How-To: Make a Pillow Without Polyfill


Who says you need petroleum-based polyfill to stuff a pillow? Not me!

I thrifted a very beautiful, mostly comfortable chair with a matching ottoman for my crafty studio. Unfortunately, this chair doesn’t offer the lower back support that I need, and after a few evenings nursing a sore back, it felt like time to do something about it! A rolled up blanket did the trick, but where’s the fun in that, right? That’s when I remembered that I’d been meaning to try making a pillow without using any polyfill to stuff it, and it felt like the perfect time to try it out.

So what are we going to stuff this pillow with, if polyfill’s out? Fabric scraps! Those teensy, tiny scraps of fabric that just won’t be useful for anything else. Before you do this project, you’ll need to start saving all of your tiniest fabric scraps and bits of thread that would normally go into the bin. It takes a lot more stuffing to fill a pillow than you’d think, so save up for a while. You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping your scraps in a well-sealed container, because you don’t want to delve into your stash only to find that there are bugs in there. Seriously, this happened to me, and it broke my heart to toss all of that saved up material.

I made the body of my back pillow out of a vintage valence, but plain ol’ fabric will work well, too. A valence is that short curtain that folks sometimes layer with a full sized curtain to add a touch of charm or maybe use in a high kitchen window that doesn’t need a full sized curtain. A friend gave me a bag full of vintage valences, and since I only had two windows that needed a dash of cute, the others have been languishing in a bag in my studio.

If you aren’t using a valence, don’t fret! You just need to finish the edges of your fabric with a 1″ seam before you start this tute. You could also use a vintage dish towel and save yourself some sewing!

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Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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  1. We made some of these years ago when my scraps were getting out of control! We called them brick pillows because the scraps make the pillows so much heavier than the polyfill.

  2. I’ve recently been making a quilt style blanket out of tshirts and after cutting those tshirts i wondered what i could do with all the scraps. This is the perfect DIY to use those scraps!

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