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Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows

How to Make Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows with Kids

I loved receiving my copy of Crafting Connections magazine in the mail! It was such a pleasure to flip through and see it full of activities to do with children—ALL of which I wanted to try! It all spoke to me, which I have to say is rare in a magazine.

This current issue is titled Explore Scent, and, true to name, all the projects inside are related to this theme. It starts with some bite-sized facts about scent—did you know that it’s the first of our five senses to develop? And that we can recognize about 10,000 different smells? I didn’t. There’s also a helpful list of children’s picture books on the topic and a guide for choosing essential oils.

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 44

Then the activities!

Comfort pillows, perfumed playdough, a scent matching game, a decorated herb drying rack, spiced butters, and stovetop potpourri…

The creative mamas behind Crafting Connections magazine, Andrea Folsom and Danielle Reiner, had sent me a copy for a review, so I thought we’d do one of the activities and report the results to you, much as I’ve done when reviewing books (This magazine feels a bit like a book to me).

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows from Crafting Connections Magazine

I chose the comfort pillows with the Sharpie tie dye covers. The pillows are filled with rice scented with essential oils and can be heated or used cold. I’ve made something similar and wanted to give it a go their way (mostly because of the Sharpie tie dye, I admit!).

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 01

Here’s a video showing Sharpie Tie-Dye in action! And don’t forget to scroll down for step-by-step instructions on how to make both the sharpie tie-dye fabric and the comfort pillows.

Sharpie Tie-Dye Comfort Pillows (from Crafting Connections Magazine)

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  • Plain white or natural fabric (we used muslin)
  • Sharpie markers
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Droppers
  • Rice
  • Essential oils
  • Sewing machine


To begin, I set out squares and rectangles of plain muslin as well as white flower-printed fabric (as an experiment) on a cheap waterproof tablecloth from the dollar store, taping them down to hold them in place as we drew.

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 10

I explained a little about what we were about to do to Maia and Daphne and we each drew on the fabric with our Sharpies. Daphne, especially, got into it.

Doing Sharpie Tie Dye with Kids

When our drawings were finished, we used droppers to drop rubbing alcohol on the Sharpie lines and watched as the color spread. It was so cool!

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 25

I’ve always seen Sharpie tie dye done as neat circles, to imitate tie-dye, which never caught my interest quite as much. But the Crafting Connections magazine shared it as more of a free form process, which really appealed to me.

Plus it’s much more appropriate for little kids this way!

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 32

Once our Sharpie tie-dye fabric was finished and dried, I sewed the pieces into pillows, leaving a hole in each for turning and stuffing.

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 39

Then came another fun part! Choosing our scents and mixing the essential oils into the rice.

How to Make Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows

The article recommends soothing scents for the larger pillows that will be heated up and uplifting scents for the smaller pillows that will be kept in the freezer as cold packs for booboos. We made some of each.

Making and Using Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows

Maia and Daphne both love their comfort pillows and have used them several times already. They are a big hit!

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows 50

Since we don’t have a microwave, I place them in a covered baking dish in the oven to heat them up. It takes a lot longer (15-20 minutes) than it would in a microwave, of course. I’m seriously considering buying one, though, partly because I can see these comfort pillows will get a lot of use (and partly because I have a list of art projects I want to try that require a microwave).

Sharpie Tie Dye Comfort Pillows

I think these pillows would be great as kid-made gifts as well—perhaps for Christmas.

I highly recommend Crafting Connections magazine, especially to those of you with young children. The whole thing is in magazine format of course, with luscious photos, lots of great activities and projects, etc, but without any ads. And because of the issue themes, they feel a bit like a book on the subject. These are magazines that you will line up carefully on your bookshelf and refer to again and again.

For those of us used to advertiser-funding magazines, the price might seem a bit steep ($15 per issue), but it’s well worth it. And if you order the digital copies, it’s half that. I loved my copy so much, that I hopped onto their site and ordered each of their back issues as digital copies to read on my iPad.


  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    This is so timely for me. Naomi keeps asking for boo boo balls like she has at school but these are soooo much better!
    Thanks for the inspiration. I love how they came out!

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 12:05 am

    What size did you make the pillows? Trying to figure out how much fabric to get…..thanks!

  • Reply
    Tie Dyed Shop
    October 7, 2013 at 9:31 am

    The latest craze in tie dye is using sharpie pens. Martha Stewart even had a post on this process.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Sharpie markers make new scented markers. Im going to try it with them and see if the scent lasts. Thanks for this awesome post!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 7, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Sure, Dena! I hope you and Naomi have fun making them!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 7, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Sina – In the magazine they recommend about 8 inches for the comfort pillows that you warm up and about 5 inches for the cold packs that you keep in the freezer.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Btw, we didn’t stick strictly to that recommendation, but did make the warm ones bigger than the cold ones.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Sharpie tie dye was my favorite as a kid – but like you said we always did it in circles over a tin can. I can’t wait to try this with my kiddos, I’m sure they will love it. And, the magazine looks lovely, going to have to check that out as well. :)

  • Reply
    Nolan R.
    October 8, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Do you do anything to the rice to prevent bugs? (I remember your acorn story!) A friend of mine says the freezer will take care of that problem, and I would suspect the microwave (or oven) would as well, but I wasn’t sure. I make rice filled handwarmers out of felted wool and I’ve wondered if I’m going to be surprised by bugs at some point! Love this idea…planning to try it soon!

  • Reply
    Faye E. Hunt
    October 29, 2013 at 2:55 am

    What a great project! I am wondering, do you stuff the pillows solely with rice or do you add any batting to it too? I’m wondering if they’ll feel more like bean bags than pillows. Thanks for sharing such a delightful activity.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    How do you keep the sharpie from bleeding when and/or if it gets wet?

  • Reply
    Seri Beierle
    August 6, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Your Sharpie tie-dye will last longer if you iron it when you’re done. Simply talk a large paper bag, open it up and put the tie-dye inside and iron with a hot iron.

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