Slumber Party Pillow Case Craft Idea

If you have been following along, you know that my tween just celebrated her 11th birthday with a spa-themed sleepover party. I have been posting little snippets from our crafty spa party, like the Turbie Twist cupcakes or the homemade lip gloss. But before I post the whole behind-the-scenes “how my tween and I planned the whole party”, I wanted to highlight one sleepover craft idea we did that the girls absolutely loved.

We tested out DecoArt’s Ink Effects fabric paint for designing and customizing our own pillow cases. The results were so cool, I had show their fun, crafty results in its own post.

DecoArts Ink Effects paint for slumber party craft idea

There are a rainbow of colors to choose from. Each bottle has a color dot on the top with is the color to reference on how it will look on your fabric. The paint in the bottles are, in some cases, much deeper in tone than when you iron them on, like the yellow for instance.

Also, the first step is to prep any cotton fabric by spraying it with the DecoArt Ink Effects basecoat or primer and let dry before painting your design. I washed and dried and sprayed simple white cotton pillow cases the night before the party, so they were all primed and ready to go.

Then I set out the Ink Effects and a variety of paintbrushes in the middle of the table for the girls to design their own pillow cases. Here is the cool part – they didn’t paint a design on the pillow case – they painted their design on a piece of regular white paper.

tweens customizing pillow cases at slumber party

That way, they could paint numerous designs and piece them together later on their pillow case. The ink, once it is dry, acts as a iron on transfer. They had to keep this in mind when thinking about type or letters. Anything they painted would be transferred on the pillow case in reverse. To make it simple for the girls, I printed out white outlines of their names backwards for them to fill in and paint if desired.

pillow cases slumber party craft idea for girls

When each girl was happy with their designs, we let them dry completely on the paper. Then we cut out the designs, and the girls arranged them on their pillow cases face down to be ironed on. Then I placed a second sheet of paper in between the design and iron and, without steam, applied even pressure for about 3 minutes.

ironing on designs on pillow cases craft

The girls got some really cool effects, and I loved how not one of pillowcases was exactly the same. They were each very personal.

As you can tell below, we had a Perry the Platypus Phineas and Ferb fan at the party. = )

Perry pillowcase design steps with Ink Effects

Some of the girls painted really beautiful flower designs, or just their names.

Pillow case ironed on design slumber party craft idea

personalized pillow case ironed on designs

After we ironed on all of their personal designs, I set out a variety of Sharpie markers for them to continue to personalize their pillow cases. My tween had each of the girls who attended the party sign her pillow case.

slumber party personalized pillow cases craft @clubchicacircle

Then, the next morning, their were all able to take their custom pillow cases home with them. This was a fun and easy sleepover craft idea, as well as a perfect thank you gift to the girls., They were happy to show off their artwork. Check out the results:

tween slumber party pillow case craft @clubchicacircle

The possibilities are endless when using the DecoArt Ink Effects fabric paint! I’m thinking custom t-shirts is in our future. = )

Happy crafting!


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Pauline Molinari

I'm the crafty maven, and I'm on a mission to spread craftiness. With a fine arts degree, over 15 years experience in children's publishing, and a savvy, stylish, sassy tween daughter, I come armed with perspective and passion to inspire tween girls and their mothers to be crafty together. 

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  45 comments for “Slumber Party Pillow Case Craft Idea

  1. March 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Great idea! I love ink effects and I bet my daughters would love to make pillow cases!

  2. KO
    April 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Love this idea. How did you “print out white outlines of the guests names backwards for them to fill in and paint if desired”? Thanks!

    • April 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      I typed their names into one of my programs on the computer. I used Adobe Illustrator. If you use another software, outline the font and either flip it in your drawing, or use your print settings to print it out backwards. Hope that helps!

      • KO
        April 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

        Thank you!!

  3. Michelle
    June 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I LOVE this idea! My daughter is turning 7 this summer, and having a few friends sleepover after the party. Going to do this for sure!!
    Thank you!!

    • June 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Have fun with the Ink Effects and the sleepover!

  4. Monica Miller
    July 14, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Hi! You are so creative! I’m sure the girls thought you were the best!! So, when they finished up with the Sharpies, were those just regular Sharpies?
    We are having a girls’ party soon and I’m hoping I can find those paints.
    Thanks 🙂

    • July 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Thanks Monica! Yes, the girls just used regular Sharpies to add extra details to their pillowcase art. Have fun!

    • Monica
      July 24, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Thank you! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Jen
    July 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

    When you placed another piece of paper between the design and the iron, was it just a regular piece of paper or was it special for being able to withstand the heat of the iron? What heat setting did you have the iron on? I’m so doing this for my daughter’s sleepover in a few weeks! 🙂

    • July 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Hi Jen,
      I used a piece of cardstock paper (like white construction paper weight) in between the layers of fabric, and used an iron on low heat, no steam.
      Hope that helps! Have fun!

  6. Raquel Jenkins
    August 9, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Hi! Really, nice idea! Once the pillows are made, can they be washed as normal? Is the paint permanent?

    • August 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Yep, wash as you normally would. Inks are permanent. = )

  7. Mia
    September 17, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I love this idea and want to do this at my daughter’s upcoming slumber party. I haven’t been able to find the paints. Can you tell me where you bought them? Thanks!

  8. bob
    September 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Dosn’t that take a long time?

    • September 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Which part? This was a great sleepover activity to actually use time. The girls happily designed their designs. Each girl used different amounts of time. Since they slept over, I ironed them onto their pillow cases while they watched a movie together.

      • Amber
        November 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

        This looks like a great project for my girl scout troop. Is it possible you could give an idea of how long it took for the paint to dry prior to ironing? 🙂 My troop only meets for 90 minutes a week, trying to determine if they could finish in one meeting or 2. Thanks!

