DIY T-Shirt Pillow | Gifts for Under $5

This is a quick and dirty tutorial for a DIY T-shirt pillow. Now, let it be known I’m a poor crafter—but I’m also persistent. And I think this project isn’t half-bad!

DIY T-Shirt Pillow

It’s not that I don’t like crafting. Actually I find the whole thing amazing, to be able to create something from something else (reuse or re-purpose if you will). I just kind of suck. Most of my projects end in disaster and my laundry room just keeps filling up with “ideas gone wrong.”

But my persistence usually pays off. Case in point today, my DIY T-shirt pillow.

Something like four months ago I attended a clothing swap and picked up this interesting long sleeved t-shirt. I kind of liked it and since it was up for grabs I thought I’d give it a shot.


I learned just why it was up for grabs: Massive pit stains. And they weren’t mine.

That’s when I decided it would make a lovely pillow case. I wanted to make a few of them for my sister’s new place but of course I never got my act together before Christmas. Although I did raid her “to go” clothing and find some great t-shirts to use, so you never know.

Anyway, for this pit-stained wonder I cut off the sleeves first thing. Then I measured and pinned and messed around until I worked up my nerve to actually attempt to sew the thing together.

Did I mention I’m also a dismal seamstress? I’m very insecure behind the pedal. OK since I’m already being so honest I got my mom to come over and thread the bobbin for me.

Once the shirt/case was on the pillow I thought it needed a little something. More cowbell lace. So, I hesitate to call this Gift Under $5 complete because I will pick up lace on the weekend to add to my DIY T-shirt pillow. Then I’ll sew up the bottom and brag.

Cost thus far for the DIY T-shirt pillow

  • Shirt: $0 (acquired in clothing swap)
  • Pillow: $0 (came with the couch)
  • Pins, thread, sewing machine: $0 (was my grandmother’s)

Labour? About an hour, maybe two.

And since I’m so afraid of crafting and sewing, I know this is something anyone can do.

Here’s an actual DIY T-shirt pillow tutorial so you don’t have to wing it. Although I have great faith in you.

This is a quick and dirty tutorial for a DIY T-shirt pillow. Now, let it be known I'm a poor crafter but I think this project isn't half-bad!

Other DIY gifts for under $5

DIY Christmas Morning Mug Huggers

Mug Huggers. These are THE BEST GIFT! Whether you’re stuck for a gift or strapped for cash or want to create something beautiful and useful as a gift, you will love this quick and easy tutorial.

Mug Huggers Tutorial

Before the mug huggers tutorial you must know the story behind it

When I become fixed on an idea I tend to.

  1. Talk about it a lot
  2. Research it a lot
  3. Read a lot of books and/or blogs

During my last fixation, I even took a budgeting course. That was new for me. Actually, no it wasn’t. Nevermind. I forgot I went to French Camp one semester and was immersed for five weeks straight in the middle of Quebec.

Right. So this last round of obsessed researching follows exactly the same patterns I usually get into. So this intro was basically for naught.

My point: on my latest quest/obsession/fixation/project I stumbled upon an interesting blog. I read a few posts and figured I’d keep an eye on it to see if anything useful popped up. And when I saw this one I thought, Yeah! Gifts in a jar for under $15!

But then I read the post (actually, I skimmed it) and thought…I can do better.

Mug Huggers

Here’s how you can make Christmas Morning Mug Huggers too

  1. Acquire mugs from anywhere but a store if you can help it
    • I recommend grandparents, friends of friends, or your local workplace
    • Don’t steal
    • Go through your stash yarn (or fabric, ribbon, etc.) and find some good colour combos to go with your new-to-you mugs
  2. Find a great pattern and get crafty
    • My pattern is pretty straightforward: Thirty stitches for 30 rows, then add a border
    • Also find some buttons
  3. For my project I tried to scavenge from old purses and my meagre collection but resorted to purchasing a bag of about 100 buttons from a thrift store for $2.99
  4. Find little gift baggies
    • You could definitely sew them—hand stitch even
    • I found mine pre-made at a dollar store for $0.75 each
  5. Collect little packets of hot chocolate and sample sized Bailey’s, or whatever type of hot drinks strike your fancy
    • I have a large tin of Starbucks hot chocolate and I divided it up into single portions, and I found sample-sized Bailey’s for $3.99 each
    • You could also pick up some single-sized instant coffees or teas
  6. Put it all together and voila! A lovely way to welcome Christmas morning, so long as the recipient has access to hot water

