Try this yourself / craft your very own unique cushion

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’. For this DIY project we chose four plain cushions in a variety of base textures – linen, velvet and woven – and added a variety of features to elevate their basic beauty. You could mix and match these ideas, curate a full couch or pick one to adorn your favourite chair.

TIP: These ideas are easiest done if the cushion has a zip and inner that can be removed. Start all DIY’s by removing the inner.


Stitched & Fringed

Add a stitched shape to the front of your cushion – be it a cross, square or zig-zag – straight-line forms are most-effective. This treatment works best with a thread colour that contrasts the base fabric.

Sewing machine, thread, fabric chalk.

Mark your shape with fabric chalk. Sew the lines (We sewed several lines close together to provide the impact of a fuller 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.

Enough length, of fabric or fringing, to wrap around the circumference of your cushion. Sewing machine, thread, and pins. (Hand-sewing works fine too if you don’t have access to a machine)

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).

TIP: Adding fringing is easiest on a cushion that already has a flanged edge – you can just add your fringe over the top.



We found this decoration the most fun. It also took the most concentration!

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 here! However, these aren’t explicitly designed 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.

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.

TIP: When painting fine fabric, such as linen, remove the cardboard before drying – we hung ours on the end of a clothes-rail pole - this stops the paint sticking to the cardboard.



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 ! )

Pom-poms, needle, and thread.

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 wish) and secure it with thread.

TIP: Combine different DIY techniques onto one cushion. We created our own flange on the pom-pom cushion by sewing a line around the circumference, 15cm in from the edge of the cushion.



The options with embroidery are endless only to your imagination and colour of thread.

Embroidery thread and needle.

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, stitching part of the cushion produced a subtle, delicate change.

TIP: Bear in mind the shape your cushion forms when it has the inner inside – adornments work best in the very centre or outer edges.