How to make a neck pillow for sleeping?

A neck pillow is an essential accessory for travellers, individuals with neck pain, or simply anyone looking for added comfort during their sleep. Store-bought neck pillows are widely available, but making one yourself allows you to customise it to your own specifications, choose the fabric, and fill material.

Moreover, a handmade neck pillow can be a thoughtful gift for a loved one or a valuable item for personal use. This guide will take you through the step-by-step process of creating a neck pillow that’s perfect for sleeping or resting on the go.

How to make a neck pillow for sleeping> – Detailed guide

Materials Required:

  1. Fabric: You can use any soft fabric like cotton, fleece, or velour. Ensure you have about 1 yard (though you’ll use less, it’s good to have extra).
  2. Filling: Memory foam, polyester fiberfill, or buckwheat hulls are popular choices.
  3. Scissors.
  4. Sewing machine (or needle and thread if sewing by hand).
  5. Pins.
  6. Measuring tape or ruler.
  7. Fabric marker or chalk.
  8. Optional: Essential oils for added relaxation (like lavender).

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Neck Pillow:

  1. Design & Pattern: First, determine the size and shape of your pillow. Most neck pillows have a U-shape. You can draw your pattern on a paper, keeping in mind to add an extra inch all around for seams. A common size is about 12 inches long on each side of the U and about 10 inches in the center from top to bottom.
  2. Cutting the Fabric: Fold your fabric in half, with the right sides (the side you want to show) facing each other. Place your pattern on top and trace around it with a fabric marker or chalk. Cut out the fabric, giving you two U-shaped pieces.
  3. Sewing: Pin the two fabric pieces together, right sides facing each other. Starting at one end, sew around the pillow, leaving about a 4-inch gap for stuffing. Remember to remove the pins as you sew.
  4. Turning & Filling: Once sewn, turn the fabric right side out through the 4-inch gap. Using your chosen filling, stuff the pillow to your desired firmness. If using essential oils, sprinkle a few drops on the filling before closing.
  5. Closing the Pillow: After stuffing, fold the raw edges of the opening inward and pin them together. Sew the gap shut, either by machine or with a hand-sewn invisible stitch.
  6. Optional Additions: For added comfort, you can sew a button on one end and an elastic loop on the other, allowing you to secure the pillow around your neck. Alternatively, add a strap or handle for easy carrying.

Effective tips to make a neck pillow for sleeping

Certainly! Making a neck pillow effectively requires a blend of the right materials, design, and personal preferences. Here are some tips to ensure that your DIY neck pillow turns out to be comfortable, durable, and perfect for your needs:

  1. Right Fabric: Choose a fabric that feels soft against the skin, like cotton, velour, or fleece. If the pillow is for travel, consider moisture-wicking fabrics to prevent sweat accumulation.
  2. Optimal Filling: Memory foam is popular for its ability to mold to the shape of your neck. Polyester fiberfill is soft and lightweight, while buckwheat hulls are natural, moldable, and can provide good support. Choose based on your comfort preference.
  3. Perfect Size: Ensure the pillow is not too thick or too thin. A very thick pillow might push your head forward, and a thin one might not give enough support.
  4. Washability: It’s good to design your pillow with a removable cover. This way, you can easily wash the cover without damaging the filling.
  5. Even Distribution: When filling your pillow, ensure that the filling is distributed evenly. This avoids lumps and ensures consistent neck support.
  6. Seal Well: Make sure to sew the pillow tightly to prevent any filling from leaking out, especially if you’re using tiny materials like buckwheat hulls.
  7. Test Before Finalizing: Before sewing the pillow shut, test its comfort. This might mean temporarily closing it and placing it around your neck to check for firmness and fit. Adjust the filling as needed.
  8. Add A Strap: Especially if traveling, a strap or button can help keep the pillow in place so it doesn’t move around while you’re using it.
  9. Personal Touch: If you’re sensitive to smells, consider adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils (like lavender) to the filling. This can make your rest even more relaxing.
  10. Durable Stitching: Whether you’re hand-sewing or using a machine, ensure your stitches are tight and durable. Double-stitching can be a good idea for added strength.

Remember, the most effective neck pillow is the one that fits your personal preferences and needs. Whether you’re creating it for travel, relaxation at home, or therapeutic purposes, the right materials and attention to detail can make all the difference.


What type of filling is best for a neck pillow?

The best filling depends on personal preference. Memory foam is popular for its contouring abilities, providing good support to the neck. Polyester fiberfill is lightweight and soft, suitable for those who prefer a plush feel. Buckwheat hulls, while heavier, mold to the shape of your neck and can offer excellent support. Experiment to find what’s most comfortable for you.

How do I choose the right size and shape for my neck pillow?

A U-shape is the most common design for neck pillows, providing support to the back and sides of the neck. In terms of size, the pillow should not be so thick that it pushes your head forward, nor too thin that it doesn’t offer adequate support. The best way is to measure the distance from the nape of your neck to the edge of your shoulder for a more personalized fit.

Can I add aromatherapy elements to my neck pillow?

Absolutely! Adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus to the filling can enhance relaxation. Alternatively, you can sew in a small pocket to hold sachets of dried herbs, allowing you to refresh or change them as needed.


Making a neck pillow for sleeping is not just a fun DIY project but also a journey towards personalized comfort. By choosing the right fabric, optimal filling, and the perfect size, you can create a pillow that offers tailored support for your neck, enhancing sleep quality and comfort. Whether it’s for travel, home use, or therapeutic purposes, a homemade neck pillow reflects your preferences and ensures a restful experience. Remember to take your time, test different materials, and enjoy the process!

Leave a Comment