I suppose the good that came from the whole “Gifts in a jar” thing is it unlocked some sort of permissions inside my mind, which didn’t seem to think homemade gifts were appropriate. I know, right? But all I can ever think about for homemade is knitting and I didn’t want to knit all my gifts.

(OK we all know that’s not true.)

My compromise was to only knit part of the gift. And I think it worked out alright.

Mug Huggers

When I decided this was the direction to go, it was pretty exciting. I didn’t want to spend much (most of my friends are officially skipping Christmas, so really I was just trying to create a special token) and now I had direction.

Oh, and I’m completely aware that I’m spoiling the surprise.

…or am I?

Now the surprise will be who gets my Christmas Morning Mug Huggers!
I stumbled upon an interesting blog about gifts in a jar. And I thought, I can do better. Here's how you can make arbyn's Christmas morning mug huggers too.

Other quick and easy DIY gifts

How to Give the Perfect Gift

Does gift-giving stress you out? I’ve figured out how to give the perfect gift. No kidding. OK, a bit of kidding. But it might help.

How to Give the Perfect Gift

Obviously giving the perfect gifts stresses me out. I want to give the BEST Christmas gifts. I want to win Christmas. It’s so much pressure. Actually, giving gifts in general stresses me out.

Please don’t misunderstand: I love giving gifts. And giving the perfect gift is, like, the biggest high in the world. However, when push comes to shove and I can’t give the perfect gift I turn into more of an impulsive, “Here, I like you and this suits you,” or “Hey, I saw you need this or that so I made/have this for you.”

Somewhat less satisfying.

Suffice to say, when the pressure’s on, I crack. I’ve been over-thinking this entire month and honestly don’t know how to give the perfect gift to everyone on my Christmas list.

Usually, I think and think and stress and hunt and don’t find what I don’t know I’m looking for. So I last-minute-shop and then buy the last thing on the shelf, which completely sucks.

This year, in anticipation of my habits and trends, I’ve had several shopping days, and I’ve written and rewritten lists. I figured that was a good way to get ahead. However, I’m still three gifts short and it’s definitely crunch time.

Can you relate?

In the spirit of panic, I Googled it.

How to Give the Perfect Gift

  1. Think about the person you’re giving to

    This means steer clear of the boot cologne! Also soap-on-a-rope is out (unless it’s for my brothers).

  2. Inside jokes

    Remember that time that thing happened and soap-on-a-rope and no one else knows about it but us? Here’s a memento

  3. Incorporate photos into your gift

    Everyone likes to see him/herself in a photo…how about a photo collage on a mug? On a mouse pad? A calendar perhaps? Oooh! How about a photo on soap-on-a-rope?

  4. Hobbies and passions

    There’s no better way to say “I love you” than to support an obsession!

  5. Engrave something

    Just for that little something extra. Also cuts out re-gifting pretty much 100 per cent (which is too bad because I LOOOOOVE regifting).

It was about here I stopped Googling because there is nothing new on the Internet and I still don’t have three gifts. Looks like I have three more shopping days until I’m forced to grab the last item on the shelf in the nick of time and pray it’s at least useful, if not perfect.

Maybe I’ll do better next year.

Does gift-giving stress you out? I've figured out how to give the perfect gift. No kidding. OK, a bit of kidding. But it might help. I love giving gifts. And giving the perfect gift is, like, the biggest high in the world. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove and I'm in panic-last-minute-gift mode, I crack.

Other Gift-Related Posts