The Best DIY Christmas Pillow

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This is one of my favorite Christmas craft DIYs, my Christmas Tree Pillow. It’s easy to make and looks store-bought but it’s handmade.

Shapes and colors are the key to this easy DIY Christmas pillow. Ready to see just how easy this is to make?

Christmas Craft DIY Pillow 4
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Christmas Craft DIY

There is no doubt that I love to craft. Now that the Christmas holiday is about a month away, I am having so much fun creating crafts! Some of my favorite crafts I made last year are a tree skirt, a wooden centerpiece with hanging mason jar candles, mercury glass ornaments, gift tags, a ribbon wreath, a cookie wreath, silver and gold leaf pears, and clay tags.

However, one of my all-time favorite Christmas crafts is this Painted and Free Stitch Embroidery Christmas Pillow. 

Christmas Pillow DIY

Isn’t this just the cutest Christmas pillow ever? It is very easy to make and I love how it came out. Please know that if you are not a sewer, you can use a permanent marker and just draw in the same detail I created with my sewing machine.

Christmas Craft DIY

I want to make a few more of these which shouldn’t be a problem. I shared a live demo of how to make this pillow here and I had a limited amount of time so I created three different “stages” of the pillow. All I need to do is finish them and I will have three more Christmas pillows!

What You Need to Make a Christmas Craft Tree Pillow

Christmas Craft DIY Pillow

One pillow cover, 18″ x 18″ or 20″ x 20″ (or fabric if you want to make your own pillow)

Acrylic craft paint (2 oz. bottles) two reds, two greens, and one brown (such  as  Folk Art Hunter green, Bright Green, Lipstick Red, Barnyard Red, and Real Brown)

Paint brushes, 1/2 and 1″

One spool of Machine Embroidery Thread in Black or Brown

Sewing Machine

Darning (Free Motion Embroidery) Foot – Just make sure you confirm this fits your machine.

Washable Fabric Marker – Mark Be Gone

How to Make the Christmas Craft Pillow

Start by finding inspiration for your pillow. I googled “doodle Christmas trees” and came up with this!

doodle christmas trees

You can also google any other Christmas items. As long as you use “doodle” in your description you will find a lot of hand-drawn and inspiring designs.

Next, you need to draw a pattern for painting. 

This is the one I drew for my pillow. I used a washable fabric marker. 

I drew this pattern for my demo, so I included the stitching lines. You don’t need to include those. All you need to do is outline any areas that will be painted in different colors. 

Christmas Craft DIY Draw the Trees

Next, I used acrylic paint and painted the trees. It doesn’t have to be exact. If you paint outside of the lines, it doesn’t matter. That is because the embroidery will define the lines. So just have fun painting.

You can see below that I didn’t paint any colors on top of others. Take care to outline the colors so you won’t have to do that.

Christmas Craft DIY Pillow

I did a bit of shading in my painting and used a lighter/warmer color on the right side of the trees to depict some light. (That’s the artist in me. You do not need to do this!)

Christmas Craft DIY pillow

When you paint, be careful not to drip paint on the fabric. If it happens, don’t panic. You can try to wipe it up but you can also add some white paint, as I did below. I dripped paint in two places and added white paint around all the trees to balance it out.

Christmas Craft DIY Painted Trees

What is free-motion embroidery?

Free motion machine embroidery is a type of sewing that you do on a regular sewing machine but you can move the material in any direction while sewing it on your machine.  Normally when you sew, the machine automatically moves the fabric forward. When you sew free-motion embroidery, you get to move the fabric so you determine exactly where you want to sew. You can move sideways, forward, backward, and create any shape you want. All you need is a quilting or darning foot.

The free-motion quilting foot, sometimes called a darning foot, is designed so that the sewing machine needle passes through a small ring on the foot. Instead of hopping, these feet float over the fabric without providing pressure.  The Foot releases the fabric when the needle is in the upper position, allowing you to move the fabric freely.

All you need is the free-motion foot for your machine. This foot may vary based on your type of machine but I linked a “universal” one.

I read a lot about lowering the “feed dogs” on your machine when stitching free-motion embroidery. Feed dogs are the little teeth on your sewing machine that feed your fabric evenly through the machine. These teeth are extremely important because they help us produce perfectly spaced, even stitches whenever we sew garments, piece quilts, or applique shapes on our machine. You should lower the feed dogs for free-motion embroidery.

For this pillow, I lowered the feed dogs using a lever on my machine. If your machine doesn’t have that option, you can use a Supreme Slider instead.

How to Sew Free Motion Embroidery

Christmas Craft DIY Pillow

The best thing about free embroidery is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. I love how it looks when the two layers of stitches don’t match. And I love being able to push the fabric wherever I want it to go.

I loved making this tree. I had no pattern and all I did was sew a lot of “loops’. It was “free-handed” and not perfect. That is why I like it so much. As you can see, I roughly stitched over the painted shape, not worrying if the shape was covered or if I stitched out of the lines. 

Watch My DIY Video

Christmas Tree Pillow

You can watch my video to see how to do this.

If you look closely you can see how “free and loose” my stitching is and that I try to stitch everything about two to three times.

My stars are pretty funny-looking, but as long as you know what they are, I do not care!

Christmas Crafts

Be sure and watch the video so you can see start to finish exactly how to make this pillow. I am going to make a few more and I can’t wait to share them with you.

So what if you don’t sew?

You can use a permanent fabric marker instead of sewing. Just use a very thin tip and outline the design exactly as if you were sewing it. 

It’s that simple. And easy.

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Christmas Craft DIY Pillow

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you like this craft as much as I do!

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

Christmas Pillow DIY

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  1. Awesome idea, but I have one even easier. I buy seasonal or plain or what matches my decor towels. I hot glue three sides, add in Poly-fill or even cotton balls depending on the size of the towel, then I hot glue the 4th side. Done.

  2. Thank you so much for your Christmas painted pillow. I made your fall painted pillow and loved it. This is a project my granddaughter and I are doing together.

  3. I’m obsessed with Christmas and really want to make the tree pillow including the grand stitching. I called Joanne’s but she doesn’t carry the darning foot(or quilting foot). Amazon has two
    1. Sew link. Echo Quilting $65.
    2. Metal open Toe Free Motion Quilting Embroidery Foot. $6.99.
    My question: which is the right one? A big difference in price. But getting away with needing the less expensive one isn’t the way I usually roll (getting to buy the cheaper one). After several calls to several shops. I realize nobody knows what I’m talking. I guess you are the appointed one! I could go a little crazy with this (much like it seems you have). Please tell me the $6.99 is the right one. I don’t want to get the wrong one, but if the small one doesn’t do the job it’t useless. Love good looking crafts and this one I of those. Thanks and I’m hoping you have the answer.

    PS. I requested the recipes from your big party (Christmas?) but never get them. Please??
    Sorry this is so long

  4. Want to try your painted carrot pillow and have a question about the thread. I know you use embroidery thread and think I read one place you were having trouble with thread breaking. Do you use embroidery thread on the bobbin also or just regular thread. Thanks for all the inspiration you provide. I can hardly wait to see what is coming the next day.

      1. Leslie- I love this! As an avid sewer, I can’t believe I have never tried (or even knew about) the free motion embroidery foot, but it’s now on its way from Amazon! The pillows are great ways to really incorporate holiday decorating into the entire house. Thanks for sharing and adding to my diy goals! xx

  5. I am planning on taking ready made IKEA pillow covers with me when I visit family for Thanksgiving. I think it might be easier to paint with flat fabric as you did here, but I have already ordered the covers, so wish me luck with all 5 grands, each one will paint a tree.

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