DIY: Custom Cushions

Cushions maketh the couch… and bed. For our easy cushion DIY, here are five easy do-it-yourself ideas for transforming an off-the-shelf cushion into a one-of-a-kind gem. Cushions really work their magic when you combine different flavours, within a common theme; a couple of simple ones, a unique shape, some with texture and a stand-out that shouts ‘wow’ using a variety of fabrics and textures. You could mix and match these ideas, curate a full couch or pick one to adorn your favourite chair.


Add a stitched shape to the front of your cushion – be it across, square or zig-zag – straight-line shapes are most effective. This treatment works best with a thread colour that contrasts the base fabric. You will need a sewing machine, thread and fabric chalk. How to: Mark your shape with fabric chalk. Sew the lines (We sewed several lines close together to create the impact of a wider stitch).


This is a useful way to use up scrap fabric, or you can buy fringing from stores such as Spotlight. We created our fringe using the selvedge edge from a length of fabric. You will need enough length of fabric or fringing, to wrap around the circumference of your cushion. Sewing machine, thread and pins. (Hand-sew works fine too if you don’t have access to a machine). How to: Cut your fringing to length, pin, and sew to attach. (We added each of the four sides of fringing separately, overlaid in one direction on each corner)


You can get really crazy and make your own pom-poms (I remember making these back in school! You’ll find plenty of tutorials online) or buy a ready-made one. (There are lots of choices, my daughter has quite a collection of those fluffy ones that come attached to key-rings!) You will need pom-poms, needle and thread. How to: Choose where you want to feature your pom-pom. (Who says it has to be in the middle, and you could add as many as you want,) and secure it with thread. (We also created our own flange on this cushion by sewing a line around the circumference, 15cm in from the edge of the cushion.


We found this decoration the most fun. It also took the most concentration. You will need a large square of cardboard to fit inside the cushion. Paint (we used Resene test pots for their variety of colours and affordability – you can order them online! However, these aren’t designed specifically for fabric so be mindful they may fade over time or with a wash). Brushes – an angled brush works well to get a defined edge and a mop brush is useful for covering large areas. How to: Lay your cushion cover on a flat surface. Place a piece of cardboard inside your inner (to stop the paint reaching the other side). Mark your design with fabric chalk if you wish, and paint away. (We pre-marked the edge of our large circle and free-handed the smaller shapes). Leave to dry for 24 hours.


The options with embroidery are endless only to your imagination and colour of thread. You will need embroidery thread and needle. How to: Design your pattern and mark with fabric chalk, or free-form it. We chose to embroider a cushion that already had distinct lines, giving us a base design to work with. And, embroidering part of the cushion produced a subtle, delicate change.


The easiest DIY ever. Simply find one (or many) cool badges and attach to your cushion. The best part about this embellishment is its’ impermanence.


Written, Styled + Photographed by Kate Alexander

Gather Magazine Digital


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