Bolo rug pillow tutorial

Happy Birthday America! I hope you’re all having a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating & relaxing with the ones you adore! Summertime, by far, is my favorite time of year. It means bright sunny mornings spent outside, coffee in hand and giggling children digging in the dirt. And those warm, loung-y afternoons laying on a blanket in the backyard reading books aloud to my kids are the best.

I think it’s important to make our lives special and thoughtful. I could throw any ol’ pillow & blanket out to lay on. But I wouldn’t dream of it! Instead I have made a few inexpensive outdoor pillows, with late afternoon lounging sessions in mind for us to really enjoy our time together.

Bolo Rug Pillow Tutorial


  • 2 Bolo or rag rugs
  • 1 Standard size pillow
  • Clear nylon thread
  • Sewing machine (for quickness, but could be sewn by hand)
  • Scissors
  • About 5 minutes of time per pillow. So simple & quick!

I found the bolo rugs (also known as “rag rugs”) at the Dollar Tree for, yes… $1 each! You can also find rag rugs at discount stores and in those off the wall areas of retail pharmacies. Ikea also has similar inexpensive rugs.  The cheapest place to get a standard size pillow is Target, at about $3 each.


Step 1: Assemble your supplies & get to work.

Rag rugs generally do not have a “right side” as they are imperfectly perfect and very forgiving to inexperienced sewers such as myself! I matched up the 2 prettiest sides. You will not be flipping this pillow “inside out” as you would do with most pillow patterns. You will be stitching along the edge with clear thread and with the bumpiness of the woven rug, no seam is apparent.

Step 2: Sew!

Lay 1 rug on top of the other so they match up. You are essentially sewing a rectangle and because it’s so simple I did not pin the rugs together. Instead, I slowly sowed, making sure I was on track, while gently pulling the rug through as it was slightly bulky. I also adjusted the stitch width to 3.5 to ease the stitch along. Sew 3 sides of the rug together (2 long sides and 1 short) and leave one short end open.

Step 3: Insert the pillow.

Shove the pillow into the rug-case you have made. Because my rugs were the exact same size as a standard size pillow, it took a bit of nudging but the fit made for a perfectly fluffy pillow. You may have to adjust depending on your rug size.

Step 4: Sew the open end, closed.

I just went for it. I pulled the ends together and forced it (slowly) through my sewing machine. Somewhat difficult with a big fluffy pillow trying to derail the stitches! Hand stitching the end closed would be a feasible option. Again, because of the weave of the rug, you don’t see a single crooked stitch! Very forgiving & my pillows turned out lovely.

While I made these pillows for outdoor lounging, they can be used indoors too. They’d be perfect floor pillows for the family room or fun pillows on the bed.

Simply taking 10 minutes to sew a couple of festive outdoor pillows has completely transformed an otherwise ordinary summertime activity.

Simple, good design is not about a fancy price point. It’s about living a life of thoughtfulness. Enjoying all those little moments and making everyday tasks special.

What are your favorite ways to make everyday living more extraordinary? Will you be trying this project?

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  1. Love this idea. I need some outdoor pillows for the summer—perfect!

  2. love love love this! have you washed them yet?

  3. Jamie – I have not washed them yet, but the thought has crossed my mind! My plan: throw the whole pillow in the wash (the rugs & pillows are made of a poly fabric/stuffing & should wash well) and hang out to dry on a sunny day or tumble dry.

  4. I love this idea. Our summer’s are a little too hot for afternoon lounging, but we could definitely use these for a nice morning with books, a picnic lunch, or floor pillows for the living room.

    Thanks for the inspiration and the tutorial. “Quick and easy” is my favorite.

    • Arianne says:

      I was thinking the same thing – our lounging takes place in the mornings, can’t wait to try this and fab up the morning outdoor time! Loved this, Summer! <3

  5. Oh wow! Will be making a Dollar Tree run today. SUCH a great idea!

  6. These are great! And will be great for the “fall” and “winter” days and nights we have in Southeast Texas. Outside during summer?? Only if you enjoy 100% humidity day and night in 100 degree temps and quarter sized mosquitos trying to carry you off. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Such a cute idea! I love the idea of having designated outdoor lounging pillows, though given our hot summers here, we’d probably use them more indoors. They’d give such a fun pop of color to a room!

  8. More recently I have been looking to buy some rugs.. anyone know any sites?
    I’ve heard about Any experiences there? 🙂

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