DIY african mudcloth inspired pillows

Some affiliate links are used at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! For more information, visit my Disclosure.

I’ve been eyeing all of those beautiful African mudcloth pillows for a while now.  While they are absolutely gorgeous, the price has kept me from pulling the trigger.  Originally I thought I would try and find some of the fabric and make my own, but the fabric alone is hard to find.  So, true to form, I DIY’d it.  While it may not be authentic, I still love how it turned out.  And at under $10 per pillow, I really love it!

SOURCES:  chairs // sofa // lumbar pillow // coffee table (similar look here) // metal accordion table // rug (no longer avail – similar here and here) // bamboo blinds // white drapes // DIY mudcloth pillows // DIY lacquer tray // 3 round mirrors (sold out – similar here) // glass candle holders (here and here)

I wanted it to look as close to real mudcloth, so I placed seams every few inches.  It’s subtle, but I like the extra texture it gives it.

How to do it!

  • Fabric – I purchased a linen decor weight fabric (54″ wide) from JoAnn’s.  For two pillows you’ll need 1 1/2 yards, so adjust as needed if you’re only doing one pillow or are using a narrower width fabric.    
  • Fabric paint
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Iron
  • Zipper
  • Potato
  • X-acto knife
STEP ONE:  Cut out your fabric pieces.  Again, this is based on a 20×20 pillow so adjust as needed for your desired size.  You’ll need one 21×21 inch piece for the back and one 21×25 inch piece for the front.  The added width for the front piece is because we will be sewing in pleats.

STEP TWO:  Take your front piece (21×25) and use your iron to press seams every 5.5 inches.  This is where we will make our pleats.

Fold the pleats over about a quarter of an inch and sew down using a zig zag stitch.

STEP THREE:  Now we’re going to make our stamp!  Cut your potato in half lengthwise.  You’re only going to need one half for this.  Now is when you’ll start cutting away portions of the potato with an X-acto knife to make your stamp.  For this shape, I cut a rectangle first and then cut the zig zag pattern into one side.

For ease, you can cut down the sides of the potato as well.  When you’re done, wipe off any moisture with a paper towel.  Moisture will keep the paint from adhering well to the potato.  To make sure I was stamping down in the correct spot, I marked off the sides and centers of the stamp on the backside.
STEP FOUR:  Before you start stamping, determine placement of your pattern.  I decided to iron a fold down the center of the pillow front to help me stay centered.  Fill a paper plate with some fabric paint and load your potato (ha!).  You want a decent amount of paint, but not so much you end up with a gloppy mess. 

Don’t get worried about imperfections.  That’s what makes it more interesting looking!
Hang it up to completely dry for a few hours.
STEP FIVE:  Pin the front and back pieces of the pillow right sides together, leaving an opening at the bottom for your zipper, and stitch together.  If you have any additional width left over on the front piece from where we stitched seams, cut that off now.  
For the zipper – I like using invisible zippers in my pillows.  If you haven’t done an invisible zipper before you can find a ton of tutorials and videos out there.  Find your favorite.  If I would have included it this post would have gotten crazy long 😀   

Snip the corners so that they lay nice and flat when you flip the pillow right side out.

STEP SIX:  Press your pillow so the seams are nice and crisp and insert your pillow insert.  I like down inserts.  You can get great prices on them at places like Tuesday Mornings.  They will absolutely up your pillow’s game.  TIP:  For this 20 inch pillow I used a 22 inch insert.  Gives it a much fuller look.
Here’s my version next to an authentic one from Etsy that you can purchase here.  By the way, all of her pillows are gorgeous.  I need one of those magical money trees 🙂
I’m so happy with the outcome!!!  Not to shabby for saving $70 a pillow!  And the best part is you’re options are endless.  There are so many great patterns you can recreate! 


  1. Jessica Avatar

    Those look great. Good job!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Thank you so much, Jessica!

  2. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper Avatar

    these look amazing! i painted t-shirts yesterday for jump rope for heart and after i finished i thought to myself, this would have been easier with a potato stamp. good idea too late. 😉

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Dang it, I hate when that happens! I was originally going to try and make my own stamp out of a fancy rubber stamp making kit. Stupid kit was $35!!! I kindly told the lady thank you as I placed it back on the shelf. Then I suddenly remembered doing potato stamps as a kid in Girl Scouts. Looks like something useful came out of Girl Scouts after all!

  3. pam {simple details} Avatar

    Oh, I love these! You're a smart cookie! 🙂

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Thanks, Pam! Now the problem is I want to make more, and more, and more….

  4. Freckles Chick Avatar

    GET.OUT!! No wait, come back so I can tell you how much I love these! It's a dead ringer for the authentic one! Putting this on my list of must-try. If I'm going to give into my throw pillow addiction, might as well try to save money. I just have to find a potato (we're always out, love me some carbs).

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Go get yourself a tator! There are so many more I want to make but haven't had time to do it with the kids being home so much lately. I did one while Sam was awake and he was so mad I wouldn't let him stamp his heart out all over my pillow fabric. "Noooooo!!!! Put. The potato. Down."

  5. Mindy Avatar

    Four thumbs up.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Thank you so much, Mindy!

  6. Mindy Avatar

    Four thumbs up.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Lol! Thank you!

  7. Kacey @ Avatar

    If sewing didn't make me cry, I might try this! Love them!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Don't let the sewing part scare you, you can stamp the pattern on plain, premade pillow covers!

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

Latest on Instagram

Search by Category


Never Miss a Post
Get the latest posts and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Thank you!  Check your email for a message from me!

Wonderful Finds

You Might Also Like