        • November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

          Hi Amber,
          Great question! The paint does take a little bit to dry. It all depends on how long it takes your girls to paint their designs. For the slumber party, some girls were done painting in 15-20, and others kept painting their designs for an hour. I let them dry overnight just because I didn’t want to stay up all night for the girls to finish. We ironed them on the next morning as they woke. Also, if you are using fabric that is 60% or more of cotton, I would use the primer ahead of time and make sure that is dry. You may want to plan for two meetings, unless you start right at the beginning and iron on at the end of the meeting.
          Hope that helps.

  9. Ash
    October 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Where do you get cheap pillow cases

  10. Christie
    November 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Love your, and the girls’, creativity! Quick question: do the pillowcases need to be 100% cotton (you mention cotton needing to be primed) or could they be 50/50 cotton/poly? Just wondering what the requirements for transfers to work would be. I’ll need to order supplies on Amazon or similar. Thanks for the help!

    • November 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Christie,
      Actually a 50/50 blend is probably better. The primer I used is for fabrics with 60% or more of cotton. You probably don’t even need the primer if you are using the 50/50 blend, but I haven’t tested it myself.

  11. Christie
    November 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Love your, and the girls’, creativity!
    Quick question: mus the pillowcases be 100% cotton (you mention cotton needing to be primed) or could they be 50/50 cotton/poly & possibly not be primed? Just wondering what the requirements for transfers to work would be. (I’ll need to order my supplies online, so won’t know what kind of fabric in advance.) Thanks for the help!

  12. Jen
    April 22, 2014 at 6:28 am

    When ironing the pictures onto the pillowcases, did you have to turn the cases inside out to do this? If so, did you just pin the designs in place?? We are having my stepdaughters 11th birthday sleepover this weekend and she can’t wait to do this with her friends.

    • April 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

      No, you want to iron it on right on the front of your case. Just keep in mind, when you paint in your design, you are ironing on the mirror image of it. Have fun at the party!

  13. Liz Lewis
    September 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Can you tell me how far the paint can go? I am trying to determine how much paint I need to get, but the bottles look pretty small? Did you only get one bottle of each color? How much did you get and was it enough? I see where to buy them online from your link, do you know if JoAnn’s is cheaper or comparable in price so I don’t have to take the trip?
    Thank you!!

    • September 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      The paint goes pretty far. It is really thin, so it goes on quickly. The bottles I bought for the party were plenty for all of the girls to make their designs, and I still have leftover paint.
      Hope that helps.

      • Randi Hertzberg
        September 24, 2017 at 9:20 am

        I am having 10 girls and you think one bottle of each color will be enough?

  14. kimber
    October 9, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I’m considering this for Sunday School and would need to do it in bulk. I’d have the kids paint the pillowcases in a watercolor style. Then I would use your method to iron on a bible verse. How many times would I be able to use a design?

    • October 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Hi Kimber,
      Thanks for the great comment. I’m not sure how many times you can iron the same design on, but I’m sure you could repaint the design and iron again. I have a feeling if you try and iron it on a second time, the colors would be very faded.
      Hope that helps.

  15. Courtney
    January 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Pauline – could you tell me the cost and quantity of pillowcases you purchased at Wal Mart? I am trying to decide if it is cheaper to purchase a set of bulk pillowcases online-editor or just purchase them at Wal-Mart by the pack. Thank you for your help.

    • February 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Courtney, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’m probably too late, but I bought a two pack of pillowcases for $4 at Walmart. The quality is good, and perfect for the pillowcase craft.

  16. lauren
    March 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Hello. I was just wondering how far the primer went. We will have probably 10 pillow cases. Not sure if one bottle will do it. Thank you for the great idea.

    • March 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Lauren,
      One bottle should be fine for 10 pillow cases. I used only one bottle and we did about 8 pillow cases. It squirts out in a fine mist, so a little goes a long way. Hope that helps!

  17. Mary Jo Halliday
    April 12, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Hi there,
    My daughter’s friends just left from a Birthday sleepover. Used this as a project for them, it was also their ‘loot bag’. Where I live, couldn’t find pillow cases for a low cost so made mine from some white broadcloth. Primed the material before the party as directed. The only issue I had was the two minute ironing directions didn’t work that well, not sure if it was due to the high percentage of cotton. I learned as I went, very slow ironing for longer than two minutes was required to get the proper brighter transfer of color. I recommend taking a sneak peak at the corners before final removal.

    • April 12, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Great tips, thanks for sharing. Very crafty of you to make your own pillow cases!

  18. cookie17
    July 6, 2015 at 10:26 am

    This could be done for boy’s to Think thing’s they put on all kind’s sport’s, cars ,their names ‘,Hard find thing’s for boys’ this perfect Thank’s ladies for asking questions …Great ideas …

  19. Annie
    October 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Hi there! Thank for sharing. Does the pillow cases need to be washed before applying the ink effects?

    • June 13, 2016 at 10:17 am

      It’s recommended on the bottle, but I didn’t try untreated fabric. It could work, but not sure if fabric would have any sizing that might not let the ink adhere as well.

  20. January 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Hi – I am planning to do a pillow case craft after seeing your awesome post! Would you mind sharing what font you used to get the name templates. I think that they are perfect and can’t seem to replicate.


    • June 13, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Hi Mimi,
      I used Typography of Coop Flaired font for the girls’ names. Happy crafting!

  21. Nancy
    June 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Hi can you use any fabric paint? I test tried with a fabric paint and did not prime the cotton. Could not get it to work.

    • June 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

      HI Nancy, unfortunately with this technique, you can’t use any fabric paint. This specific technique of painting on paper and then ironing on fabric is possible because of the Ink Effects paint.

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