How to Upcycle an Old Stuffed Animal Into a Cozy Pillow

How to Upcycle an Old Stuffed Animal Into a Cozy Pillow

How to Upcycle an Old Stuffed Animal Into a Cozy Pillow

Upcycling an old stuffed animal into a pillow can give it new life and create a cozy, comforting decoration for your home. With some simple sewing skills and supplies, you can transform that beloved toy into a one-of-a-kind pillow to treasure.

Selecting a Stuffed Animal for Upcycling

When choosing a stuffed animal to upcycle, consider the following:

Size and Shape

  • Pick a stuffed animal that is already large enough to be made into a usable pillow, approximately 12 inches or more. Smaller toys will not work as well.
  • A rectangular or square shape will be easiest to convert into a pillow. Odd shapes like animals may be more challenging.


  • Choose a stuffed animal that is still in good condition – no major holes, damage, or stains.
  • Minor wear and tear can be fixed when making the pillow. But avoid toys that are falling apart.

Sentimental Value

  • Pick a toy that holds special meaning to you or the recipient. Upcycling it adds sentimental value.
  • Old favorite stuffed animals are ideal. The pillow will preserve its memories.

Fabric Type

  • Plush fur fabrics are easiest to work with.
  • Avoid rubbery, plastic-feeling materials that may not sew well.
  • Stick to sew-friendly fabrics like cotton, fleece, velour, etc.

Supplies Needed

Gather these supplies before starting your stuffed animal pillow project:

  • Stuffed animal
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Poly-fil stuffing
  • Pillow form (or fabric to make your own)
  • Basic sewing kit (needles, pins, etc.)


  • Decorative ribbons, buttons, trims
  • Fabric glue or fusible web
  • Hand-sewing needle and embroidery floss

Steps for Upcycling into a Pillow

Follow these steps to transform a stuffed animal into a pillow:

1. Prep the Stuffed Animal

  • Carefully cut open a seam on the back or belly using scissors.
  • Remove existing stuffing and set aside.
  • Remove any plastic eyes or noses if possible.

2. Add a Pillow Form

  • Insert a ready-made pillow form into the stuffed animal’s outer shell.
  • Or stuff with poly-fil to make your own pillow form.

3. Sew the Pillow Closed

  • Hand-sew or machine stitch the seam closed.
  • Use a ladder stitch for invisible seams (if hand-sewing).
  • Or a straight or zig-zag stitch if machine sewing.

4. Add Design Details

Use decorative touches like:

  • Ribbons or trims around edges or seams
  • Buttons or other accents sewn on top
  • Custom embroidered designs
  • Patches made from fabric scraps
  • Monogram with initials stitched on

5. Fluff and Finish

  • Use scissors to trim any excess ragged threads.
  • Fluff and shape your upcycled pillow.
  • Display proudly and enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use similar colored thread to seam match for invisible look.
  • Add subtle fragrance to poly-fil stuffing for scented pillow.
  • Mix in some original stuffing for sentimental value.
  • Customize with patches cut from old clothes.
  • Add a zippered opening to allow washing pillow form.
  • Insert a heating pad for a soothingly warm pillow.

Upcycling a beloved stuffed friend into a pillow is a crafty way to extend its life while creating a new handmade treasure. With some simple sewing skills and supplies, you can make a pillow as unique as the toy that inspired it.