DIY Watercolor Alcohol Ink Pillows

Upcycling a plain throw pillow is one of the fastest ways to give your room a totally new look! We used sharpies, alcohol ink, and rubbing alcohol to turn these plain white pillowcases into works of art. Get the chic watercolor look in your living room with this easy (not to mention super cheap) DIY project!

Chances are, you already have some sharpies and some rubbing alcohol lying around somewhere in your house. Why not try this fun and easy DIY project to turn a plain pillowcase into a beautiful, watercolor-like piece of art that elevates your home decor in just a few minutes?

If you want to kick the color up a notch, you can also get some alcohol ink online or at your local craft store. We’re loving all the fun DIY projects you can do with alcohol ink like these decorative plates! Keep reading to see how we used the both sharpies and ink on these plain pillowcases to transform them into stunning colorful accent pillows.

Sharpie Pillows

Step 1: Start with a clean, light colored pillowcase and remove any inserts before you start. Think about what colors will look best next to each other and then draw a GENEROUS amount of ink on the pillows using your sharpies. It will look super bright at first but don’t worry; the ink bleeds together and also fades when you add alcohol.

Step 2: Use a funnel to fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Evenly spray the whole pillow with the alcohol, making sure to soak the fabric completely. Be sure to do this outside, on a disposable surface like cardboard, or on a material that won’t stain- you are working with ink, after all!

Step 3: Lay the pillow flat to dry. While the alcohol is drying, it’ll react with the ink and the lines will bleed out into a cool watercolor-looking pattern. This will take a while so don’t be alarmed that it doesn’t happen right away. The colors of the ink fade as the pillow dries; what we thought was going to be a dark saturated blue actually turned out much softer and subtler than expected!

Alcohol Ink Pillows

Step 1: For these pillows, we’re going to switch up the order of our steps. After removing any pillow inserts, lightly soak the entire pillowcase in rubbing alcohol. You can do this just by pouring the alcohol directly on the pillowcase, or you can use a spray bottle. Again, remember to do this on a surface that won’t get ruined with ink!

Step 2: Next, begin to add drops of alcohol ink along the soaked pillowcase in a pattern you like. We added pink and red in a kind of dreamy polka dot pattern, and drew small horizontal lines in red, pink, and orange for a fiery sunset look. If you want the colors to bleed more, you can add more alcohol using your spray bottle.

Step 3: Lay the pillowcase flat to dry. Turn it over a couple times to make sure both sides are totally dry before you put the pillow insert back in.

When your pillowcases are dry, pop those inserts back in to see your beautiful work! We really liked how all 3 turned out, but the alcohol ink “sunset” pillow was probably our favorite. The big takeaway was that the pillows looked way dreamier the more rubbing alcohol we added. If you want a crisper look, add less alcohol, but to get that “watcolor-y”, “grown-up-tie-die feel”, add more alcohol to the mix.

We can’t stop staring at our stunning new throw pillows! Where once there was plain ol’ boring white pillows, now there’s a show-stopping pop of color that majorly ups our decor game.

Did you try this project yourself? Show us what you made by tagging us on Instagram and use #bemakeful.


  • plain pillowcase
  • alcohol ink
  • rubbing alcohol
  • sharpies various colors
  • pillow insert