Doodle Pillow Tutorial

on February 18 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 142 Comments

Alisa Burke is a mixed-media artist, painter, designer and creative spirit. Alisa often works with canvas and has a popular book, Canvas Remix: Techniques For Creating Mixed-Media Accessories. She shares lots of wonderful tutorials, and glimpses into her creative process and her art at Alisa Burke. Today we’re so lucky to have Alisa here, showing us how to create one of a kind fabric doodle pillows. We hope Alisa’s tutorial will inspire you to create a doodle pillow of your own!

I love making my own of a kind fabric and one of the easiest ways to create a colorful surface is to use simple doodles and drawings to fill a surface. I used some of my fabric to create a simple doodle pillow.


  • 1 yard of white cotton broadcloth or muslin
  • Fabric markers
  • One step dye or fabric paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Colorful thread
  • Quilt batting- cut to size of pillow for front and back
  • Stuffing or pillow form

I started by drawing and doodling all over the surface with fabric markers.

I added simple shapes, scribbles and marks. I used different colors and challenged myself not to worry about perfection.

Next I used a one step dye to add more color in between the doodles and designs. Fabric paint would also work.

I filled the entire surface doodles and color and let dry.

I heat set the fabric and washed it. (Depending on brand and manufacturer, the heat setting process and washing guidelines could vary.)

I cut my fabric into two pieces measuring 10″ x 12″. I also cut out two pieces of quilt batting to to back each piece. Size and shape can be adjusted.

Using colorful thread I used free motion stitching to doodle and draw right over the top of my fabric. You could use a free motion sewing foot or even a darning foot for this process.

I traced over my doodles and even added expressive and wild stitching with my machine.

Last, I sewed the front and back together with right sides facing each other. I left an opening, stuffed and then sewed the opening closed.

The result is a really fun, whimsical pillow full of color, texture and layers!

Enter our Pillow Contest! Create a pillow this month and enter to win some fabulous prizes.

You can also comment on any post this week for your chance to win one of these great prizes below, courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

1 fat quarter pack of Betty Dear, 5 Kona Cotton color cards, 1 fat quarter pack of Night & Day in the Summer Colorstory, 10 sets of 5 Kona charm packs

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142 Responses to Doodle Pillow Tutorial

  1. Carrie says:

    Once again Alisa…amazing! Love this project, thanks for the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Brenda C. says:

    I’m going to have my 12 year old doodle and I’ll selfishly paint it :).
    I really like this project!

  3. Kirsten A says:

    Wow! It looks like the coolest designer fabric ever! I might just add that to my “try out”-list!

    Kirsten in Oslo

  4. Margaret says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this project. My daughter and I will making these this summer.

  5. Jacque says:

    This is something that would be great fun with the kids!

  6. WandaFish says:

    What fun! Very inspiring, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Rosa in the Antipodes says:

    I love it! Just brilliant!

  8. Suzy says:

    Amazing talent!

  9. Joy says:

    Love it…thanks for the tutorial!

  10. monica says:

    Now, that is some free motion quilting I might be able to do! Love that idea.

  11. Marcia W. says:

    This looks like a fun project for tweens.

  12. Ramona says:

    quite unique

  13. Rebecca says:

    great tutorial.

  14. Rachel says:

    That pillow is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely going on my list of things to make.

  15. Madison says:

    This is awesome! Thanks so much for the tutorial… I think this is something I can try out with my daughter. She would have a blast!! Not to mention what an awesome keepsake it would be ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again!

  16. Mandy K Court says:

    Oh how lovely! I am going to have to do this with my girls!

  17. Tawney says:

    I was so inspired I made one of my own!! What I fab idea. Thanks =)

  18. Gail C says:

    This soooooooooooooo my type of pillow – I a ma doodler from way back but never thought of making my own fabric with my doodloing. Will definately be giving this pillow a go.



  19. karen says:

    This a beautiful piece of Art!

