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I love snuggling down at home to read a book, watch a movie, or solve a sudoku. This is why I have a lot of tutorials for making pillows on this blog. So it was only natural for me to sew DIY pillow bed for my kids for the first time about nine years ago. I then made a bunch more for pretty much every other kid we had anything to do with.
I’m sure you’ve seen these on Pinterest. It’s basically a big piece of fabric with slots for pillows to make it into a sort of bed to use on the floor.
But what’s super awesome about these floor pillow beds is that you can fold them, stacking the pillows on top of each other to make it higher in some parts. See how our friends’ son has his shoulders and head propped up in the photo above?
And before I even get started, let me dispel three myths:
- You can only use them on the floor. Incorrect! We’ve also used them as a bed headboard to lean on or as extra cushioning on the sofa. They’re also great for sleepovers when you don’t have enough beds. Just snuggle up on it with a blanket! You can click here to see different ways my children use their pillow bed in the original (very dated) post I wrote about these years ago.
- Only children will use these. No way! I use ours all the time, as do all the other parents of kids we’ve gifted these to!
- Floor pillow beds are expensive. Maybe if you buy one, but not if you make them with an old sheet or duvet cover! Pop some cheap Ikea pillows in them, and you’ve got a fabulous repurposed handmade gift!
Right, so are you ready to make your own DIY pillow bed? Let’s get started!
Materials for sewing a DIY pillow bed
- Large piece of woven fabric or upcycled bed sheet or duvet cover. See “Calculate the fabric size” below to find out exactly what size fabric you need.
- 4 standard sized bed pillows. I used 50 x 80 cm (20 x 32″) Ikea pillows.
- Fabric shears*
- Long ruler (I used my quilter’s ruler*)
- Tailor’s chalk (I used my chalk powder roller*)
- Straight pins*
- Matching thread*
- About 16 snaps. I used a snap press*, but you can also use sew-on snaps*.
Calculate the fabric size
You need to cut the fabric according to your pillow size. Like I said, I used four pillows 80 cm wide and 50 cm high. Just substitute the numbers in red above with your numbers. The numbers in [brackets] are my specific calculations. I use metric, but feel free to use inches.
For the length, calculate pillow height x 4, plus two times the seam allowance. I’m using a 1 cm seam allowance.
For the width, calculate pillow length x 2 (so it can wrap around on both sides), plus four times the seam allowance.
How to make a pillow bed for the floor
- Cut the fabric according to the calculations made above. If you’re using a bedsheet, try to recuperate at least one of the hems on the long sides. In this case, calculate the width WITHOUT seam allowance.
Note: It was hard to photograph the steps of this tutorial due to the large size of the fabric, so I made some simple graphics (like what I use in my sewing patterns) to illustrate the steps. Use the key above to understand the following diagrams better. White is the right side of the fabric, whereas grey is the wrong side that will get hidden.
2. With wrong side up, fold over each long edge by your seam allowance (in my case, 1 cm), press well, fold and press another time the same amount, and sew down.
(Skip step 2 if you’re reusing existing hems in a sheet.)
3. Fold the fabric in half, right sides facing, matching up the two hemmed long edges. Pin around the three open edges.
4. Sew down each short side, from the open end towards the fold, with a 1 cm seam allowance (or whatever seam allowance you calculated with). Then sew a zig-zag stitch along or overlock the raw edges on the short sides to keep them from fraying.
5. Remove the pins and turn the fabric right side out. Iron the fabric flat, making sure that the long edges match up.
6. Fold the fabric rectangle in half, matching up the short edges. Place pins in the fold as shown above. These mark the center of the length.
7. Open up the fabric rectangle again, leaving the center pins in place.
8. Fold each short end inwards so that they meet at the center pins. Place pins in the two new folds (shown by the red arrows above).
9. Open up the fabric rectangle. There are now three sets of pins marking the rectangle into four equal rectangles.
10. Use a ruler and chalk to draw lines straight down between each set of pins. I suggest adding some more pins in the center to help keep the layers together.
10. Sew along the three chalk lines, from the open edges towards the fold.
11. Add four sets of snaps along the hemmed edges in each section. Mine are about 10 cm apart. In the photo above you can see one of the end sections. The red arrow shows the stitching.
The photo above shows what the stitched lines look like.
Now slip a pillow into each of the four openings, and snap them shut!
Toss your new DIY pillow bed on the floor and lie down on it. So comfortable for playing or relaxing!
Or fold it up and put it in a gift bag with four pillows. A DIY pillow bed makes a wonderful handmade gift for kids AND adults!
If you’re a beginner sewist, check out my FREE Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course, where you’ll learn all the basics of machine sewing with simple lessons and fun practical tutorials!
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