DIY Nautical Pillow Cover with Heat Transfer Vinyl

A few months ago, I became obsessed with pillows. I love how they can totally change the look of the couch/bed and add such a fun pop of colour or pattern to the room. On Boxing Day I bought some plain blue pillows with the intention of putting something on them, I just wasn’t sure what. I finally figured out what I wanted last week so I sat down and designed my pillow:

DIY Nautical Pillow Cover with Heat Transfer Vinyl
Feel free to save this image + use (for personal use only) for your own pillows/decor!

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Since it’s such a simple design I was going to go with my tried + true method of a freezer paper stencil, but I had some Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) left over from a previous failed project so I thought I would give it a try. I don’t have a heat press (but you can win one below!) and have heard they are infinitely better for HTV, but I stuck with the ‘ol iron (very old, actually- it has been my mom’s iron for years but I ‘borrowed’ it when I moved out).

When using HTV, you need to make sure you remember to mirror your design and place the vinyl shiny side DOWN on your mat. I’m by no means an expert at HTV, so I won’t go into the specifics of how to do it. I followed this tutorial and there are tons of others out there as well! Maybe once I experiment some more and actually feel comfortable with HTV, I’ll share some secrets.

DIY Nautical Pillow Cover with Heat Transfer Vinyl

You can see that it’s mirrored, so when you place it on the fabric (with the shiny side UP now) it is the right way. In some designs it may not matter but if you are using text like I am, it will make everything wrong and waste a whole lot of HTV (that stuff isn’t cheap!). I made my design 12×12 despite the pillow being 17×17 because I didn’t want the design to get warped by the edges of the pillow when it was all fluffed out. I centered my design on the pillowcase, placed a cotton hand towel over the design, and started pressing.

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This was my least favourite part, partially because I am a weakling so it took a lot of pressure and also because I somehow hurt my arm while carrying groceries up the stairs on the weekend. I am a firm believer in only making one trip and I’m paying for that now with pain in my shoulder whenever I so much as lift my arm. Pressing so hard on the iron did not feel good! This is definitely where a heat press would come in handy.

After a few minutes of pressing (I had to go section by section due to the size of my iron), I slowly peeled off the backing and voila! A DIY Nautical Pillow Cover of my own.

DIY Nautical Pillow Cover with Heat Transfer Vinyl

I love how my DIY nautical pillow cover turned out! A little more difficult than using a freezer paper stencil, but the lines are definitely crisper than you might get with a stencil. For a simple design like this in the future, I will probably stick to freezer paper stencils.

Have you ever used HTV, or made your own stencil with freezer paper?

xo, Meredith from The Designer DIY


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