  20. se7en says:

    Oh so lovely and light and full of fun!!! Great idea!!!

  21. Carolyn says:

    Love the doodle pillow!

  22. Diane S. says:

    This is a great pillow-thanks for showing us!

  23. Sherry Book says:

    WOW…this is the coolest pillow ever…all my practicing doodles while on the phone has led up to this! Will have to look for some fabric markers to make one….and will pass this idea on to my artsy daughter as well. Thanks for a great project idea!

  24. Kathleen P says:

    wow. Mine would not look that good.

  25. Colette says:

    wow! what an amazing process! thanks for sharing.

  26. Kate says:

    I love this idea!

  27. Nancy says:

    This is my fave so far, it is so unique and I absolutely love it! How inspiring!

  28. Sara says:

    Wow, what a creation!

  29. patricia says:

    I am so inspired. That is such a fantastic idea! Wow!

  30. Vanessa says:

    What a great idea! I have some fabric paint and markers, and this would definetely be a great way to use them!

  31. gena says:

    This is a very cute pillow. However, I’m a bit sad that every single pillow for inspiration this month has been a square pillow. I was hoping for unique ideas and shapes such as what A.M. Horner is doing with giant flower looking pillows, floor pillows, etc.
    I love your site though! Just searching for more than designs for the tops of couch pillows.

  32. priti says:

    book marked & I am SOO doing it!
    very creative indeed!

  33. Beth T says:

    Next time our niece and nephew are here overnight, I think we’ll be sending them home with original works of art. Thanks!

  34. Allisa says:

    super inspiring, thanks for this post! Now on my to-make list ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Connie Jagolinzer says:

    This looks like a fun project that my girls and I will enjoy trying. Thank you for posting this tutorial!

  36. Susan says:

    Interesting. This gives me lots of ideas of ways to use this process.

  37. Megan L says:

    OH MY I love this pillow. I love it I love it I love it.

  38. stacey says:

    i love this!! so creative! could be really great with kids!

  39. Ariane says:

    I love this idea!! It’s an easy way to make a design that is totally unique!! Love it!!!

  40. Maeve says:

    LOVE, love, love this pillow! The creative energy and the colorful design done so freely – it’s great! I’m going to give this technique a try.

  41. Sherry J says:

    this is an awesome pillow. quite a work of art. thanks

  42. Kate F. says:

    Love the paisley. When my sister & I were in elementary/middle school in the early ’90s, paisley was everywhere in the mall department stores. We loved it so much that we made up a song… “there’s pais-i-ley eve-er-ly where!” I never said we were cool.

  43. Jennifer Lewis says:

    That’s really cool, but my doodles do not look anythin like that. I though it was black and white printed fabric at first! It would be super fun for a kid to do.

  44. Maya says:

    Wow! That is a rockin’ pillow! Looks like a lot of fun to make.

  45. This is too cool and truly a piece of art.

  46. Barb in MI says:

    Wow, this one is different – love it!

  47. Laura Reich says:

    I think that would be so cute in a teenagers room.

  48. Erin Waters says:

    I love this pillow! Is it a giveaway?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Victoria says:

    LOVE this idea – I am going to try it with my Yeat 9 Textiles class as one of their projects – cant’ wait to see what they come up with!!!

  50. Rachel Locke says:

    Love this pillow!! I think this would be a fun project to do as a party project with my kids!! Everyone could design their own.
    Thanks for the great inspiration.

  51. Christine says:


  52. Valerie says:

    Really fun! I love all the detail in it and each pillow is unique!

  53. jennifer says:

    So fun

  54. Basteta says:

    This is one of the coolest pillows I’ve ever seen and what a great idea! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  55. Becky t says:

    I would have so much fun making a pillow like this. So cool

  56. Kelly says:

    This is definitely unique — It reminds me of graffiti –But in a good way!

