Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Second (Cotton) Anniversary Gift Idea: Collage Pillow!

So today is my second wedding anniversary!  Yay!  Two years with my wonderful hubby.  Our wedding day was ridonkulously hot…
wedding 014
…and ironically, there’s a heat advisory for today as well.  It just helps us remember that wonderful feeling of sweating together up on a stage.

Anyway, for our first year anniversary (the “paper” anniversary) I made this fun travel art piece:
So for our second anniversary (the “cotton” anniversary), I wanted to stick with the travel theme.  Because it’s something we love to do together.  Just GO.  Whether it’s Europe or St. Louis, I just really love traveling with this man.  And I saw the “ticket stub pillow” on Pinterest and thought, “BINGO!!”
But I had trouble finding any one ticket that would work well for a pillow shape…so I decided to do a collage instead.
So…here’s something you should know: because we have a small house with little to no privacy and are almost always in the same room, I knew I couldn’t make this at home.  So…this was made entirely at my office.  Furreals.  But that should show you just how easy this project is to do.  And honestly—a LOT of fun.
Ticket stubs
Iron-On Transfer Paper
Inkjet Printer
Fabric (I used a small “decorate me” type canvas tote bag, because two of the sides would already be stitched when I cut it down to make the pillow.  Since this would have to be hand-sewn, having two sides already done was a HUGE help.)
Needle & Thread (or sewing machine, if you’re not making this in your cubicle at work)
Poly-fil pillow stuffing

STEP ONE:  Choose your tickets. 
I wanted to use more of our stubs from our honeymoon; however most of those have been worked into a scrapbook, and I didn’t want to dismantle it for this pillow.  So I rifled through my box o’ ticket stubs that haven’t made it into a scrapbook yet.  I chose a wide variety of stubs—some from local sporting events, a plane ticket stub, a lift licket from one of our ski trips, a random train ticket from Germany that didn’t make it into the scrapbook, a ferry stub from our Canada trip, a ticket to an improv comedy show from Vegas, and the St. Louis Botanical Gardens.

STEP TWO: Make your Collage.
Take a blank piece of standard printer paper and start arranging.  Try to fill up the page as much as possible.  In retrospect, I wish I would have snagged a few small movie ticket stubs to help fill in the gaps.

STEP THREE: Scan the Collage.
I scanned at a 400 dpi resolution with Photo quality to get the best result.  Save it as a JPEG, and then “flip” the image so that all the words are backwards.
STEP FOUR: Print the Collage on Iron-On Transfer Paper.

Please note: You MUSTMUSTMUST use an inkjet printer to print the collage onto the iron on transfer.  Laser printers are too hot and will cause the iron-on stuff to melt off inside the printer.  Just…trust me on this one from past experience. :)  So…big thank you to our IT guy Kerry who found the only color inkjet printer in our office (inside someone’s office) and another big thanks to John, who let me take over his office for 5 minutes while printing this.

STEP FIVE:  Ironing!
Find an iron.  (Big thanks to my coworker Babsy who brought me an iron from her house so I could iron this at work.)  Iron your fabric first so that it’s nice & flat to start.  Then lay your transfer down; if you’re using something that’s pre-sewn on some sides, get the edges to match up as closely as possible.
Ironing in my cubicle….not at all weird.  Right??? (I worked on this after hours to avoid odd looks from my coworkers.)
Follow the instructions that come with your iron-on transfer paper, and remember to press hard—especially on the edges where it’s pre-sewn.
Then slowly & gently peel the backing off.
STEP SIX:  Trim Your Fabric & Stitch up the Open Sides.
Use the edge of the iron-on transfer as a guide to trim down the fabric.  Since about 1/2-inch will end up inside the pillow as the seam, you can trim up to half an inch away from the edge of that line.  Then flip the fabric inside-out, and stitch up the remaining two sides---but leave an opening of about 4 inches so you can flip it BACK right-side-out. Iron the edges to make a nice seam (but flip it over & iron the blank side so you don’t accidentally take off the iron on transfer.)
IMG_20130709_180549 Part  of the top edge of the iron on transfer didn’t get hot enough, so it looks faded there.  This is why you have to make sure to focus on the edges as much as the center.
Fill your tiny pillow with poly-fill, and then stitch up the last edge.
And voila!  You have a cute lil’ pillow and a really thoughtful anniversary gift.  To go with the less “thoughtful” but more “nerdy” t-shirt you bought him.
Hope you have a wonderful time trying this craft out, and if you’re making it as an anniversary gift, many blessings to you and your partner!  May your days be filled with as many adventures and journeys as ours.

Oh…and because I have an amazing hubby (who let me have one of my gifts early), I can share that as well.  Because it’s so awesome that I had to wear it TODAY:
IMG_20130709_200351 I love him.  I really, really, really do. :D


  1. Your blog has been my pleasure to read all the year and your recipes and your comments have been for me, a pleasure. I want you to know, that if a snob like me, is to read your blog, you famous in all the world. My best wishes' on your wonderful risks, your passions and you great loves. You always have a friend in me,

  2. I just wanted to leave a quick thank you for this blog post! I loved both of your ideas, the heart maps and the collage pillow so I combined them for our second anniversary. It turned out really good too! Your hint to find a sack that was already sewn on three sides was very helpful (especially because this was my first attempt to sew. lol)...Anyways, thanks for the great idea!

    1. So glad the projects worked out for you! Happy anniversary!!!

  3. I wanted to share that I saw your post and loved the idea! So thoughtful and creative! I decided to put my own spin on it and created a t-shirt instead of a pillow because we have way too many decorative pillows on our bed and my poor husband hates them haha. He loved the idea of having a graphic t-shirt that was personalized. Your instructions were so helpful, thank you for such a great idea!

    1. I'm so glad you were able to personalize it & make it your own! Thank you for reading & happy to be of service!!!

  4. I LOVE this idea! I have an old suitcase I can't bring myself to get rid of, because of all the stickers I put on it. I think I'll take photos of it and turn it into a pillow :-)

  5. Great idea! Now I need to get my son to save tickets and itineraries for awhile. I'd like to make his girlfriend a pillow like that, but I will need the cool memories to adorn it with.
    Thanks for sharing!