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Make a collaged scrapbook-style pillow

NYC-based Allison Galland served as SheKnows.com's fabulously creative Crafts and Scrapbooking blogger.

Pillow craft, scrapbook style

If you're looking for a gift that's creative, crafty, useful and unique, check out this easy guide to making a personalized pillow, scrapbook-style!

Collage pillow

As a surprise for my roommate, Susan, I made what I call a "collage pillow." Taking fabric scraps that came from various other craft projects and old clothing and linens, I created a cushion cover that fits into Susan's "shabby chic" bedroom decor.

This project, while worked entirely in fabric, utilized so many scrapbooking skills!

Pillow step-by-step

Here's what I did:

1) Picture it

I first decided on a central image. I had a photo Susan emailed to me once -- it is a vintage postcard of a house that used to be in her family, and is very special to her. Also, since it was an old postcard, the image had a cool retro feel to it.

2) Print it

Using ink-jet printable iron-on transfer paper, I printed the image into a size I liked. (Remember: when using iron-on ink-jet transfer paper, follow the directions from the package -- you will need to reverse the image before printing!)

3) Iron it

After printing, I ironed the image on to a piece of white cotton (talk about recycling! I used an old, white tee shirt destined for the trash!) and cut it out (leaving a white border) with pinking shears.

4) Sew the body of the pillow

The pink, light green, and dark green fabric was machine-sewn together to form one square, and the back is a solid color. The lavender fabric that you see surrounding the picture is from a shirt I was ready to throw away. I used the decorative border that was already on the shirt as a design element!

5) Add the image

Using the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine, I sewed the white cotton (with house image) onto the lavender fabric. I tried to keep the lace edging of the shirt and the image parallel, then cut a rectangle out of the lavender shirt after the image was sewn on.

Then I hand-stitched the lavender rectangle to my larger pink and green square. I used a contrasting thread to do this, to give it that "shabby chic" feeling I was hoping for.

6) Give it some flair

Next came the very fun part: Embellishing the pillow! I used all sorts of objects on this cushion cover, just as one might embellish a scrapbook page. In this case, there are two silk flowers with buttons as centers. These are hand stitched on with contrasting thread. Colorful bottons form the flowers' centers. More buttons are used as accents, and a portion of one of Susan's broken earrings is even included. I hand-sewed in contrasting thread along the edges of my machine-stitched seams to keep that "handmade" look I liked.

Finally, because I thought the pink area was a little bland in the upper left, I stitched (freehand) a leaf in green thread.

7) Finishing it off

When the front of the pillow was completed, I sewed the front and back (right side together) on my sewing machine, leaving a slit to slide a pillow form into it. I turned it inside out, put in a pillow form, and it was done!

Now it's your turn!

I hope this example has shown you how you can take pre-existing scraps and things destined for the garbage can, and transform them into something fabulous! Susan really loved her gift (which magically appeared on her bed one day).

Making a pillow like this is a great way to showcase a special picture -- and your own creativity -- and would make a amazing present for a friend or someone in your family. They're sure to appreciate the personal touches only you can add! (In my case, Susan got a little misty-eyed!)  

Particularly with the help of your computer, collage and scrapbooking skills are not just for paper anymore: You can get as creative as you can imagine, and apply the same principles to any medium.

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