  57. That is amazing–so beautiful and unique. Thanks for sharing!

  58. Catherine says:

    I have recently gotten very into painting on fabric…now I just need to add in the doodling. I love how funky this pillow is – – perfectly unique!

  59. Kara says:

    I am so in love with this pillow. I’m going to be purchasing a sewing machine, and this has inspired me. I took a nap this morning envisioning all the different things I could do with fabric and paint.

  60. Blossom says:

    That is one fantastic pillow – so artistic!

  61. Heidi Anderson says:

    So fun and inspiring. Beautiful work!

  62. Stephanie S says:

    Love this idea and what a fun pillow!

  63. JillB says:

    This is beautiful! I love Alisa’s work.

  64. Rachael says:

    completley love this pillow its so expressive

  65. marilyn podoll says:

    Alisa Burke has great ideas. So inspiring!!! Love her blog. I might try this Pillow.

  66. Helen says:

    Wow how wonderful. Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Fascinating technique — thanks for sharing the process with us.

  68. Ammie says:

    Yay! This is fabulous and fun.

  69. Tez says:

    Oh WOW! This is such a fabulous idea!
    I have used fabric markers and paint and even one step dye on tshirts with my art students. This is a whole new level and I’m dying *HA!* to try this with them.

  70. Andi says:

    What a fun idea! Thanks for the creative tutorial!

  71. Jessica says:

    I had a doodle bear when I was little that I loved. I so want a pillow like this.

  72. June S says:

    Wow. That is so cool, and a great way to personalize!

  73. Janell says:

    perfect project for my little grand daughter on the next sleepover. I will have her do the drawing and “color” ths fabric and then will finish it fir her. Great idea!

  74. Sarah says:

    Wow! That is really neat!

  75. Sarah says:

    I love this!
    It even fits the theme of my blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

  76. I would love to have my granddaughter help with making this pillow!

  77. Sarah J says:

    This is a really fun idea! Like you said, I would have to challenge myself not to be perfect on the design too. I think this pillow will look great on my 3 yr old’s new bed. Thanks.

  78. Brenda says:

    I think it would be fun to have the grand children each doodle a pillow top and I could add the color I would like.

  79. Sarah W. says:

    How beautiful and unique!

  80. Wendy D. P. says:

    Wow! So cool! It’s like a little piece of artwork!

  81. Gina.S says:

    Can’t wait to try this out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  82. CJ says:

    WOW! Thanks for the tutorial. That is such a cool pillow and I love how it all came together.

  83. Vally says:

    wow!great job!

  84. Jen says:

    Wow, that’s the coolest doodle I’ve ever seen. Wish I was that good of a draughtswoman!

  85. kathyh says:

    Totally rocks.

  86. Kelly Sas says:

    This is so incredibly amazing and inspiring…. but if I did this all I would see is ucky mistakes. I so want to give this a try… it would be so freeing for me!

  87. Joanne says:

    Wow – that’s one crazy pillow! Such a fun project for older kids.

  88. Nan says:

    this is very cool. Unfortunately, my doodle doesn’t come out as pretty as yours.

  89. Krystina says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! This is such an inspiring project!

  90. SewLindaAnn says:

    Love it! I think I’m going to make a piece of fabric into a matching pillow and lap quilt.

  91. Rebecca says:

    So fun! My girls would love this!

  92. Ellen says:

    I love the effect of the various techniques. You make it look so easy!

  93. Crystal says:

    I’ve never thought of making my own fabric! Very interesting and very colorful!

  94. Gill says:

    I love this!
    Thanks for a great tutorial

  95. Lynda says:

    This would be sooo great for a teenager! Thanks!!!

  96. Linda says:

    What an interesting concept, I have an artist daughter who would love this!

  97. Addy says:

    Wow!!!!! I absolutely love this!!!!!!!

  98. Jennifer says:

    That is such a cool technique! Great, fun pillow.

