DIY - Envelope pillows with Thumbprint Design

how to thumbprint designs on pillows

Envelope pillows are the easiest pillow covers I've sewed and let me tell you, my sewing skills are not that good.  A fabric rectangle folded to create an "envelope", four simple straight  lines to sew and your cover is done! No zippers, no Velcro, the envelope holds the pillow really well.

The special treatment to the pillows comes with thumbprints where your kids can be of big help!

The materials you'll need:

  • Fabric (I used drop cloth material), and all the necessary sewing materials.   If you don't have a sewing machine, this is a project you can put together using Stitch Witchery.
  • Fabric paint (The one used in this project was Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, the colors: Glacier White, Royal Blue and Marine Blue)
  • Contact paper
  • Utility knife
  • 17" x 17" pillow forms
  • Starfish and Seahorse graphics

           *Pre-wash and iron the fabric

For a 17" x 17" pillow insert, the following are the dimensions that were used.
How to make an envelope pillow
Once the fabric is cut to size (18"x 40"), hem the left and right edges.  Fold  in ½"  twice, as seen in the picture below.  Iron it flat and hem.  Do the same on the other side.
how to make envelope pillows with dropcloth

Now you can lay your fabric down, fold the left side and iron.
envelope pillow out of dropcloth for Summer

Do the same on the other side.  These folded lines are a good visual point to center our design on the front face of the pillow later on.
envelope pillow - ironing and mesuring

Before sewing across the top and bottom of the cover, lets work on the design, the fun part!
Print the starfish and seahorse silhouettes, for these pillows they were printed at 120%
starfish and seahorse silhouettes free graphic

Place each design on top of a big piece of Contact paper, tape it in place.
free graphics for starfish and seahorse

Using the utility knife cut through all three layers following the design.
contact paper silhouettes

Once the design is all cut out, you can go ahead and peel off the big piece of Contact paper and center the design in between the folded lines of your pillow cover.  Press the Contact paper firmly all around the design, you won't like paint seeping through.
pillow designs with contact paper

Now is the time to call all those little artists in the making, give each of them a set color of fabric paint.
diy thumbprint designs on pillows

The thumb printing can begin!
starfish and seahorse designs on pillows

Until the designs are all full.
designs on pillows for Summer

Let it dry according to the paint manufacturers instructions.  After the paint dries you can go ahead and sew across the top and bottom, making sure the designs are on the inside.
how to make an envelope pillow
It can be wash and iron again, you can insert your pillow form and this is how it will look.
thumbprint designs

You can place it on your favorite chair and enjoy it!
envelope pillow on Adirondack chair by the lake

Our pillows are a present for a special person.
envelope pillow with thumbprint design on orange Adirondack chair by the lake

Of course, the artists had to sign it, or thumb print them! Well, we did both!
how to make an envelope pillow with Summer designs

Are you ready to give the thumb printing a try?  Kids love it!

thumbprint designs on pillows and little card

diy - summer pillows with thumbprint designs

For more DIY - Home decor ideas check these out:

old windows decorated with American flag to celebrate fourth of July

how to make a tablecloth

mantel with seashells and ship-wheel art


  1. I love the pillows but I would have thought you used pencil top to do the dots, I was rather surprised.
    I am going to have to try this, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Diane! Nope, those were mine and my kids thumbprints :) It's an easy project for the kids to give you a helping hand!
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  3. These are absolutely beautiful!! What a cool project idea.

  4. These are absolutely beautiful!! What a cool project idea.

  5. Such a cool project for kids of almost any age and it looks wonderful!

  6. That looks so amazing!! I especially love the color of it! thanks for the awesome tutorial!

    Click here for Fishing Southeast Alaska


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