Decorative Pillow Covers That You Don’t Have to Buy

Before you buy expensive decorative pillow covers to change the look of a room, for the holidays or for different seasons, take a look at this fast and easy pillow cover idea that you can do on an existing throw pillow insert that doesn’t even require a zipper.

I have shared quite a few pillow cover ideas with you, but this by far is the easiest.

The cover uses a yard of fabric – any kind of fabric works, it doesn’t have to be decorator fabric, but any fabric that you like. You can even cut a festive holiday tablecloth in half that has stains on one side or an old drapery panel.

Read on to see how to change the look of a throw pillow in under 10 minutes, even with the optional added embellishment.

Olive green velvet toss pillow on a white sofa with tree bark colored cloth fabric next to it.

Back in September I posted this photo and told you I was going to sew a pillow cover using the bark colored fabric that is draped over one of the pillows.

Well, that never happened as I didn’t have the time to sit and sew a traditionally made pillow cover.

The Decorative Pillow Cover I Created Instead

Last week when my car was getting an oil change and I waited for it to be done in the auto shop waiting room, I overheard two women chatting about how they are going to decorate their homes for Christmas this year.

Cozy living room colors for fall decor

They got onto the topic of throw pillows. One had a closet full of them, but no longer liked the colors and styling. The other woman mentioned how she liked using pillow covers when she wanted a change, but that she was having a hard time finding ones that she liked that didn’t cost a lot.

This is when I raised my hand – I actually did, like I was in school because I knew the answer to their problem.

I quickly put my hand down and joined into the conversation to tell them that I was a DIY decorating blogger and have posted a handful of ideas on how you can make handmade pillow covers in a matter of minutes using anything that is made out of fabric.

They were intrigued as we chatted more about the subject. I opened my blog on my phone and showed them this pillow cover with cloth napkins bought inexpensively at HomeGoods. Then I showed them one made with a Velcro closure. All easy and no sewing machine needed.

Chatting about decorating and pillows with the two women made the wait for my car go by quickly and I think I got two more blog readers. :-)

After my chat with the two women, I thought I would show you in more detail how I used the fabric yardage to easily make a pillow cover that is not only removable, but that can be styled in two different ways.

Decorative pins to use to embellish throw pillow covers.

For this style of pillow cover, I used the popular “wrap a pillow method”, but didn’t knot the fabric to secure it, instead I folded and added a decorative pin to to the folded side that resembles an envelope style pillow.

This pillow wrapping idea is not new, but is one of the easiest ways to add a fun fabric print or color we like to our decor without much effort.

I also think we tend to forget about doable decorating ideas or hacks that will fill our needs, especially if they are for seasonal change – covering existing pillows this way makes a lot of sense.

Where to Find Fabric to Make a Wrap Cover for a Decorative Pillow

Fabric to make a pretty throw pillow cover doesn’t have to come from a fabric store. Good looking and unused fabric could be hidden away in a closet or drawer. So take a look around your house to see what you could use.

You need about a full yard of fabric to make the cover.

  • Blankets, table cloths, sheets, old drapery panels and shower curtains.
  • Fabric leftover from a previous project.
  • Large scarfs or pareos

How to Make a Decorative Throw Pillow Cover That Can Be Styled Two Ways

This pillow cover does double duty. One side is plain, the other looks like an envelope pillow cover, but instead of sewing the fabric, you wrap it around the pillow form.

supplies needed to make a decorative throw pillow in 5 minutes.

supplies needed:

  • Fabric- see amounts below
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Jewelry pin
  • Optional: Iron

Amount of Fabric Yardage Needed

These yardages do not have to exact. If your fabric is larger you will just need to fold over more fabric when arranging the fold overs and top flap.

  • 16″ x 16″ pillow – 32″ square of fabric
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow – 34″ square of fabric
  • 20″ x 20″ pillow – 40″ square of fabric

Time needed: 10 minutes

How to Make a Pillow Without a Sewing Machine

  1. Center Pillow on Fabric

    Press fabric with an iron if needed, then lay out on work surface so corners are vertically in line in front of you.

    Place pillow in center as shown below.

