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“You Are My Sunshine” Pillow Cover – How to Get Letters On Fabric

When Katie at View from the Fridge saw Anthropologie’s You Are My Sunshine pillow, she knew she wanted to make one for her sons’ shared bedroom.

The song holds sentimental meaning since it’s one she frequently sings to help her kids fall asleep. Katie sewed her own cover with the beloved lyrics, using iron-transfer paper to apply them to the fabric.

In addition to the heartwarming words, there are so many aspects of this pillow to love – the wide stripes, the white and aqua, the piping, the grey lettering… Beautiful job, Katie!

you are my sunshine pillow

What Are YOUR Words?

Creating customized pillows (or towels, shirts, blankets, pajamas, or whatever!) can be one of the most fulfilling DIY projects. Not only are you creating your own little item, but it literally says something that can carry a whole extra meaning.

This can be sentimental or even funny, but if it’s from the heart it’s all the better.

And when it displays a meaningful quote, a special song lyric, or even just a loved one’s name, it holds a greater significance that you just can’t get any other way.

So what words mean something to you?

We all have some special saying we’d love to see imprinted on something. In this case, it’s a pillow project that Katie has shared with us. If you’ve never printed on fabric before, the question is how do you do it? Read on and learn how!

How to Transfer Words to Fabric

This process is so easy and fun, you’ll want to start customizing all kinds of fabric and sewing projects. Before you start though, there are a few basics you need to have ready:

What You Need…

  • Printer
  • Iron-transfer paper
  • Masking tape
  • Iron
  • Patience…yes, a little bit is required!

The magic ingredient here obviously is the transfer paper. A lot of papers used for this process will end up making what you’re transferring feel stiff and a little like plastic.

Katie says the one she got from Amazon is pretty darn good.

The key to ensuring your transferred words can be as soft as possible is to cut out your words close to the edges of the letters. This makes for the least amount of transfer paper that you’ll be running your iron over.

Choose Your Fabric

Of course you also need to pick out fabric for your pillow. We’ll assume you’re well versed in taking a trip to JoAnne’s or your local fabric store. For online sources, Katie recommends Hawthorne Supply Co.

Find the Perfect Font

One final choice to make for your words and getting them transferred is a font. Do a search online for “free fonts”, and you’ll find many sites offering downloadable fonts. Check out samples with your actual text as you narrow down your favorites.

The Basic Steps…

Mirror text generator

Use this mirrored text generator to turn your text backwards

All you’ll be doing is printing backwards text onto the transfer paper and then ironing them on to your fabric surface.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind…

  1. Print your words first on regular paper as a test to determine the right font size and letter spacing — you can always space out your words as needed manually once printed and cut out
  2. Next, use an online mirror text generator to automatically flip your words backwards and make them ready for ironing on
  3. Paste your mirrored text into a word editor of your choice and Print on to your iron-transfer paper (note, you may need to just put longer quotes or song lyrics on separate lines, and that’s fine since you’re cutting out the words anyway)
  4. Cut out the words and align on your fabric the way you want and secure them down temporarily with masking tape
  5. Now, use your iron to transfer to your material

When ironing, Katie has a nice method. Start away from where you have the paper taped down. Then, as you work towards the tape and the letters get stuck down, you can remove the tape and finish up.

Customized text on pillow is style all it’s own. It can provide meaning well beyond the pillow itself.

For Katie, she was originally inspired by the You Are My Sunshine Pillow from Anthropologie because that song has a special meaning in her family.

anthropologie you are my sunshine pillow

For the full details on Katie’s pillow project, including the sewing portion, go to View from the Fridge. In fact, you can follow what she did for any type of “iron-on” word DIY project.

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