  99. Rita says:

    My artsy daughter would make a great pillow design like this!

    And I’d love to win a charm pack or set of fat quarters!

  100. RuRebo says:

    A real masterpiece! Great Work.

  101. Rita says:

    My daughter is so into art – she would make a beautiful pillow design!

    I would love to win a charm pack or a set of fat quarters!

  102. Cat says:

    This is such a great idea !! thanks

  103. Stephanie says:

    This is adorable! I looooove it! Thanks for sharing!

  104. sandy says:

    i could already see my kids letting their imagination go wild when we do this project! Thanks.

  105. Tonya says:

    Wow! So, much fun. I agree with the poster who said it would be a great project to do with kids. I may have to make one with my son.

  106. Sarah says:

    I love it! I need to find some of that fabric dye so I can do this.

  107. sharonj says:

    A great unique pillow! Thank you for the great tutorial!

  108. Leila says:

    How fun!! I must try this.

  109. alison says:

    Love the look of this pillow – so bright and cheerful!

  110. Tiffany says:

    I don’t know that I have it in me to paint my own fabric, but that is awesome.

  111. Margaret says:

    This is fabulous. I’m afraid if I tried it, it would look like a pre-schooler did it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  112. Rebecca says:

    amazing idea! Beautiful.

  113. Lotta Nilsson says:

    Love this tutorial! So inspiring! I’ll absoรƒยถutely give it a try.
    Lotta in Sweden

  114. Jacqueline says:

    This would be a great project for the kids to help with.

  115. elsa says:

    love it! totally inspiring ~ thanks so much for sharing it!

  116. Tong says:

    that’s quite an interesting pillow, would be a great project for little ones!

  117. Heather L says:

    Ok, that’s not really my style, but it’s so cute! I could totally see doing parts of this with my kids. Wish I had a free motion foot for my sewing machine…is there another way to do this? I’ll have to go google. =) Thanks for the morning cheer!

  118. Caren says:

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! I’ve been coloring on my sons t-shirts lately, and this will give me even more practice with those fabric markers!

  119. Katy says:

    Love this idea! My 6 year old son and I will have some fun making these pillows!!

  120. wow, this is so great! I wish I could do something like this and make it look so good!

  121. Kati M says:

    So fun!!!

  122. Seanna Lea says:

    That looks like a lot of fun! I will definitely have to try this one.

  123. Pepie says:

    that is fantastic ๐Ÿ™‚

  124. Brenda says:

    Very inspiring. I love this tutorial, colorful and easy to do. I have been wanting to paint on fabric to mix in with my quilting. Can’t wait to try this out. Thank you for sharing!

  125. Jan says:

    What a great idea! Love it!

  126. susan h says:

    wow – how fun would this be for the kids!

  127. Rohaise says:

    I love this! I want to make one right now!!

  128. Jen says:

    Such a cool idea! I love Alisa Burke’s designs!

  129. Great idea for making your own fabric. I will have to try this for some of my small stuffies I make.

  130. Selvedgeshop says:

    Love this!

  131. i love doodling!

  132. starjumper says:

    that’s really cool! i love the look of the bright red stitching!

  133. Anya says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  134. Kajsa says:

    Fantastic pillow! A piece of art!

  135. Kimberlee says:

    That’s gorgeous!!! What a creative and beautiful piece of art!

  136. Amanda says:

    Love it! That seems like a fun project to do with kids. The painting part anyway. Hm…. thinking of mother’s day gifts…

  137. Em says:

    Love this! I wish I had a darning foot though – my kids would go crazy making super cute pillows for me to quilt!

  138. Latrilla says:

    Very very original!! So cute and full of inspiration!

  139. Its_Lily says:

    Wow…this pillow rocks! Now I know what my next pillow is going to be. This will be fun to do with littles as well.

  140. Robyn says:

    that is amazing!

  141. Carmen says:

    *So* unique — thanks for posting this, SMS!

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