, Dark Green, and White.

Leaf  Pattern (right-click on Leaf Pattern and choose the “Save Link as…” option to download the file.) or you can use the same Leaf Stencils and these smaller Leaf Stencils I used on An Easy and Gorgeous Fall Tablecloth DIY.

Materials for DIY Pillow

You can tell that I use my paints frequently. (Yep, they are a mess!)

Paint for DIY Pillow

First, Trace the Leaves

I left a link to the photo of these leaves above. Just right-click on Leaf Pattern and choose the “Save Link as…” option to download the file. I resized the leaves and made them larger to about  5″. Once you have done that, print the leaves.

Fall Leaf Pattern

Cut out the leaves individually and arrange them on the pillow cover.

Place the leaves inside the pillow cover and arrange them in the order you want them. Using a Mark B Gone water-soluble pen, trace the outside of the leaf patterns onto the fabric. The pen is washable. In fact, if you just tap it with a wet cloth, the color will remove immediately.

Tracing for DIY Pillow

When you are done, your pillow should look like this.

Pillow Tracing

Place some heavy plastic (I used recycling material) inside the pillow cover. You need this because when you paint on the topside, you don’t want the paint to leak through to the backside.

Fall Painted Pillow

Next Comes Paint

Mix your paints to get the colors you want and loosely paint around the traced lines. I like it when it isn’t perfect. Messy is good.

Painted Pillow

This is what my pillow looked like after I painted it. Don’t panic, just remember how good this looked when the pillow is done, (I posted another photo since you might have forgotten.)

Painting the Pillow Case

See, it looks much better with the stitched embroidery.

DIY Pillow for Fall

Next, Free Motion Embroidery

Once the pillow is dry you need to add the machine stitch embroidery. This is what the sewing machine pressure foot looks like. To stitch the flowers, place your printed leaf nearby and stick the veins of the leaf as seen in the photo, The good thing is that this does not have to be perfect. I like it better if it’s not perfect.

Free Motion Stitch Embroidery

Can you believe the difference between the painted-only leaves and the stitched leaves?

Painted and Stitched Fall Pillow DIY

Here is a closeup. See what I mean about it being not perfect? It’s a good thing. I wasn’t kidding.

Free Stitch Embroidery Pillow

Iron to Seal the Paint

This is what the pillow looked like after stitching. Iron the pillow afterward to flatten out the pillow cover and seal the paint.

Painted and Stitched Pillow

Watch My Amazon Live

Click here to watch any of my Amazon Live shows. All shows are recorded.

This live show is titled Easy Craft Ideas for Fall.

Click here to watch the show.

Easy Craft Ideas for Fall

This is our dining room. You can see that I got my inspiration from all of the florals I got from Amazon Home.

I love this pillow so much! And it was not hard to make.

Fall Pillow DIY

Here are two other fall pillows I made with paint and free-motion stitch embroidery.

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A Home to Share, by Leslie Saeta

I love copper accents and they combine so beautifully with fall colors. Below are some of my favorite copper pieces to use for fall. The hammered copper bowl is on sale!

My favorite pomegranate branches sell out each year. Get yours before they are gone!

If you don’t have time for a DIY, check out these fabulous fall items you can buy.

Click to Shop Fall Decor

Pin the image below to your Craft or fall decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

Copy of DIY Fall Pillow

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  1. I love the pillows, and the way they are embroidered. My question, is this machine foot on a regular sewing machine or do you use an embroidery machine? If regular machine, where can I get the foot?

    1. After seeing the heart pillow in February, I went on Amazon and found a free motion foot that fit my Pfaff sewing machine.
      I have made the heart pillow and Easter egg pillow, as well as a Shamrock to put in the rocking chairs on my front porch. Thank you Leslie for the patterns and inspiration for these fun pillows!! I think I will be tackling the leaf pillows soon.

  2. Hi, I really like this project, but do you stitch the front and back of the pillow together or do you take the pillow apart first and resew it afterwards?

  3. Wowza, this is the most beautiful handmade fall pillow I’ve seen! Thanks for sharing it with us. Will you please add this to the Farmhouse Friday Link Party on Friday via Pinned

  4. I have a question about the pillow cover. How do you get it flat to sew on it? I mean is the pillow cover flat or do you have to take out a few seams to get it to lay flat while sewing?

    1. Hi Valelria – in order to sew on the pillow cover, just make sure that the cover is unzipped and then feed the unzipped side onto the machine for sewing. Sew over each heart individually, so you can smooth out the area that you are sewing on!

  5. Your free motion/painted pillows are my favorite things ever. I love the video. I might even work up the courage to try it.

  6. Thanks for a pattern download. That will really help me. As far as a free arm sewing foot, check with your brand to see if they make one. Madam Sew may also have a universal one as they have tons of sewing feet. Also Google it. I’m sure someone carries universal ones.

  7. Just an FYI the music background on the leaf video is so loud it makes it hard to hear you. Could you turn it down? Also can you answer Ans Potting’s question as I am wondering too. How do you see this without seeing through both sides? And does this special shoe work on any regular sewing machine or just a special machine. Do you have a link for purchasing that? Pillow is beautiful.

  8. Wow! I finally received my 5 Gurli pillow covers and am ready to start pillows. Thanks for this new design. I do not have a free motion attachment, but the same effect can be achieved by using an embroidery hoop. Not an artist so I am a bit nervous about paint all these pretty leaves.

  9. Love this technique and in my dreams I am SO going to make one! Truth is I said the for the floral one you did, the heart one AND the Easter egg. (See a pattern here? I’m working on THAT in my dreams too!) the video would have been helpful but u also found the music too distracting. This is a big project for my head to wrap around- the music made this all too much to want to take on. I muted it but would have liked to continue to hear what YOU were saying! Next tutorial of any kind skip the music- we don’t need anything more than your tips and encouragement!

  10. I love all of your free motion pillows and one of these days I am going to try and make one….I think all of the things you do are amazing …I did want to say I had a hard time hearing your video because the music was a little loud….❤

  11. Hello, I’m Czairah Villaver, I am glad to learn about your website here. We have home decoration products (like:Throw Pillow Covers & Blankets that we want to promote, and we really want to cooperate with you.
    It is fun to collaborate in creative activities, and expose our brand (products) like yours. I also want to know about the cooperation methods of product advertising on your website.
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