Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DIY Hammock Pillow Tutorial

With the dog days of summer upon us, there's no better place to be than in your backyard swaying in a hammock under a shade tree. OK, correction, lying on a white sand beach on Kauai while sipping a strawberry daiquiri might be a slightly better place to be, but just try to work with me here.

Assuming you're stuck with your same old hammock and your same old backyard, here's a fast, simple DIY tutorial for you. If you've got a few minutes and a handful of plastic bags, you can turn a cloth placemat into a fun hammock pillow.

For this project, you will need:
  • One double-sided cloth placemat
  • Two ribbons
  • Plastic bags (dry cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, and produce bags work best)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or hot glue or hemming tape
  • Needle & thread or two safety pins

1. Start with your cloth placemat. This cutie was $2 at Kmart. (Corner is folded down in photo just to illustrate that placemat is double sided.)

2. Using scissors or a seam ripper, cut the threads on one of the short sides of the placemat. This placemat actually had two layers of threads--the decorative topstitching (#1 white threads in photo) and the seam stitches that actually held the front and back together (#2 blue thread). The easiest way to cut the threads is to start by snipping a few of the topstitching (#1) threads until the side of the placemat opens up enough for you to wedge your scissors in there and cut the #2 threads. From there you can easily cut/pull the threads until one side of the placemat is open.

3. Stuff the placemat with plastic bags. Yes, folks, I said plastic bags. There are three advantages to using plastic bags over regular stuffing/batting: first, it's a "green" idea and keeps your hoarded plastic bags from overrunning your garage and swallowing your neighbor's house, second, the bags are essentially free, third, if you choose to leave your pillow out in the dew & the rain, it will dry quickly. Plastic dry cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, and produce bags work best for this because they're "quieter" & don't crinkle as much as grocery bags. Grocery bags will work too, but you may notice a Pampers-like crinkle sound when you rest your head on the pillow. Not so relaxing.

4. Keep stuffing in plastic bags until your pillow is pleasantly plump, but not overstuffed. Think Christmas here, not Thanksgiving.

5. Use your method of choice to close the seam that you cut open in step two. A sewing machine would be fastest, but hemming tape or hot glue would probably work just as well.

6. Attach two ribbons to the back of the pillow. Ideally, these will sort of match your pillow--I used white for mine so you'd be able to see them. You can use a needle and thread or two safety pins. The third picture below shows the placement for the ribbons--my ribbons are a little shorter than you'll want yours to be. These ribbons will be used to tie the pillow onto your hammock so that the pillow doesn't fly off when your kids try to tackle you butler brings you another smoothie and you need to sit up to take a sip.

7. Tie your pillow onto your hammock and relax! Ahhhhh.

Love DIY projects? This project has been linked to Great Idea Day at Infarrantly Creative, Do It Yourself Day on A Soft Place to Land and Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage.

For more placemat pillow (and table runner pillow) fun, visit Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick.