Create a DIY Decorative Pillow Using Napkins and Glue

5 Materials
10 Minutes

I was looking for a quick way to easily spice up my space and I came up with a winner! These DIY decorative pillows are simple to make, and so cheap that you can switch them out for every holiday or season. In just ten minutes you can have a fun floral pillow for spring, or use a napkin with a pumpkin design to spook your visitors on Halloween. The possibilities are endless! Follow my step by step tutorial to make you own!

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DIY Decorative Pillow

Tools and Materials

  • Pillowcase
  • Napkin
  • Decoupage gel
  • Silicon spatula (to evenly spread the decoupage gel)
  • Plastic wrap 

Separate the Napkins

Separate the Napkins

Most napkins have three layers of tissue. We only want the top layer, which is where the design is, for this project. Separate the layers gently because you don’t want to rip it and have to start with a whole new napkin.

Mark Where the Napkin Will Be

Lay Cardboard Under the Pillowcase

Lay a piece of cardboard under the pillowcase and lay the napkin on top of the pillowcase. 

Lay the Napkin Just Above Center

Place it slightly above center as the zipper at the bottom of the pillowcase will curl in, pulling the design down a bit. 

Mark the Pillowcase

Then mark the pillowcase just where the corners of the napkin are. 

Glue the Napkin to the Pillowcase

Glue the Napkin to the Pillowcase

Within the corners that you’ve just drawn, apply a thin layer of decoupage gel. You can also use mod podge, I’ve just chosen to use decoupage gel here because it shows up better on screen. 

Decoupage Gel

Another reason I like the decoupage gel is that they make the cushion slightly water resistant. These pillowcases cannot be put into the washing machine to be cleaned because it will remove the napkin, but you will be able to clean it by lightly wiping it.

Lay the Napkin on the Glue

Once you’ve added a full layer of glue, gently lay the tissue paper onto it. Do this part very carefully because once it’s down you shouldn’t try to move it.

Apply Glue to the Top of the Napkin

Add Plastic Wrap

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the tissue that you just glued down. The plastic wrap should be wider than the napkin, but don’t worry if it doesn’t reach the bottom of it, you’ll be able to move it down later to cover that part.

Add Glue

Add a few globs of decoupage gel onto it and then flip it and place it on the tissue. Be careful to keep the glue on the napkin and not on the pillowcase. 

Add Another Layer of Plastic Wrap

Create a Ball

Take another piece of plastic wrap and ball it up. 

Add Glue to the Ball

Put some of the glue onto the plastic wrap ball. This allows it to move smoothly across the first piece of plastic wrap. 

Spread the Glue Around

Then using the ball, push the glue from the center to the corners of the tissue. Don’t worry about it looking wrinkled as they will flatten out as it dries. It is important to make sure that you get the glue all over the entire tissue. 

Remove the Plastic Wrap

Once you’ve covered the whole napkin, remove the top layer of plastic wrap. When removing the top layer make sure to do it gently so that you don’t accidentally pull up the napkin with it. I’ve found that it’s easiest to slowly roll the plastic wrap towards the bottom of the pillowcase.

Spread Glue Again

If you have any spots where the glue didn’t stick to the napkin, don’t worry about it. Simply take the ball of plastic wrap you’ve been using to spread the glue around and spread it around a bit more until it covers the entire napkin. Do this gently so as not to tear the napkin. If there is a bit of tearing here and there it’s okay, but we don’t want any large tears that will show.

Smooth out the Glue

Once you’ve spread all the glue, smooth it out using a silicone spatula. 

Easy DIY Decorative Pillow

Then let it dry and you’re done! Here I’m showing you one I did previously. The decoupage gel I used is a gloss, so the finished product is a bit shiny, which I love! You could use a matt gel, or even one with glitter if you’re feeling extra fancy! 

Don't Add Glue to the Whole Pillow

I also experimented with covering the whole pillowcase with the decoupage gel. As you can see it caused some puckering along the zipper, so I wouldn’t suggest doing it this way.

Homemade Decorative Pillow

This process isn’t specific to pillow cases, you could do the same thing to any fabric that doesn’t experience too much wear and tear. What napkin design would you choose for your DIY decorative pillow? Let me know in the comments below!

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Fiona Debell

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

Join the conversation

  • Wishy washy maybe
    13 hours ago

    Sooo, you glue the paper to the fabric, then to apply more gel onto paper, you use the clear plastic so you won't tear the paper. But then remove the clear plastic and let gel dry...

  • Flipturn
    5 minutes ago

    I imagine that the adherence of the top coat applications would depend on the fibre content of the material used.

    Did you use 100% cotton pillow case fabric?

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