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A really fun summer art project for kidsHow fantastic are these kid made pillows?  Can you believe they were made by five year olds. For real, 5 year olds.  Each one is sweeter than the next.  I just love them.  I’ve made a few pillows with kids before, like these fabric resist pillows that are perfect for Father’s Day, and these no sew veggie print pillows.  These painted pillows may be my favorite though.  I just love the vibrant colors and the way each one reflects the style of the artist that made them.

A really fun summer art project for kidsHere’s what you’ll need to give these a try which I really hope you do because they are really awesome.


canvas fabric – you can buy it by the yard at any fabric store.  Our pillows range in size but on average are about 8×10.  The canvas is a medium to heavy weight.

batting (pillow stuffing) – you have some choices.  you can try polyester batting or cotton batting, both found at the fabric store.

fabric paint – there are a lot of choices for fabric paint.  We used a combo of Colorations and Tulip fabric paint

paint brushes

A needle and thread OR a high temp glue gun (adults only) and skip the sewing all together.  You can use a low temp one with the kids but it may not hold the fabric as well.

A really fun summer art project for kidsSteps

1.  Cut a piece of canvas about 8×10 or your desired size and lay it on the table. Make sure you line your working table with craft paper or a plastic tablecloth or something.  If you can do this outside, I’d recommend it.  The paint can be messy.  I was definitely going around with a paper towel dabbing up any accidents.

2.  Design Time – You can plan your design out on a piece of paper first or just go for it.  I did a little demo with some different paints in front of my art class students.  Some of the paints we used were puffy paint so I wanted to show the difference between those and the regular ones.  I also talked about “a little dab will do ya.”  My go to song for paint and glue that we all sing so they don’t use too much.  We actually applied the paint right on the fabric as opposed to putting it in a paint dish.  It just seemed easier and worked really well for us.

A really fun summer art project for kidsI had water in little bowls for brush cleaning and a lot of paper towels, like aI said.  Since this is fabric paint, it will stain your clothes, so make sure you have a smock on if you’re concerned.

All the girls in class loved using the bright colors to create their pillows.  We talked about the difference between decorative pillows and sleeping pillows.  This paint will dry a little hard so it’s not a sleeping pillow, but it definitely will look great sitting on a bed!

A really fun summer art project for kidsThe girls worked diligently painting their pillows.  Each one had their own plan and no two pillows looked the same.

Once everyone was finished painting we set our fabric to dry overnight.  We meet once a week so this was part one of a two part art class.

3.  When your fabric is completely dry you’re going to cut a second piece of canvas the same size as the painted one.  This is going to be the back.  Place the two pieces on top of each other with the painted side facing inward.

A really fun summer art project for kids4.  It’s time to sew.  For this group it was their first time sewing.  We had a talk first about some activities being super easy and some being really challenging.  We decided that it was often the challenging things that we felt the most proud of.  This was a great intro to sewing.  It’s not always easy for kids so I felt like I needed to prep them.

I drew a line in marker about an nice from the edge along three sides to help them sew in and out along the line.  We practiced for a while but then the girls needed a break.  Good thing I had a plan B!  We worked on something else and I told the girls we would continue sewing the following week.  The interesting thing was the next week when they returned, everyone was really fired up about their pillows.  They couldn’t wait to start sewing.  Again, we practiced going in and out on three sides of the fabric.  The stitches were by no means perfect, but it wasn’t about that.  These girls were sewing and they were really excited about it!

A really fun summer art project for kids5.  Once you have three sides sewn, it’s time to stuff the pillows.  Turn the fabric inside out so that the painted side is now showing. I stitched up any big gaps that the girls had left before turning the fabric inside out.  Then we jammed some cotton batting in there until each pillow was really fluffy.

6.  You can either stitch the last side up by folding the ends inward and sewing or fold the ends in and glue gun them together.  That’s what we did/I did.  We were short on time and the girls were super pumped to take their pillows home.  They were soooo excited about them.

A really fun summer art project for kidsAnd that’s how we made our amazing painted pillows! These pillows make a fantastic gift, especially with Father’s Day coming up.  Go for it! Thanks for reading along everyone and happy painting.  xo Meri

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