30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 15 – Hand Painted “12 Days of Christmas” Pillow

Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

This week is flying by again and it’s already day 15 in my “30 Days of Thankfulness Series”.  Today I am thankful for my Mom and Dad and all of their support over the years.  You have a lot of time to think when you are hand painting little details for an hour or so.  My parents have always been there when I needed them and I love them dearly.

I just finished a rather fun {and definitely gratifying} little project.  If you are anything like me then you have most likely seen an item in a store at some point and maybe looked at the price tag and thought “I could make that myself”.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I saw a Christmas pillow that I thought was sooo darn sweet at Target.

Considering the detail {and the cuteness) the price tag wasn’t really too bad at $19.99 but, in this case, I actually thought “It would be fun to try and make that myself.”  I’ll show you a side by side at the end.

I started with some dark red duck cloth that I already had purchased for another project.  I had 1 & 1/4 yard  ($6.50 after a 60% coupon at JoAnn Fabric) and I didn’t even use half of the material. I decided to make this pillow cover as an “envelope” or sham style cover, rather than a zipper.  Frankly, I need to go back and practice my zipper sewing skills and I also didn’t want to spend any more than I had to anyway.

My materials:

Duck cloth   $3.00 (approx).

One 20″ pillow (repurposed one I already had)

Metallic Gold Fabric Paint ($1.52 after another coupon)

(2) White Fabric Paint Pens ($1.49 each after more coupons = $3)

Fabric paintbrushes and white fabric marking pencil (already owned)

I started by cutting (1) 21″ x 21″ square from the cloth, and then (2) 13″ x 21″ rectangles for the back of the pillow cover.

 Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

Then I got to work on my number stencils – I printed numbers in varying sizes and cut them out by hand (yes, by hand using scissors – so stone age, I know!) and I cut the numbers out and laid them out onto the 21″ square of cloth.

 Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

Once I had them where I wanted them, I traced them lightly using the white marking pencil.

Next step was to hand paint all of my numbers {if you use a paper crafting machine to cut out stencils, which I sometimes do, this will be much faster but sometimes I still just like painting freehand}:

Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

The fabric paint dried pretty quickly, albeit maybe a bit tacky for a while, so I didn’t have to wait too, too long before I could go in and start writing the script with my white fabric marker.  I was just careful not to rest my arms on the fabric.  First, I freehanded the script in pencil by looking at the example of the one I had seen in the store.

Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

I know it’s not perfect, but it’s also not printed on a machine by the thousands somewhere across the world so it’s just perfectly personal and handmade.  As an aside, I told my Husband I wasn’t happy with the way one of the words turned out and he looked at me like I had three heads and said “Are you kidding? It looks perfect!”

Ok, that’s good enough for me {and then he wandered off muttering something that might have been about me being a perfectionist.  Or crazy.  Or maybe he was going to search “CriCut” on Amazon.  God love him}.

I let that dry over night.  Not because I am really that patient, but because I had to go to sleep.

The next day I used my sewing machine – for the record I am NOT a seamstress y’all, but I make it work {hey, with three boys I’m just glad I remember how to thread a bobbin}!  If I can make this, “sew” can you:

1) I started with sewing a zigzag stitch on all of the edges of all three pieces of the fabric EXCEPT one long side of each rectangle, as those will end up showing on the back of the pillow and will be finished off.  The zigzag edge will prevent fraying so it’s an important step, especially with duck cloth.

2) I then did a traditional (twice folded, one-stitch) hem on the two unfinished sides of the rectangle pieces.  {PS:  Do try and remove the pins before the needle passes over to prevent your needle from breaking.  I missed a couple and got lucky}.

Sewing PM Collage

3) Once that was completed, I laid the painted square face up, and then lined up the first rectangle (finished side down towards the paint) with the top of the square and pinned it.  I then lined up the second rectangle (again, finished side down) with the bottom of the square and pinned that.  The rectangles will overlap by several inches.

4) I sewed the entire perimeter of the three now-attached pieces and turned it inside out, using my finger to really get into the corners because I can’t find my little tool that does that  {FYI – I would not recommend using scissors to poke the corners out.  I have seen bad things happen and I’m just here to protect you AND your projects}.  ;)

Insert your pillow just like you would a pillow into a sham cover.  Shimmy it, fluff it, love it…  and Voila!  One very merry and festive holiday pillow!  And here’s the side by side.  On the left – a picture of the “inspiration” taken on my iPhone.  On the right – my “made-right-here-in-the-US of A-in-my-very-own-home “masterpiece”.

Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

Pretty fun, huh?  Theirs is really cute and I still adore it but it’s not bad for hand painted and freehand cursive and $7.50 out-of-pocket!  And here are a pair I made for my friend Julie as featured on her front porch in Michigan!!  ::squeeeal::   I was so happy to make these for her!!

Twelve Days Of Christmas Pillow with aLittleClaireification.com #Crafts #DIY #ChristmasCrafts

Courtesy of RedheadCanDecorate.com

I hope you are all inspired to get out there and create something this week!   As always, I love to read your comments or hear about any fun projects you are working on!





  1. So creative!

  2. Claire,
    Now, just look at you, this is one CUTE DIY pillow you have here! It really looks outstanding and your mother should really be proud of your cutting and writing skills:) Come by and share with us at my Nifty Thrifty Tuesday party.


    • Thanks so much, Linda! I definitely added this to your Tuesday party AND joined your great giveaway! Linked back to you at the bottom of this post so others can join in too. :) Thanks for stopping by and making me feel oh so happy about my pillow project! :)

  3. My Christmas decor is based on the Twelve Days of Christmas (we celebrate them in this house from December 25-January 5 as per old tradition), so I am loving this! Beautiful work!

    • Thank you SO much! I am excited to make a few more as gifts. I will be sure and check out your site later this eve! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Awesome idea! You did a great job!

  5. This is fantastic!

  6. Oh my goodness Claire! I want one, I want one!! That looks PERFECT to me. You could sell those! I need 2 Christmas pillows (well, don’t need, but want) for my front porch bench. If you make them, I’ll buy them :) Don’t forget to share this the day after Thanksgiving at my first party. I’m sooooo nervous! XO

    • Julie, you crack me up!! Trade out – feature my pillow on FB and your blog and I’ll send you two free pillow covers. lol
      Can’t wait til your 11/23 party!!

  7. Lovely! I especially love that you are taking time during this busy bit of the year to be thankful. Great reminder for us all C:

    Thanks so much for sharing at our pin’inspiration party.

  8. That turned out amazing! I am also always looking at stuff in the stores thinking I’ll do it myself. I always take the picture. I rarely (okay, never) get around to making them! So I’m doubly amazed at your accomplishment!

    As an added bonus, the pillow you’re making for your son’s teacher will be even less than $7.50 because you don’t have to re-buy the paint & pens!

    • Thanks Shaina! That is a GREAT point, too the second pillow will cost less! I will have to buy more paint pens though. It took both pens to get it all done. I think the second pen was faulty though and should have lasted longer. So glad you stopped by. I will be sure to pop over this weekend and see your blog. :) Claire

  9. Love it, and to my way of thinking, I think your version is better! The color on yours is prettier, Christmasy without being “in your face” red. You did a wonderful job.

  10. Wow, this is such a great idea and you did a fabulous job on the pillow.
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Coming from Inspiration Friday… Great project! The pillow turned out beautifully! Thanks for the tutorial! :)

  12. The pillow turned out great. You really did a beautiful job.

  13. Hi Claire…love your pillow, blog, and your FB page. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  14. Hi Claire, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm and I’m visiting from Fantabulous Friday.

    This is such a beautiful project! Very elegant looking. You have a very steady, artistic hand, I am envious.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. If you’ve never visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  15. Adore the pillows. Your mother must be very proud of you for many reasons. You are so talented.

  16. This is gorgeous! I’d love to create something like this but would struggle to make such pretty writing. I’m a new follower and I’m looking forward to being inspired by your other creations


  17. This is a gorgeous pillow Claire! Thank you so much for bringing it over to Fabulous Fridays! for the party.

  18. Wow! That’s absolutely adorable. It looks like something I might be able to do, too! Pinning it for sure!
    –Gena at http://ichoosejoy.org

  19. This is perfect! I have always loved ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and this is so much lovelier than a mass-produced item. You’ve got a beautiful script.

  20. OK I am just so impressed you were able to write that neatly! Thanks for linking up at Miss Information! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving

    • Thank you! My Mother’s influence. :) So happy you stopped by and thanks SO much for hosting another great linky party! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

  21. I love anything monogrammed and stenciled. What a great idea, I love the way your pillow turned out! Well done!

  22. This turned out gorgeous!! So glad you shared at Shine on Fridays!

  23. Your pillow is so pretty! Love the whole theme of it!

  24. Brilliant! I have a link party every Friday so would love to have you link this up!

  25. Beautiful! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for joining me at HSH!

  26. Hi, Stopping by to let you know you have been featured at One More Time Events.

  27. Thank you for linking up Claire! Shooting you an e-mail tonight! XO

  28. I love, love , love this fun and very creative project!!!! I’m going to try my hand at it too! Thanks so much for the Christmas inspiration!!!
    I hope you stop by StoneGable on Wednesday evening and join in my weekly dyi linky party, TUTORIALS, TIPS AND TIDBITS! This would be such a popular project!!!!
    LOVE IT!

  29. SPEECHLESS! I never would have guessed this was freehand! Your husband was right! It looks perfect. :)

  30. LOVE LOVE LOVE this pillow you made! You did a fabulous knock-off job!

    And, thanks for reminding me about doing a zigzag stitch along the fabric to prevent fraying. I’ve been making tons of pillow in the past year or so & totally forgot about doing that. :/ Now I can stop worrying about the bulk from double rolling the edges.

  31. This is so creative! Great job! Would love if you’d join our Countdown to Christmas link party! Hope to see you there! Have a great week! :)

  32. dixiendottie says:

    Your pillow is so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing at our Countdown to Christmas link party! :)

  33. That is GORGEOUS!!!

  34. I think you did a fabulous job! We all have so much to be thankful for. It’s always nice to take time and remember. Visiting from the Christmas Countdown. I would love if you linked this to my party, Share Your Cup Thursday.

  35. Beautiful! I am sooooo going to try this, although I am not sure my script can measure up to yours! Nice to know you did it without the fancy, schmancy machinery because I don’t have one either. I have frequently skipped on projects when they used the machinery to cut the designs, but you have given me hope on this one.

    • Good luck Carolyn! You can do it! Just requires a little patience with the cutting and tracing and I took my time painting so you can do it too! There are number stencils out there but I wanted different sizes… So rewarding looking at the pillow on our big green overstuffed chair! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  36. Ruth@LivingWellSpendingLess says:

    Love it! SOOOOOOOO cute!

  37. Ha! I saw the similar pillow at Target. I love yours! I wish I could copy the image of the pillow and save it on my couch. lol ;) Very impressive. It is very beautiful! :)


  38. Cindy Hayhurst says:

    I bought said pillow last week for 11.99. I’d still be more proud if I made it. You go girl!

    • Oh I am sure they drop in price a week or so after they hit the stores. I’v been surprised over the last few years how LITTLE holiday merchandise was left to snap up at 50% off after Christmas. Stores are now marking down the holiday stuff earlier! Thanks for stopping by and for your comment! :) Claire

  39. Juliette Mariano-Carlson says:

    Hi, just saw your pillows on Red Head Can Decorate’s blog. They are absolutely adorable!! I LOVE, Love, LOVE them!! Thanks for the tutorial.

  40. kathythechickenchick says:

    SO beautiful!! What a talent you have. Thank you for linking up with the Clever Chicks this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  41. MariaElena says:

    Love, love your pillow! So pretty! I love pillows and stenciling, so this is my kind of project. Thank you for the tutorial!

  42. Your pillow is perfect. I want one! And here’s hoping you get that Cricut for Christmas.

    • Amy – I am SO glad you stopped by again! Hope you and yours have been doing well and that you have an AMAZING holiday!!
      Heading over to check out your page again now too! It’s been a nutty few weeks!!

  43. i LOVE this and have pinned it for next Christmas!

  44. What an awesome pillow! Thanks for linking up to The Best of 2012 Link Party! Following via Pinterest now too!

  45. Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    Your pillows turned out great! I love the script without graphics-very elegant:@)

  46. Awesome pillows Claire. Thanks for linking up your goods!

  47. Love the pillows! Maybe next year I will attempt to create my own. :)

  48. Mom of boys too says:

    I love you pillow and it is on my list. What a great gift. Please note: I too only have boys but I sew nearly all of their clothes when they were growing up. Boys are no excuse not to sew!

  49. Thanks again, Debbie!! :)

  50. Hi Shona – thanks so much for following and for your sweet comment! :)

  51. Thanks so much Gena!! :)

  52. Thanks so much Tami!! I am behind in replying!! :)


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