Create a Custom Pillow Using MS Paint!

OCT 14, 2014 updated Apr 29, 2021

Learn how to create a custom pillow using MS Paint from Spoonflower team member Eloisa

Create a custom pillow

You don’t need a fancy design program to create basic fabric designs! Although some programs are better, easier and more appropriate than others, MS Paint is an easy program to start off using and to get your feet wet in the surface design life! 

Design your own pillow

MS Paint is a simple program that is included as part of your Windows based computer. Like any program, it has different versions depending on the Windows version your computer carries. For this tutorial, I am using the latest version of MS Paint for Windows 8. The biggest challenge when working with this program is that it’s pretty basic– therefore some features are not available or need some sort of work around. 

Tools available:

MS Paint has a few great tools you can use, such as the paint bucket, colors, shapes and brushes. You can also reposition and resize your design elements by using the selection tool and dragging them towards the desired area. Here is an explanation of all the tools.

Paint Tools

About sizing your image:

In Spoonflower, you will need to create an image with a minimum of 150 pixels per inch. MS Paint has a set resolution of 96 pixels per inch. Unfortunately, even opening a high resolution image in Paint and saving it with this program will default to 96 pixels, but you can check out Spoonflower’s resources regarding sizing here.

For this tutorial, I will create an image the size of a Faux Suede fat quarter, so I will start off by opening a new image sized 4050 pixels wide by 2700 pixels high. 

STEP 1: Open MS Paint, and click on File – Properties

Creating a new file

STEP 2: A screen will pop up, enter the desired pixels there. In this tutorial, we are using 4050 x 2700.

Create a new file

Now it’s time to create! For this tutorial I will be using the following tools:

  • Fill with color
  • Watercolor Brush
  • Shapes
  • Outlines / Fill / Size
  • Colors

STEP 4: Make sure you are paying attention to the two color blocks on the top menu, select COLOR1 and a window will appear with color options. Choose the color you would like for your background. For this tutorial, I use a pretty turquoise. Make your selection and click the OK button.

Creating a custom pillow

STEP 5: Click on the white background with the paint BUCKET TOOL that will appear automatically, this will change your background.

Changing background color

STEP 5: Add your design elements!

  • For this pillow, I wanted to make stripes on the background, so I used the RECTANGLE SHAPE, and then ensured that we had the desired colors selected for the OUTLINE and the FILL. An important note on this: the box COLOR1 will apply to your OUTLINE and the box COLOR2 will apply to your FILL. Repeat this step until you get the look you want, you can make polka dots, stripes and any shape available on the program. You can also choose to only use one of the two {outline or fill, you do not have to use both}.
  • I then added a white circle using the CIRCLE SHAPE tool and following the same guidelines as above. 
  • Next I added a message inside the circle using the TYPING TOOL.
  • I created some arrows using the LINE SHAPE TOOL and the WATERCOLOR BRUSH TOOL.

Add design elements

STEP 6: Save your file! Note: you can save your file as a JPEG or PNG.

Finished custom pillow

Once you’ve placed your fabric order and stitched up your pillows, you’ll have lovely custom cushions to enjoy!

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  • I have used Adobe’s stuff, but I come back to Paint because I don’t have to think about it anymore. Each iteration loses more functionality, but it’s so hardwired into my fingers and brain it almost doesn’t matter. Copy and paste, distort, copy and paste, endlessly. Now and then I open the design in Photoshop for puppet warp, save as a JPG and go right back into it with Paint.

  • Believe it or not, I make all my designs on spoonflower using just Paint after creating the art using pencils, paint and a camera.

  • This was an excellent tutorial. Thank you so much. Now if you could just show
    us how you uploaded this design to spoonflower, that would make my day. I know,…
    it’s so simple, but when I’ve tried to upload a design that wasn’t an allover print, I totally came undone…:) There was a tutorial about a month ago where someone took their grandmother’s recipes and printed it on a tea towel and she even made a border. I couldn’t figure this out. Maybe a video…..just say’in – for those of us who aren’t graphic artists, but rather illustrators, we need some help. Thanks for any help you can give me. xxoo

  • Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve used paint hundreds of times, it is a pretty good tool to design.

  • This tutorial is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I work on a Mac and was wondering if there are similar tools available for Mac – either included with iOS or if there are any free or cheap web-based tools available too!