A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

The Holidays At Home – Burlap “Believe” Pillow


Happy December!!!  The countdown is really on now – we are busting out the Advent calendar this eve and the boys are pretty excited!   So ok now, let’s have it.  Who is already done with all of your holiday shopping (so I can be mildly jealous of your superior organizational skills)??  I usually try and shop throughout the year but that plan has been an Epic. Failure. this year so I really have some ground to make up.  We are really going to try and keep it simpler this year.  I’ll let you know how that works out.

This little project is super simple if you have a sewing machine.  Decorating with burlap has been all the rage this year in so many of the crafty posts I have read.  It’s cheap, shabby and rustic and you can make so many things that it’s no wonder so many people have been using it for so many holiday crafts!   I bought about 4 yards before we left for Thanksgiving.  It was $3.99/yard and I had a 50% off coupon so at $2 / yard… pretty inexpensive!

While being flexible and pretty simple to use, burlap is also a bit very messy – you definitely want to shake it out really well and get all of the little loose fibers out or your lint roller will become your best friend.  It also has a unique “burlappy” smell (Littlest declared it to be “stinky”) so I shook mine out really well and let it hang outside for a day which helped.

I had some leftover red cotton fabric but not enough to make a whole pillow so I decided to use some of the burlap on the front and the red on the back and it turned out pretty darn cute!

I am kind of a pillow freak so we actually have a bag of leftover throw pillows in the garage that I can’t part with and I used one of those (a 20″ pillow) for the insert on this easy-peasy project.

I started by cutting a 21″ x 21″ square of the burlap.  Then I cut both a 21″ x 16″ AND a 21″ x 7″ rectangle out of the red fabric.


Just like my “12 Days of Christmas” hand painted pillow, I am making a “sham style” cover.  These are so easy to take on and off so they are super easy to store in the off season.  I used my sewing machine to do a zig zag stitch on both of the red rectangles to prevent fraying.  For the burlap, because it is so “stringy”, I actually folded each side over by 1/2″ and did then did the zig zag stitch just to be safe.


I finished off one long side of each red rectangle with a standard , double folded one-stitch hem.


I then printed out the word “believe” and made my own stencil.  Obviously you can do whatever word you want (ie: Peace… Joy… Chocolate – you get the idea).  And you can, of course, buy letter stencils, and I actually have some, but I wanted larger letters for this size pillow.   Additionally, if you have a CriCut or Silhouette type machine (I will not be jealous… I will not be jealous..) that will cut letters for you, you will obviously save a little time there.  But it really only took me about 10 minutes or so to cut out the word.  Besides, with three kids I have all the time in the world, right?? 😉



I centered and taped the stencil in the middle of the burlap square and traced the letters with a thin sharpie.


Then I busted out some red fabric paint and got to painting.  Because there are so many tiny holes in burlap, make sure you place some newspaper down before painting.   Also, it took a few hours to really dry so a bit longer that when I was painting on duck cloth.



Once the paint was dry, I placed the burlap paint-side up and placed and pinned the larger red rectangle at the top finished side down (towards the paint).


Then I laid the smaller red rectangle at the bottom of the burlap (again, finished side down) so that the red fabric overlapped by a few inches and pinned all three together.


Sew the entire perimeter and turn right side out.  Insert your pillow into the cover and there you have it!


Instant rustic, burlappy cuteness.  It was almost too easy so I hope I don’t lose my “crafty card”!  🙂

Anyone else using burlap in DIY crafts or gifts this year?  As always, love to hear your comments and ideas!




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