DIY French Grain Sack Pillow

DIY french grain sack pillow | www.thebudgetsocialite.com

I have all sorts of obsessions and one of them is with vintage french grain sack pillows. I love the worn look of the once ornate lettering and the earthy fabrics. But, if you know anything about authentic grain sacks, they are pricey – even reproduction can set you back $50 or more. As a DIYer and boaster of ‘Look at what I made’, I figured I need to make this myself. After scouring the Internet for stencils – even those can cost a lot – I found this super easy DIY transfer tutorial using a laserjet copy. For this project, I made a neck roll, but you can use this for anything.

What you’ll need to create your own DIY French grain sack pillow:

french grain sack DIY |  www.thebudgetsocialite.com

  1. Fabric – the tighter the weave, the better your transfer will come out. I used these blue stripe tea towels for $3.99 that I picked up at World Market. You can even use painter’s drop cloth (just wash it first to remove chemicals and smell).
  2. Laserjet copy – if you don’t have a laser printer, you can take it to your local library or office store to make photo copies, just make sure the designs are in reverse (you might have to try different machines as they don’t work on all).
  3. Inner pillow or cotton filling
  4. Paint brush
  5. Clary Sage essential oil (the original DIY called for Citra-solv Natural Cleaner & Degreaser)
  6. Masking or painter’s tape
  7. Iron
  8. Sewing machine or sew by hand
  9. Your design – Graphic’s Fairy has tons to choose from and she even set ups the reverse pdf for you too! This is the one I chose.

How you do it

How to French Grain Sack Pillow  |  www.thebudgetsocialite.com

  1. Print your design on copy paper – contact paper will be too thick.
  2. Place your design face down and tape the edges to secure in place.
  3. Dip your brush in the Clary Sage oil and brush directly onto the copy until you can read the letters clearly.
  4. Using the end of your brush, begin rubbing the paper to transfer the design to your fabric. I like to go in different directions to make sure it’s all rubbed through. But, if you want a more worn look, you can do it more haphazardly.
  5. Remove paper and love your transfer.
  6. Iron on hot (no steam) to evaporate the oil and set the ink to your fabric.
  7. I removed the hems before sewing the edges together.
  8. Put your filler pillow in the pillowcase and tie the edges with string. I literally used whatever I had lying around and cut really close so you can’t see it.

french grain sack pillow diy2006-01-01 13.12.37

That’s it! Are you ready to get your DIY French Grain Sack pillow on? Let us know in the comments.


Co-founder | Scarlett Rocourt
Scarlett creator of Wonder Curl is a Marketing Maven, DIY Diva & Glamour Girl! Her affinity for style, organization & discount designer shopping makes her a true Budget Socialite. Her flare for creativity allowed her to translate that into a career in marketing.

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  1. Tamsen Horton

    I love this! I am such a DIYer and I have a friend that would love this. Thank you for showing me how to do this. I am going to make her one for her birthday this year 🙂 Great details and pictures — I know I can do this!

    • Scarlett Rocourt

      It is one of the easiest transfer DIYs I’ve tried and it becomes addictive. Let me know how yours turns out for your friend.

  2. Melanie

    This is really quite pretty and smart. Thank you!

    • Scarlett Rocourt

      Thank you!

  3. Anne

    Wow, they look fantastic. I haven’t done any sewing for years but used to do loads. Might just need to dust off the sewing machine and get stitching.
    Anne recently posted..Does your Website Capture and Convert?My Profile

    • Scarlett Rocourt

      Thank you, I’m glad this served as an inspiration for you.

  4. Kristi

    Amazing tutorial and so crafty/creative! I’m pinning this one!!!

    • Scarlett Rocourt

      Thanks, Kristi

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