How to Make a Falling Leaves Pillow for Autumn

How to make a throw pillow cover with leaves made of felt.

The leaves on the trees here are still bright green and probably won’t start turning until October arrives. The only place that it is becoming fall-like is in my house. I made this Falling Leaves pillow to “autumnize” my favorite chair.

How to make a falling leaves pillow for fall decor using burlap and felt. Step by step photo tutorial

While at a home decor store I saw a pillow with rounded flaps of colorful fabric adorning the front.  It reminded me of a felt craft that I learned when I was a kid in Girls Scouts.


Was anyone else a Girl Scout when they were growing up?  I was from 2nd grade to 6th grade.


It was so much fun being part of this all girl group. I loved acquiring badges, especially the creative ones – like Sewing, Dabbler, Drawing and Painting, and My Camera.  I wish I still had my sash filled with all of them, but have no idea what happened to it. I did find one of the handbooks pictured above at a yard sale. I bought it just to reminisce.


One of the craft projects we made were felt leaves that we layered with different colors of felt.  We made Christmas ornaments using the same technique.  I didn’t make a pillow with my leaves back then – we hung them from a wire hanger with yarn to make a falling leaves mobile.

Once it was hung the breeze would make the felt leaves move – just like they were falling leaves. I know kinda of kiddie crafty, but fun to make nonetheless.

We used white glue back then to layer the felt, today we have such great products like Wonder Under and Heat N ‘Bond to neatly and easily fuse fabrics together.  These old craft ideas can  look modern and fresh with a tweak or two.   No wire hangers needed for this pillow project.

How to Make a Colorful Falling Leaves Throw Pillow

supplies needed:

  • Felt – in different colors
  • Heat N’ Bond Iron On Adhesive
  • Iron
  • Leaf Template  (Download below)
  • A piece of cardstock to print leaf pattern
  • Marking pen or marker
  • Scissors
  • Tiny nail scissors
  • Pillow form
  • Burlap
  • Brown Thread
  • Straight Pins

1.  Apply a piece of Heat N’ Bond to one side of each piece of felt you are going to use for the top part of each layered leaf.

2.  Download the template and print out on card stock.  If you don’t have card stock you can trace the leaves onto cardboard to make the templates.   Place the leaf patterns onto a piece of felt with the Heat N’ Bond on the underside. Trace with a marking pen.  Cut each leaf out right inside the lines.  Use tiny nail scissors to cut out the center stem on each leaf.

Falling leaves pillow making tutorial

Click on pattern below to download.

Autumn Leaves Pillow - Free Leaf Pattern to Download

3.  Once all of your leaves are cut out, remove the paper adhesive backing from each one and place on a coordinating piece of plain felt (no Heat N’Bond).  Keep them about 1/2 -inch apart.

Felt-Leaves to make a falling leaves pillow for autumn home decorating

4.  Cover with a piece of paper and press with an iron set on medium heat until the two pieces are fused. Let cool.

Tutorial on how to make a pillow for fall using burlap and felt

5.  Once cooled – cut each leaf out leaving about 1/4-inch of the bottom piece of felt all around the leaf.

How to attach felt appliques to a pillow.

6. To make pillow cover – measure your pillow width and length.  To figure out width – Lay pillow on fabric and bring width sides up to seam on pillow form – add 1-inch for seam allowance for each side.

To figure out the length you will need – wrap fabric around the pillow until it over laps at least 4-inches on the back. Add 5 more inches to that measurement.  Cut your fabric to this size.

This will give you one long piece of fabric.   Hem the short ends to create finished edges making sure you they are both folded over right side to wrong side of the fabric.

How to make a pillow for your autumn decor

7.  Lay your fabric right side up and find the section that will be the front center. To do this wrap the fabric around the pillow with the overlapped hems to the back . Mark the front section with pins.   I Photoshopped some lines on the photo to show you the front area on my fabric.

Burlap pillow tutorial

8.  Place leaves along these lines overlapping slightly. Some of the leaves can go past the line to create more of a flowing feeling to the leaves.

Burlap and felt pillow tutorial

9. Using light brown thread to sew the leaves to the burlap fabric along the cut-out stem center of each leaf.

How to make a pillow using felt appliques

10.  It will end up looking like this.

Fall pillow making tutorial

11.  Fold over the tips of the leaves along the edges and pin.  This will keep them clear when you sew up the side seams of the cover.

how to make felt appiliques for pillow
Burlap pillow to make for fall decor

12.  Fold over one side and then the other so you can sew side seams. Pin sides together.

Pillow-cover making tutorial using burlap

13.  Sew seam on each side. Remove pins and trim excess fabric along seams if necessary.

how to make a cover for a pillow form using fabric or burlap

14. Turn right side out and remove pins on folded over leaves.  Place pillow form in cover.

How to make a pillow for fall decor using burlap and felt. Step by step photo tutorial

You May Also Like These Fall Decorating Ideas

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  1. Michelle Mahler says:

    Can you scan the full page of the sewing badge requirements and send them to me? I want to revive this for our troop.

  2. WhyCuzICan says:

    Very expressive leaf pillow. Love the different layers of colors to make things POP, big time. Very nicely done, and your Tut is very well done overall :D

    Visiting from Centsational Girl’s Linky Party today {It’s Fall Y’All}
    Smiles and thanks for sharing,
    ~Suzanne in NW Illinois

  3. Make handmade says:

    This is great tutorial for fall. i love it so much, thanks for sharing

  4. What a fun fall pillow, great job!

  5. Oh so Fall! I love your pillow, and thanks again for all your help!

  6. right out the gate; immediately inspired!!! I can’t wait to try this with an old pillow;)

  7. You and your sis are too cute in your G.S. uniforms! I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout and we had so much fun. Our troop leader and her hubby were outdoor people and they took us on awesome camping trips all the time. I also still wish and I had my sash and handbook. I think I will check ebay for old handbooks.

