Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Easy DIY No Sew Pillow Tutorial

What do you get when you combine old towels, rubber bands, a paper towel tube, and a piece of fabric? Ladies and gentleman of the Blogosphere, I give you The DIY 5 Minute, No Sew, No Glue, No Batting, No Stuffing, No Ribbons, No-Talent-Required Neck Roll Pillow. To the best of my knowledge, this is my own invention, but for all I know this could be old news to seasoned blogophiles.

Most no-sew bolster pillows require that you tie the ends off with ribbon, creating a pillow that is shaped like a long piece of wrapped candy. This can be a pretty look in the right room, but sometimes you just need something a little more tailored. This is it!

  • Two old bath towels (one towel might suffice if it's a really fluffy one)
  • One cardboard paper towel tube
  • Two rubber bands
  • A piece of fabric--lightweight works best (I used part of a sun dress for this tutorial. The dimensions of the piece that I cut were approximately 23" x 35", but I ended up with a bit more fabric than I needed!)


Step 1:
Fold your bath towels in half the long way to make two long, skinny rectangles. Stack one towel on top of the other. Place the paper towel tube at one end and roll as you would a rug. Set aside.

Step 2:
I used paper in place of fabric to illustrate this next step because the fabric edges were not clear enough to see in the photos. Fold your fabric into a tube shape so that the front side of the fabric is on the inside of the tube and the back of the fabric is on the outside of the tube. Be sure to fold your raw edges and overlap them as shown.

Step 3:
Gather the ends of your fabric in the rubber bands. The more evenly spaced you can make your gathers, the better the end result will look.

Optional Note: if you would like covered buttons on the ends of your pillow, add them during this step. To add a covered button, you would need to thread yarn or a fabric strip through the back of the button to make a "tail"and then thread this "tail" through the hole at the end of your fabric tube so that your button is on the inside of the tube during this step and the "tail" of yarn or fabric sticks out through the end where your fabric is gathered. The rubber band would then hold the button in place. If these instructions didn't make any sense, take a nap and/or drink a cup of coffee and then read them again.

Step 4:
Turn your fabric right side out so that the rubber bands are on the inside. Note: if you added buttons, they should now be on the outside.

Step 5:
Insert your towel roll into the cover, tucking the gathered fabric ends into the open center of the cardboard paper towel tube.

Step 6:
Tuck one side of your fabric opening into the other so that your towel roll is completely covered and the fabric cover is snug. (Green paper is used in the photo so that the fabric edge is visible.)

You're finished! My example pillow has a few funny seams because this fabric is recycled from a dress, but you get the idea. This is about as eco-friendly as a DIY project can get--if you ever tire of this pillow, simply disassemble it and repurpose or recycle the components! It's just my kind of DIY project: cheap, green, and easy to make! Come to think of it, that description also applies to frozen peas, but peas aren't nearly as versatile as a decor element.

A few final thoughts:

1. This project yields a pillow that is heavier than the average pillow. If a "normal" pillow is Wonder Bread, your pillow will be Granny Ethel's fruitcake.

2. You can adapt this project to make a long bolster pillow by substituting a gift wrap tube for the paper towel tube and by rolling your towel(s) starting at the short end without folding them.

This project has been posted with lots of other great DIY projects at A Soft Place to Land and at The Shabby Chic Cottage.