How to Make a Cheap DIY Pillow Insert

So, I've mentioned before how overpriced I think throw pillows are. They don't do anything!! How can they be worth $20? My typical response to overpriced home products is to make my own... but have you searched pillow inserts on Amazon lately? The very cheapest ones start at $5 a piece. Between that, fabric, and embellishments, DIY throw pillows start to approach store-bought price, at which point, why are we DIYing it?

My solution? Use old throw pillows as pillow inserts. And if the old pillows aren't the right size, make DIY pillow inserts from the stuffing inside the old pillows! If you don't have any old pillows sitting around, check your favorite thrift store. They typically have a robust selection at reasonable prices; I typically pay between $0.50- $1.50 per throw pillow. It's easy, cheap, and looks great!

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

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DIY Pillow Insert: Materials
  • Scrap Fabric- I used leftover canvas dropcloths (from my couch recover) for the fabric of my DIY pillow insert. They were bleached, but that probably isn't necessary since the fabric will be covered up.
  • Old Pillows- As mentioned above, I grab mine from my favorite thrift store for $.50-$1.50 a piece.
  • Sewing Machine and Thread
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DIY Pillow Insert: Process
Step 1: Wash Old Pillow

Thrift store pillows are gross. Wash it. I even wash the ones that say dry clean only. Haven't had an issue yet.

Step 2: Cut Fabric

I made the length of my fabric 1"  more than what I wanted my finished pillow length to be. This is to account for the depth of the pillow after stuffing is added.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

The width of the pillow was two times the finished width of the pillow (plus an extra inch for depth.) This is because I'll fold the fabric over so there is one less side to sew.

Step 3: Fold and Pin Fabric

I folded the fabric in half, and pinned two sides in place using straight pins. It's unnecessary to pin the third side- it won't get sewn. That side needs to be open in order to stuff the pillow insert.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor
Step 3: Sew the Two Sides

I used a matching thread to sew the sides in place, although I suppose that's unnecessary since the insert won't be seen.

To sew the corner, simply lift up the presser foot and turn the fabric, leaving the needle embedded in the fabric. Lower the presser foot, and continue sewing as normal.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

Once I'd finished sewing, I turned the insert inside out, so that the stitches were on the inside of the DIY pillow insert. This step isn't really necessary, since the pillow insert won't be seen (and therefore the stitches could be on the outside,) but I did it anyway, so I thought I'd mention it.

Step 4: Stuff Pillow

Cut the old pillow open:

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

And transfer the fluff.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

I tend to break it apart with my fingers as I go so there aren't any huge lumps, but that's probably a preference thing!

How much you stuff the pillow insert is also probably a preference thing; I tend to over stuff my pillows! I did have some fluff leftover- I saved it for my next pillow!

Step 5: Pin and Sew Closed

I didn't want the loose threads to unravel, so I folded the edges in while I was pinning. Once again, this is probably unnecessary since the insert won't be seen.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

Then I shoved my pillow insert under the sewing machine, and sewed it shut.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

Sewing the stuffed pillow is a little tricky, but I use one hand to guide the fabric, and the other hand to compress the pillow near the needle. It works well enough.

Then I had a pillow insert!

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

I, of course, didn't leave it this way, but made a cover for it as well!

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

And yes, as you could probably guess, I have a preferred way to make a pillow cover. And secret tip? Search the fabric remnant section. Many decor fabrics can be found for a bargain, and there's typically enough fabric for a small pillow or two!

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

I made DIY pillow inserts for the pillows on my couch too! They look great as well! In this case, I used multiple pillows in order to create a larger pillow insert.

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

It's so easy to turn thrift store pillows into custom-sized pillow inserts! 10 minutes of effort, really! If you think you might want custom pillow inserts some day, go ahead and save this to post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Think throw pillows are expensive? Make your own with these easy and cheap DIY Pillow Inserts! #DIYDecor

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