    Gorgeous pillow Diane!

  8. abeachcottage says:

    That falling leaves pillow turned out really lovely, great colours :) Thanks for sharing at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  9. Katharine says:

    I love the pillow. I saw a similar project and yours seems easier. I love how you created a envelope pillow and explained how to size the fabric.

    I was in Girl Scouts one year, when I was in 6th grade. Unfortunately I was in my neighbor’s troop and she was only in 4th. It was bad enough not being their grade and not going to their school, but when it was time for me to move on I didn’t want to cause it would be a whole new group. I did Camp Fire Girls one year too. My daughter’s dad has everyone beat because he’s an Eagle Scout. One of our friend’s sons became and Eagle Scout and he got to stand up with him.

    Natalie did Girl Scouts in 4th grade and the troop leaders were so flaky that she and her friend didn’t want to do it more than one year. On top of that the girls were snooty. Since when are Girl Scouts snooty? lol. Of course her dad was upset about her quiting but we understood.

  10. Jessica H. says:

    I LOVE this pillow!! I might try this for fall in creams, whites, and orange!! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial. I found your wonderful blog through Transformation Thursdays!!


  11. Lynn @thevintagenest says:

    Diane, I am honored you added my kisses envelope favors to your DIY page. Thank you. This pillow is a fabulous tute with easy to follow and great photography. I am now a new follower and look forward to seeing you often. xo Lynn

  12. Sheryll & Critters. says:


    I got another fabulous idea from you. Remember the tied cloth strips you did for a valance? I forget which room you used them in…. but you went from all whited to the added green floral? I was thinking why not buy another yard of inexpensive white broadcloth and add these leaves to every other white strip for the season? If you did something simple like stapling them on and then changing them for Christmas with Poinsettia’s?

    You inspire me!

    I did post this for my friends on FB, I know at least two or three that will love your ideas. Okay, probably many more.

    1. Thanks so much Sheryll. I did that valance for but I do have a link in my sidebar to get to it.. The leaves would look nice hanging from the valance. You could make them two-sided, that is how I made them in Girl Scouts for my mobile. :) You could use a paper hole punch to make a hole in each one and tie to the rod with pretty fall ribbons that are different lengths. I have white drapes in my dining room and this would be a cute idea. I did the different colored ribbons tied to a spring rod for my daughter’s college dorm room window. It was simple, yet cheery and very easy to do. . The Dollar Tree now sells ribbons. Grosgrain and satin in different widths.

  13. This is super, I love it!

  14. Madigan at madiganmade says:

    Diane, what a pretty, layered effect you created with the leaves! So simple yet so lovely.
    The leaves have not started to turn yet outside… but I love making little changes in the home to make it ‘feel’ like fall is almost here.
    (BTW – I was a girl scout, too. I think I made it to a junior!)

    1. Thanks Madigan-

      I was a Brownie and a Junior. It was so much fun. We were a crafty bunch – we were always making things – like furniture dusters from yarn and wire coat hangers to give to our moms for Mother’s Day. Those wire coat hangers came in handy along with Leggs Eggs from the pantyhose.

      Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

  15. the artsygirl connection says:

    Super awesome Post.. Love it..Hello there.. I’m following ya officially from the inspiration board hop..Lovely blog you have here.Can’t wait to read more.. Hope you can stop by & visit me sometime / follow back.. TY So much.. Have a great week.Marilyn from

  16. I was a Brownie for two years, then my parents moved me to private Christian school. They didn’t do Girl Scouts. I was told that since I wasn’t at that old school, that I couldn’t go to that troop for Girl Scouts. (I know now that someone was probably lying, lol ) I remember being so disappointed that I would never be a Girl Scout!!! lol Oh well….. I really enjoyed your story AND the tutorial. I keep thinking that I am going to do something like this for autumn….maybe it will be this pillow! Thanks for sharing.:)

    1. Hi Lesley-

      I can understand your disappointment as it was fun to be part of it. Once I hit Junior High it was all over and after school sports took over the extra curricular activities department of my life. When I was deciding how I wanted to use the leaves, I thought about doing a burlap table runner for my dining room with them. I opted for the pillow as I would see it more in my family room – my dining room I rarely go into. A table runner would be very easy to make – just cut a length of burlap- sew the hems or just pull a few threads along them to create fringed edges and sew on the leaves. Easy, lots of color, and very fall-like.

  17. NanaDiana says:

    What a great tutorial. I was not in Scouts but my girls were when they were young and they loved it. I love the picture of you and your twin sister. You girls were darling! xo Diana

  18. They really look like fallen leaves and I like the dimensional look.

  19. Great idea! I think my daughter would love to make one of these…maybe I can get her to cut all the leaves :)

    1. Hi Stac-

      Cutting out the leaves is one of those projects that should be done while you are sitting watching TV. Makes it go faster. I mailed the planners out to the winners today. You should probably get it by the end of the week.

  20. Keeley McGuire says:

    this is so lovely! thanks for sharing!!

  21. Hello I clicked on your link from Home Stories of A to Z. I love this idea. Super cute!

    1. Thanks Renea – I am not the best sewer, but since the leaves are no sew and the rest was straight stitching I figured it would come out OK.

  22. Rachel Tatem says:

    What a neat idea!