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SELF CARE PRACTICES: UPCYCLED EYE PILLOWS

Upcycled eye pillows are an easy and creative self care project. They do not cost a lot of money, and don’t take a lot of time to make.

Eye pillows are weighted eye masks made of fabric and various fillings. Natural materials such as cotton, linen, or silk are used to make the cases. Eye pillows are stuffed with herbs like lavender or eucalyptus combined with flax seed. Eye pillows are great for blocking out the light when you want to relax in a brightly lit space. The pillows also relax the muscles around the eyes by placing a gentle weight over the eyes – similar to how a weighted blanket works.

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and I saw some yoga-related pages where folks were selling lavender scented eye pillows. These pillows ran anywhere from $15-$50. I was tempted to buy one, but I’m really trying to challenge myself around my shopping choices lately.


A personal goal of mine is to start doing more thrift shopping and sewing, because the practices used in sweatshops to produce clothes overseas don’t sit well with me. I decided I should just pull my (dusty-collecting) sewing machine out and try to make some.

There wasn’t a ton of material lying around the house but I did have these old cotton leggings with a big ol’ hole in the crotch. I had relegated them to the pile of “gardening pants” I use, but the hole was getting so big that they were arguably just chaps now.

Making the Eye Pillows

I started by measuring roughly 9 inches from the end of the legs, and made my first cut. This left me with a rectangle shaped tube. Then I turned the fabric inside out so that the seam was on the outside.

After turning the fabric inside out I sewed up one end of the leg hole using a two-point zigzag stitch. I turned the tube around and stitched the other end mostly closed, leaving about a 1/2 inch gap – just wide enough to put a funnel in.

I turned the material right side out (so the seams were back on the inside.) Then I made a mixture of flax seeds and dried lavender I collected from my garden last summer. Although the lavender still had good fragrance, I decided to add 2 drops of lavender essential oil to the lavender and gave it a stir for some boosted scent. In total, I used about 2.5 cups of flax seed and 1/4 cup of lavender mixed together.

With the help of my daughter, we funneled the lavender-flax seed mix into the empty pillows. Then I hand stitched the last of the square closed.

The Final Product

Because I didn’t want to get the actual pillow dirty, I decided to sew a pillow case with some left over satin fabric I ordered from Spoonflower a couple of years ago.

These eye pillows are perfect for resting in śavāsana (corpse pose) after yoga. I also enjoy using it in meditation. You really notice the scent of lavender, which keeps me present in my body and connected to my sense organs. I made an extra one with and for my daughter too. She likes to use it at bedtime, as the lavender helps her relax.

In total this project took us under an hour to complete (including the time I used to take these pictures!) The only material we had to pay for was the flax seed which cost around $2.50 CND for 1 kg.

This project could easily be made with scrap materials lying around the house. Old cotton t-shirts or pillow cases would be perfect. If you’re going to make a pillow case it doesn’t even matter how junky the inside material looks. Pull out those old shirts with the cooking grease stains on them and put them to use again!

Alternative Fillings

If you don’t have access to lavender, other herbs you might have in the cupboard might be:

  • chamomile

  • mint tea leaves

  • dried rose petals

  • lemon balm

  • rosemary

Do you like this project? Follow me on Instagram to discover the other self-care projects I’m working on.

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