    Pillow insert on a square of fabric.

  2. Start Folding Fabric

    Begin to fold one side of the fabric over the top of the pillow form, then fold the opposite side. Smooth with your hands.

    Repeat on the other side. Fabric will overlap. Fold the top piece last as this will become the flap. If it isn’t centered, adjust or wrap again.

    Folding steps to create a decorative cover for a square throw pillow

  3. Once Folded

    It will look like this.

    How to fold fabric over a pillow insert to make a decorative pillow.

  4. Fold Raw Edges

    Using your fingers, fold the raw edges of fabric under on each flap about an inch.

    raw edge on fabric wrapped pillow

  5. Smooth Folds

    Press folds with your fingers to smooth or press with an iron to help folded raw edges have a crease so they stay in place.

    Folded edges of fabric on no sew envelope pillow.

  6. Pin the Top Flap

    Since some decorative pins are old like I used, the pin may not be strong or long enough to attach. If this is the case, you may want to use a large safety pin, then attach the decorative pin over it. Place the pin about an inch up from the point on the fabric flap and the fabric under it.

    close up of safety pin closure on pillow

  7. Add a Decorative Jewelry Pin

    Place the pretty pin right on the pointed tip of the fabric flap.

    Rhinestone pin that secures a decorative throw pillow on a pillow.

  8. Place Pin

    Or you can also place the pin about an inch up from the point. Another option depending on the style of your pin, is to fold the point under to square it off. See video below.

    close up of a no zipper pillow cover to make with a pretty pin embellishment.

  9. Flip Over

    You can decide what side to use as the front of the pillow cover you make. Plain or pinned flap side.

    Plain side of no zipper pillow cover on a sofa.

  10. Change the Pins

    Using different sizes and colors of pins will change the look of the flap side of the pillow.

    3 pretty pins on pillow cover flap.

decorative pillow on sofa with pretty pin in center

I changed the pin on my pillow after finding a silver Christmas wreath pin at a thrift store I went to after my car was finished at the shop.

After the holidays, I will change it to one of my other pretty pins.

Video: See How I Make the Pillow Cover

This no stitch needed method is not just for making a DIY pillow covers for your home’s decor.

You can also create square cushion covers for chairs using the same technique.

If you would like to cover rectangular cushions on a couch, you can make them following this cushion covering tutorial.

You May Also Like:

Make it Removable Pillow Cover without a sewing machine.

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  1. Rebecca Platt says:

    I’ve done this often. One correction. The finished pillow is wrapped differently than the pillow in the directions. Either one is great though. Thanks for your great blog. It’’s the only one I follow now. Blessings

  2. Paula Wooten Schreiner says:

    I love this idea. So quick and easy! Especially when you want to change it back for all the holidays.

  3. Love this no-sew idea! I think I can do this. So nice of you to join in the ladies conversation at the oil change shop. We were down in Myrtle Beach last week and I just loved the Southern hospitality. Everyone was so nice!!

  4. Christine says:

    I have a large red with white cross-stitch tablecloth lovingly made a long time ago by my aunt. Sadly it got a bad stain in one area a few years ago, but I decided to keep it.
    Seeing your post makes me happy that I will be able make and display her handiwork once again as beautiful pillow covers!
    Thank you:)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Christine – The cross-stitch table cloth will make one very “happy for you to see” as well as beautiful pillow cover for your home. The best kind o decorating – pretty and heartfelt.

  5. Another awesome solution!! Can’t wait to get out my brooches!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Lynn – I have many brooches that I used to buy all the time at flea markets and thrift stores. They are all so pretty – it makes me happy to find a way to use them. Have fun decorating with yours.

  6. Another brilliant idea!

    1. A good reminder of an old favorite. These days everyone needs to save money in any wat they can.

  7. I like how, as a bonus, the fabric ends up being on the bias, so you get the diagonal lines of the bark fabric. Much more dynamic than if it were straight across!

  8. Omg so good never thought of this, soooo easy makes so much sense! Thankyou for sharing, pillows take up so much storage this ideal is wonderful
    Thankyou, thankyou

  9. OMG, that green brooch…..a blast from the past. How long have you had that?