Hi! My daughter and I did a unique project together two weeks ago. We made DIY Tie Dye Pillows! 

It was fun and an excellent craft for kids because you can’t mess it up. Although it is “messy.” 

Seeing your finished work when you unwrap everything to reveal your unique designs is a lot of fun. We decided that these would make awesome tie-dye pillows for her room. It will serve as a nice little memento of one of our little projects together. 

I’ll go through the steps with you!

It’s funny how this project started because I thought I would end up with tie-dyed tea towels. But the pillow idea is so much more excellent, and they go with the overall decor of her room better than our kitchen. They would kind of clash in our kitchen.

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.

I found this neat little tie-dye kit on Amazon a while back. I found it hiding in the back of my craft stash. I tend to do that. I buy stuff for craft projects and never get around to them until months later. Am I the only one?

Anyways, I love this tie-dye kit! They give you everything (rubber bands and gloves, too), plus additional powder dye if you want to do a second project. 

They also give you an info sheet on how to wrap your fabric for different looks. We ended up dying about four tea towels and a bunch of white cotton napkins. The napkins didn’t turn out. Good thing they were bought cheap and in bulk! I only ended up making three pillows.

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

We used these cotton flour sack tea towels. I love.these.tea.towels. They have excellent fabric quality to them. They are big. They get softer with each wash. Oh yeah, and they do a great job at tea toweling. 🙂  We use them to dry dishes, wipe the counters, etc. I’ve even used them to dust furniture. I bought the natural color, but I think I will wear white next time. I think they are good value for the money. And they soak up dye like a champ!

This was my first time tie-dying since grade school, maybe? I don’t know, but it’s been a while. I forgot how much fun it is. And how messy it is. And that you can’t mess it up. You can say – “I meant the design to be like that.”

The tie-dye kit comes with these little squeeze bottles for the dye. You don’t have to use them, but we did. My daughter wanted to make “shapes” with it. You can’t make shapes. It will just end up looking like a giant stain. Just an FYI. (But we meant it to be like that!)

Things you’ll need

  • Pre-washed Cotton Fabric (or tea towels as we did). I only used the dyed tea towels for the front of the pillow. I used just plain white cotton fabric for the back.
  • Tie-Dye (like this fun kit here)
  • Sewing Machine, Thread, and scissors to make the pillows
  • Optional but so much fun – pom-poms and fringe. (I used this pom trim and this fringe.)
  • Optional but also fun – clothespins like these to make different designs.

DIY TIE DYE Pillows Tutorial

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

How to Make Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

Total time: 1 day and 30 minutes

  1. Tie-Dye Fabric

    Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

    Since the dye instructions may differ for each brand of dye, I won’t walk you through the actual dyeing steps. 

    I followed the instructions on the back of my tie-dye kit. My dye kit said to start with the pre-washed fabric. We also dyed them with dry towels. Some dyes call for rinsing the fabric first. To see how we got each different look, see the section called Tie Dye Folds in this post.

    The instructions for my kit said to wrap the fabric in plastic after we were done dyeing and allow it to sit for 6-8 hours or overnight. We left ours go overnight. The longer you let it sit, the more intense the colors. Afterward, you rinse your fabric with water until it runs clear. Then, wash and dry, and you are ready to sew them up.

  2. Sew Pillow Covers

    Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

    After our fabric was dry, I just made simple envelope pillow covers out of them. I add the pom-pom trim to the middle of the material a little extra step, but you don’t need to do this.

    Sewing has become much more efficient since I got this rotary cutter and mat. I just lay my pillow down and cut the fabric around it. 

    I have a super simple tutorial on making envelope pillow covers.

    I like my pillow forms to be snug. So I cut the front piece to be the same size as my pillow form. I cut the back piece like my front piece – plus 8 inches longer. Then I cut this piece in half. I then sewed a 1-inch seam down on each of the back pieces. Then, I lined everything up so the back pieces overlapped and sewed a simple seam around the pillow.

    After that, you flip your pillow right side out and insert your pillow form.

Tie-dye Folds for Fabric

I will show you the folds we did to get the different patterns.

For the swirl look, I laid the tea towel out flat and twisted it around from the middle. I kept turning until it was in a compact ball. Then I rubber banded it a few times. We applied the dye in between the rubber band sections. We used a combination of blue, red, and purple hues.

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows
Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows
DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor. This is swirl technique!

I only did fold the towel into a small square for this next one. I applied the dye just on the four edges of the square. We only used purple dye here.

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows
DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor. This is the simple square fold technique

For this look, I folded the towel into a triangle shape. Then I stuck a few clothespins around the edges. I only used the blue dye for this one.

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows
DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor. This look can be achieved by folding in a triangle and adding clothespins.

For this last one, we didn’t create any folds. My daughter tried to make shapes, like hearts and a house. (She is so cute!) Unfortunately, some of the dye bled into other areas, showing light purple and pink throughout.

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.

As I said, it is pretty messy. So I would recommend doing this outside or in a stainless steel sink.

Adding a pom-pom trim

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor. Add some pom poms too!

My one pillow has a pom-pom trim all the way around. It’s so easy to add. This is how I do it.

I measured and cut the pom-pom trim to fit the four sides. I pin the trim to each side of the fabric (right side facing up), ensuring the pom-poms meet towards the center.

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.

Then I sewed each trim all the way around. If you don’t want the trim part to show, sew as close to the poms as possible.

So now you take your two back pieces and line them up on top of your front piece. Right sides together (so you will see the ugly seam side of your back pieces). The pom-pom trim will be in the middle., like a sandwich.

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.

Adding fringe trim to the front

I was perusing  Pinterest the other day and, of course, pinned a million things. One of them was this fringy, boho-looking pillow from Urban Outfitters. It has a little embroidery and fringe trim on the front piece of the pillow.

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor. Add some fringes to create a boho vibe.

I thought – I could DIY this!

So this was my attempt at a knock-off. With a tie-dyed fabric. And fringe trim. And small pink pom-poms instead of embroidery.

This is so easy because you line up your trims on the front. Get everything the way you want it to look. Pin it so it stays. Then sew it.

Then go through the rest of the abovementioned steps to finish your pillow. Just remember to sew with RIGHT SIDES facing each other (your fringe will be on the inside as you sew).

DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.
DIY Tie-Dye Pillows! This is a fun project to add a pop of color to your pillow decor.

For more projects using fabric dyes, Check out my shibori-dyed napkins.

Thanks for reading, everyone! And have fun! This is an excellent project with the kiddos.

xo Karen

Colorful DIY Tie Dye Pillows

Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the founder, editor and syndicated content writer of www.decorhint.com. She offers hints of inspiration for everyday living, including home ideas, DIY projects and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared on Google News, MSN, Pioneer Woman, Apartment Therapy, and Bustle, among others.