June 28, 2010

Patriotic Outdoor Pillows


Matt and I are total nerds when it comes to history. We love the History Channel. We read history books by choice. We actually named all of Jack’s stuffed animals when he was little after American presidents. (Which explains why his best buddy, a stuffed blue puppy, is named Abe instead of Fido.)

I love changing out my decor, both indoors and out, with each holiday. I have been wanting some patriotic throw pillows to display throughout July in my front breezeway, and in conceiving of these little guys, I knew I had to let my academic side take over. Enter this set of pillows that doubles as an American History cheat sheet! 🙂

I know we have probably all seen and admired these gorgeous spray painted wheat pillows at V and Co. The pillows I’m sharing today use that same technique, but I have replaced the wheat with a houndstooth stencil I created in Photoshop and then converted into an SVG file using the technique here. This allowed me to cut out my stencils using my Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot Software. What a time-saver!

Remember me commenting on what fun I had working with the marine vinyl I used to create Matt’s Fathers’ Day headcovers? I couldn’t wait to play with my new favorite medium again with this project! The silhouette, star and date embellishments are all cut by hand from the vinyl using stencils I created with my word processing software (the star and numbers) or found online (I used this silhouette).

I was at Home Depot looking for drop cloths to use for this project when I stumbled upon a canvas drop cloth with plastic lining. Using these cloths makes these pillows nearly weatherproof. How perfect is that for outdoor pillows?

Ok, enough commentary already. Let’s get to work! 🙂

To make a set of pillows, you will need:
3 pillow forms (I used 2 squares and 1 rectangle)
1 5′ x 5′ canvas drop cloth with leak-proof backing
Freezer paper
Rotary cutter and mat
Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot software (optional, but recommended)
Red spray paint
Navy and white marine vinyl
White upholstery thread
Sewing machine needle for leather
Wash-Away Wonder Tape
Jeans sewing machine needle
All-purpose thread
Standard sewing notions: measuring tape, shears, pins, etc.

To start, measure your pillow forms, length and width. Now, add 1 to each of these measurements, and cut out a piece according to those values.

Example: My rectangular pillow is 15 inches long and 20 inches wide, so I need to cut a piece that is 16″ x 21″.

Now you will need to cut two pieces for the back that has the same width as the piece you just cut, but are only 2/3 (.67) as long.

Example: For the pillow above, I will multiply 16 (my length) x .67, which gives me 10.72. Rounding this value up to the nearest inch gives me 11. Thus, my two back pieces will each be 11″ x 21″.

I know math can be daunting, but bear with me. You can do it!

Now, fit your completed covers onto your pillow forms. 
You are finished!
Patriotic Outdoor Pillows
Helpful hints and tips
  • If you are interested in printing a houndstooth template to cut out and trace, I have provided a pdf version of it here. You’ll can enlarge/shrink the design to suit your needs. If you would rather use your SCAL software and Cricut, let me know, and I’ll be happy to email you the SVG file I created. I am unsure of how to share it here.
  • I recommend using an old rotary cutting blade for cutting the freezer paper, as your blade will be significantly dulled after that process.
Needing some pillow forms for this project, but not wanting to spring for the pricey craft store versions? Check out my post here for how to make pillow forms out of a body pillow!
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have!

, , ,

51 Responses to Patriotic Outdoor Pillows

  1. ellie g June 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Delightful and perfect, as usual. And from a fellow American History and History Channel nerd….I say BRAVO! These are awesome. (and in another weirdness….I totally figured out how to make a houndstooth pattern the other day as well, for an invitation I was designing. **insert twilight music here***)

  2. Jennifer June 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    This is so awesome. What a great and original idea! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. roxybonds June 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Girl you are uber-talented!

  4. Amy June 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    You are too creative! I knew you find a new use for you ♥ for the vinyl! I remembered reading your Father’s Day post and your comment about the vinyl. I love the pillows!

  5. Becky June 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Those look amazing!

  6. Becky June 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Those look amazing!

  7. Amy June 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Seriously I want to be you. I wish I could do all of these things, or had the time. I love this!

  8. Stef June 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    Wait – what? You totally made those “from scratch.” What foresight, what dedication!! And what’s this SVG thing you’re talking about??? Because if there’s some hook-up for my Cricut that allows me to cut things out other than those on the cartridges, well, I’m in DEEP trouble. Also, Amy, I’m totally lame, but could you please tell me what freezer paper is? Is that wax paper or something different? Do you find it at the grocery store? Is it labeled “freezer paper?” I probably look like an idiot, but I keep seeing these freezer paper stenciling things and I just really don’t know what freezer paper is. 🙂

  9. Ott, A. June 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    very patriotic. Now if only I could find someone to do the sewing for me. P.S. I like the history channel too.

  10. Alison June 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    We are all complete history buffs in my family, too!! I adore how these pillows turned out! How clever you are!!

  11. casserole June 29, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    Your pillows are FABULOUS!! I am LOVIN’ the vinyl for the appliques! And that houndstooth background!!

