Skip to Content

DIY Photo Pillows: Crafting Cozy Memories

Use pics and transfer medium to create these unique, personalized DIY photo pillows. They’re perfect for photo gifts or home decor.

Skills Required: Intermediate. Using photo transfer medium takes a little trial and error. I’d try it on a scrap of fabric first with one small image to practice before you try making the larger pillow. I offer some tips in the post below.

DIY photo pillows

I may have a problem with Instagram, in that I’ve used it to take TONS of pictures of my pets. So if you are following my stream and think “this lady is crazy,”, I’m sorry. Guilty as charged!

The only problem I have with all of these Instagrams is that they just sit on my phone, and I never (rarely?) do anything with them. These photo pillows apply to those Instagrams (or any smartphone photos, really).

I also love those old Polaroids that my parents have that just sit in the drawer, so here’s a chance to pull those out too. And what do you use to make these photo pillows? Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium. It’s an awesome product, seriously.

If you want to make sure your pillows turn out perfectly, you’re going to need patience.

I’m assuming you let your personalized photo pillows dry for 24 hours before using any water to rub off the design – that is the most important first step.

When your design is dry, you’ll wet it in the sink and rub off the paper. Use light to medium pressure, not too hard . . . because you can always let it dry, re-wet, and then rub a little more paper off.

Are you ready to learn how to make a photo pillow? Here’s what you’re going to need!

Gather These Supplies

  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
  • Computer with a dry toner printer or copies made on regular paper (not photo paper)
  • Photos of your choice
  • Foam brush
  • Mod Podge silicone mat
  • Sponge and water
  • A pre-made cotton pillowcase OR:
    • Fabric – I used white cotton for the front of the pillows and patterned scraps for the back
    • Pillow fill
    • Sewing machine with thread
    • Needle and thread

Remember that the photo is going to have a bit of a vintage look when it’s transferred. Get the how to card below:

DIY photo pillows

Display your picture pillow or give them as gifts. Be a weird dog (or cat) lady like me and make tons with your animals on them. They are so fun to create!

Yield: 1 pillow

DIY Photo Pillows

DIY photo pillows

Learn how to make a photo pillow perfect for personalized gifts or home decor.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Dry Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 2 hours
Difficulty Intermediate
Estimated Cost $5


  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
  • Photos of your choice
  • Foam brush
  • Mod Podge silicone mat
  • A pre-made cotton pillowcase OR supplies to make a pillowcase


  • Computer with a dry toner printer or copies made on regular paper (not photo paper)
  • Sponge and water


  1. Wash and dry your fabric or pillowcase.
  2. Print out photos in the size that you would like them for your pillow. You can make one large image, print out several images, or create a collage as I did. Print out the images on a dry toner printer or get laserjet copies made.Cut out an Instagram photo to apply to fabric
  3. Apply a medium layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium to the front of the image that you would like to transfer. Apply enough so that you cannot see the image.Apply photo transfer medium to a photo
  4. Quickly put the covered image face down onto the fabric or pillowcase and smooth. Wipe away any photo transfer medium that squeezes out the sides. Repeat for remaining photos. Let dry for at least 24 hours.Let your photo transfer medium dry
  5. Wet the paper slightly with water and rub the paper off of the photo transfer. Repeat until all of the paper is rubbed off of the transfer and then let dry.
  6. If you need to sew the fabric into a pillowcase, do that at this time. Stuff your pillow with fiberfill or insert a pillow into the case to finish.Sew your fabric into a pillowcase

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

Are you ready to see a video that will show you how to make a picture pillow? Simply press “PLAY” in the video in this post!

If you love this photo craft, check out these other photo transfer projects you’ll love:

Photo Pillows with Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium Story


Wednesday 26th of February 2014

I just tried the photo transfer onto white fabric. I waited 24 hours to start removing the paper. On all 3 photos, parts of the photo are coming off. I am not rubbing hard. Am I doing something wrong??


Wednesday 26th of February 2014

Hi Sharon! The fabric should probably be washed and dried to remove sizing (that could be an issue). Also using enough photo transfer medium. Do you feel like these two things might contribute?


Wednesday 29th of January 2014

I have tried this process with liquitex, but it leaves my fabric quite stiff, is it the same result with MP? Any tips on not losing the softness of fabrics in the process? Thanks!


Wednesday 29th of January 2014

Hi Pearl! My pillows are very flexible with the photo transfer medium. I mean, it's not completely soft, but soft enough and I don't feel like they are stiff at all!


Tuesday 7th of January 2014

many years back Dulux paints had a product called Hodge Podge where you could transfer pics to walls and other hard surfaces, I assume this product is an extension of that idea? So where does one buy it in Australia? I have soooo many cute cat pics to use lol


Wednesday 8th of January 2014

Hi Mahree! I've not heard of Hodge Podge, but it sounds cool! I'd contact Plaid about where to get the transfer medium in Australia:

They are always quick to answer. Thank you!


Monday 16th of December 2013


I would like to know where I can buy Mod Podge in Thailand (Bangkok area). Or online. Big thanks!



Saturday 14th of December 2013

Hello may if we can just use normal mod podge matte to photo transfer? :)


Saturday 14th of December 2013

You can but it's a different process. Look at this blog post for more info on how to do it:

Skip to Instructions