IKEA Dish Towel Hack: from the kitchen to the bedroom!

Yes, away to the bedroom we shall go. But first, now that I have your attention…



The blogosphere is bursting with impressive IKEA hacks. For example, one talented blogger began with this BILLY bookcase, added crown molding and baseboard, caulked and painted and–presto!–it looks like a custom built-in that cost thousands of dollars, not $59.99 per 31 1/2″ x 11″ x 79 1/2″ unit.




Billy bookcases ikea hackImage via IkeaHackers.net





Another style savvy blogger turned IKEA’s RAST dresser into a side table Dorothy Draper would’ve been proud to call one of her own designs.





Ikea Hack Rast DresserIf this doesn’t say Dorothy Draper, (it does), it certainly doesn’t say $34.99 RAST 3-drawer chest from IKEA. Image and project via Marcus Designs.






In contrast, my IKEA hack is on the small side: 16″ x 26″, to be exact. It’s cute and easy to make but, admittedly, only a humble contribution to the hacking greatness that runneth over on the internet.





However, while it might not exactly blow your mind, the good news is, it won’t blow your wallet, either.





It starts with one of these….





Ikea Elly dishtowels

And we’ll turn it into a pillow.





Yes, a dish towel. IKEA calls them ELLY. At $3.99 for a pack of four, I call them a sweet deal.




Note: The IKEA site discloses all sorts of pertinent information about these towels. (See highlighted IKEA link above.) For example, they tell you each towel is 20″ x 26″, that they’re made of 100% cotton and should be machine washed, and that shrinkage 5%. That is not a huge amount of shrinkage, but to be on the safe side, you may want to wash (and dry) the towels before you sew them so you don’t have to deal (and by “deal” I mean: freak out/cry/eat two bowls of ice cream because that always makes it better) with shrinkage later. Just a suggestion.



Choose the dishtowel you like best to convert into a pillow. Or “billow” as I accidentally typed (which is odd since the “P” and the “B” do not reside anywhere near one another on the keyboard; I suppose that would be a pillow with a cold). I love the faded denim shade of blue on the one I chose and I’m a sucker for stripes, but the skinny stripes or plaid ones would transform nicely into pillows, too.






(Flashback alert!) Do you remember when this towel was hanging in my kitchen? One day it whispered to me, “I can do more than just hang here and look pretty.” (I thought it was so pretty, I never actually used it to wipe dishes.) Apparently I speak “dishtowel” because I listened.




SUB-ZERO front









But I digress. A lot. Obviously. But, back on topic. After you select your dish towel, you will also need white cotton fabric (remember, you may want to wash and dry it if it is not preshrunk) for the back of the pillow as well as a 20″ x 26″ pillow insert. Velcro/buttons/a zipper are optional.





Pillow supplies




IKEA conveniently also sells a 16″ x 26″ down-filled* FJADRAR insert–(Your guess on how to pronounce that is as good as mine; if you know that or how to insert the two dots over the “A”, please enlighten me on both accounts.)–for $6.99. This folks, is another steal of a deal.



*I have become rather anti-down after researching and discovering that the majority of down comes from live-plucked geese–(Yes, live! Future blog post. Brace yourself!)–but IKEA is the only source I know of (besides Patagonia, but last I checked, they weren’t making pillow inserts) who responsibly sources their down. Yay IKEA!



My plan was to make the easiest pillowcase possible which meant instead of a zipper enclosure, I made an envelope fold. The 20″ x 26″ sized dish towel lends itself to perfectly to making a 16″ x 26″ pillow. If you want to go fancy and create a contrasting welt with one of the other dishtowels or a plain white welt, you are a more ambitious–and likely much better–sewer than I. For those of us who prefer the easy peasy method, begin by placing the ELLY dish towel and your white cotton fabric front to front.




Dishtowel draped on white



Just so you can see where we’re heading, I draped the fabric over the pillow insert to create a concept of the finished product, below. Which reminds me, another great thing about the ELLY dishtowels, (besides the cuteness factor and price and the fun fact that our cat happens to share the same name–and personality, I might add), is these towels are hemmed on the edges which means you don’t have to hem the flap of the envelope fold. Go IKEA, go!




Positioning fabric






Now sew the sides together.




Graffiti on sewing machine





You will end up with something like this.





Unstuffed Ikea dishtowel pillow



To make sure the pillow stays snugly shut, you could add a button, but in the interest of finishing in a jiffy, I used Velcro. Tip: pinning through Velcro can be rather difficult and can bend your nice sewing pins. To keep the Velcro in place, I taped it to the fabric using clear Scotch tape which I removed as I sewed.




Pillow with velcro



Stuff your pillow, toss it on a bed, and you’ll get something like this…





Ikea dishtowel pillow and peaches



ELLY IKEA dishtowel pillow on bed






Here it is against blue bedding.




Ikea dishtowel pillow blue bedding



Don’t worry, these antlers are not a permanent bedroom fixture. JB and I agreed to not hang much until we renovate and paint the walls, but they were too blah for the photo so I thought the antlers would add a little something. I think now, it wasn’t quite the right something. Perhaps I had been watching too many back to back episodes of Game of Thrones. (We’re almost caught up with the rest of the watching world.) As a friend mentioned, the look I achieved is: “Horny.” Great. But the real reason I removed them after I shot the pictures is we live in earthquake-prone California which means these horns could impale us while we are sleeping. So, new pact: an antler-less bedroom wall is a safe bedroom wall.



By the way, if you happened to be thinking this pillow is cute but 1) I don’t have a sewing machine or 2) Sewing isn’t much fun, those are two perfectly reasonable sentiments to which I’m happy to respond. This is another “IKEA does it, again!” moment. IKEA just happens to have come out with this new pillow cover that perfectly fits their 16″ x 26″ FJADRAR fill and it’s only $10 (!!!), beautiful, and, of course, hard to pronounce. It’s the VITFJARIL (please imagine two dots over the A, for the sake of correctness).



Here it is…



ikea vitfjaril pillow





Told you. In real life it’s just as cream-colored with a linen texture (100% ramie; 4% shrinkage).


How about you? Have you done any IKEA hacks lately? No, taking an axe to their “It has to be missing a part!” assembly-required furniture does not count. 🙂


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2 Comments on IKEA Dish Towel Hack: from the kitchen to the bedroom!

  1. Maureen
    June 10, 2014 at 6:53 AM (7 years ago)

    Love these blog ideas; feels like we’re siting together over tea and your creative best (and all you’ve learned during the process) is being shared. Have only been in an Ikea one time when we took daughter #2 to Berkley and did a bit of shopping for her apartment. Daughter #1 is an avid Ikea fan with the very special draw that there is a place to leave your “a bit older child (children)” for maybe an hour while you shop in the store – totally a win win, but you can be sure the Mom/Dad/Ikea shoppers with children know that Ikea “gift’ already. Hummm – think we’ll have to stop at an Ikea on our way North this next week. You’ve inspired me, Kisha!!!

    • Kisha Gianni
      June 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM (7 years ago)

      Thanks, Maureen! I find IKEA trips are thrilling for the first half hour to forty-five minutes (all these great finds at great prices inspiring great projects) and then the “maze” and the lack of windows start to get to me. So much neat stuff can be sensory overload! Go in well-fueled, with an empty bladder, and lots of tolerance for masses of people planting themselves in your path–right in front of that “Oh my gosh!” piece you were about to make a nose dive for. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a blog fan and supporter! Hugs and sunshine to you!


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