    I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  12. Vintagesouthernlife June 29, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    Love your pillows. As a retired teacher I can see these as being perfect in a classroom as well. I’m passing your link on to some current teachers that will flip over them.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. The Autocrat: Haley June 29, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Love em!! Wow! You sure do have alot of time in those!! However, the results sure are fabulous!!

  14. BJ_Mama June 29, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    LOVE love LOVE these! Wish I had the time to make ’em! 😉

  15. ificould June 29, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Wow, what an impressive project! These are seriously so cute, but there’s no way I could pull this one off – wanna sell some??

    I’m really in love with these – great job!!

  16. Amber June 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    I love these! I love learning new techniques, thanks so much for sharing!


  17. Stephanie Cameron June 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I just love these!! The images are so crisp and i’m so impressed about the weather proof drop cloth. that sure beats 17$ per yard sunbrella fabric!

  18. Bethany @ The Paper Pony June 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    These are just beautiful! Your hard work truly paid off. Thank you for letting us in on your process… I don’t think I could do white thread on Navy like that though… I’m not nearly so fantastic a seamstress. Great job.

  19. Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} June 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Amazing! I love the vinyl with the red. I’m totally infatuated with the 1776 pillow. Just fantastic! Thanks for the tip on the drop cloth! Outdoor fabric is soooo expensive, even when its on sale!

  20. Kimberly June 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Very fun pillows! No harm in learning and decorating at the same time. 🙂

  21. Megan @ A Ruffle In Time June 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    i love these pillows! just shared this on my blog.. 🙂

  22. Tammy at Tattered and Timeless June 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    very cool pillows and love the extra learning on the cricut stuff..

  23. Mine for the Making June 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    LOVE them!!

  24. Michelle @ Sweet Something June 30, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    Amy girl, those are FANTASTIC!!! I don’t care how nerdy you are, you rocked these pillows! 🙂
    Happy 4th!

  25. Everyday Mom Ideas June 30, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    This is such a clever idea! Ive been checking out your blog here and am so impressed and inspired! Im going to have to follow you now!

  26. Cassie Patel June 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    You did a fabulous job. I have been wanting pillows for my front porch for some time. This has been moved to my top ten things to-do list. Thanks so much for a great tutorial.

  27. ificould June 30, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    AMAZING!! Featured this post today!!

  28. Sam July 1, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    These pillows are crazy good!

    *Come on over – I’m hosting my first giveaway!*

  29. Leigh Ann July 1, 2010 at 3:16 am #

    These pillows are fabulous. What talent you have. Thanks for sharing!

  30. TidyMom July 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m in love with how these turned out!!

  31. Laura Ingalls Gunn July 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    I adore your patriotic spirit. It is red, white and bluetiful!

    I hope you’ll stop by for my bbq on an Anthropologie inspired white tablecloth. 🙂

  32. ~k July 1, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Larissa July 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Insane! I LOVE these. By far the best 4th of July decoration I have EVER seen. Way to go!

    Seriously I can not get over these!

    Just Another Day in Paradise

  34. Mama Peck July 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    These are awesome. I love them! I do have a question though about using regular spray paint on fabric. That’s just kind of out there for me. Does it go into the fabric or stay on the surface? (I’m thinking cracking here) Are they just for ‘pretty’ or could you actually use them?

  35. Kim @ Starshine Chic July 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Your pillows are fabulous!!! The best patriotic ones I’ve seen.

  36. staci @ lizard n ladybug July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am #


  37. The Answer Is Chocolate July 3, 2010 at 2:31 am #

    I saw these on the Weekend Wrap Up at TT&J and they are AMAZING

  38. HoosierHomemade July 3, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    WOW! Those pillow are amazing Amy! I’ve been meaning to get over here and tell you since I first saw them. Stunning 🙂
    I’d love for you to add them to Blog Party’s July 4th Party!

  39. amyg July 3, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    LOVE the houndstooth pattern!! So classy looking. Thanks for sharing!

  40. Anneliese July 3, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    These are seriously cute! The design is so sophisticated and fun at the same time. Love them! Wish I had time to whip them up for the 4th–maybe I shoudl get a jump on next year. I just love vinyl…

  41. Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue July 3, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    These are absolutely fabulous! I can’t believe you made them!

  42. Anna Dawn July 3, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    WOW! This is AMAZING! I love using my cricut for all kinds of crafts, especially sewing, but you really took it up a notch!! Great Job! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Paula July 4, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    I love these! Your tutorial is great, too. I’m your newest follower!

  44. Hillary and Jonathan July 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    These are so cute! I am going to keep this in mind for next year!

  45. Amanda@The Hand Me Down House July 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    These pillows are fantastic! I LOVE them — and that is a WONDERFUL tutorial — I would love to make some for next year!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and your sweet words! 🙂

  46. Anonymous October 28, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

  47. Kimberly O. August 19, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    Wow!! My mother in law would LOVE these…I should probably practice some sewing (it’s been YEARS since I’ve done anything) so I can maybe make them for her next year!

myfreecopyright.com registered & protected

© 2009-2016. Positively Splendid. All rights reserved.