Aromatherapy Pillows–Make One for Yourself or as a Gift

Aromatherapy sleep pillow

Aromatherapy pillows are a wonderful way to enjoy the scents of essential oils and are so easy to make–even if you can barely sew!  If you can cut out a rectangle of fabric and sew in a straight line–you can do this!

These cute little pillows are great to have around the house, but they make a wonderful gift as well. Make one for yourself and more for giving.

Uses include placing over your eyes/forehead when you have a headache, heating it up and placing over sore or tense spots, or taking it to bed to help you sleep.

Aromatherapy pillow and a blue bottle of linen spray

The finished pillow and spritzer.

What you will need:

  • a small piece of fabric–enough to cut two rectangles about 4.5 x 10 inches (but you can make these any size you want)
  • thread
  • sewing machine and/or needle (these are small enough you could hand stitch the whole thing if you don’t have a machine)
  • flaxseed, rice, or buckwheat hulls, about 2.5 cups.
  • herbs (optional, but recommended)–your choice of lavender, chamomile, peppermint, hops etc. See notes below on choosing herbs and oils for this project
  • essential oils
  • mixing bowl and something to mix with
  • Optional: to make a spritzer to refresh the scent you will need a fine mist bottle, additional essential oils, and high proof vodka or grain alcohol

Directions-Sewing the Pillow:

  1. Cut out your fabric into a rectangle shape, I cut mine 4.5 x 10 inches but you can make these bigger or smaller.
  2. Place the fabric right sides together. If needed, you can use pins to keep the edges lined up evenly.
  3. Starting about 2/3 of the way on the long side, begin sewing around all 4 edges, leaving about a 2-3 inch gap on the long side that you started on. Sew about 4/8 inches from the edge. Pivot with your needle in the fabric as you go around the corners.
  4. Optional–if your fabric is raveling easily, go around your seams one more time with a zigzag or other finishing stitch. You can finish the seams together, but finish each seam edge on the side with the opening separately (see photo).
  5. Trim the seams and clip off the corners close to the stitching.
  6. Invert the fabric through the opening. You should now have a pillow that shows the right side of the fabric towards the outside.  Use a knitting needle, fingers, or a pencil, if needed, to ensure the corners are completely inverted.
  7. Optional–iron the pillow to remove any creases
picture of two finished seams
Finish the seams on the side with the opening separately so they will fold neatly into your pillow when turned right side out.
Fabric in cream, green and orange being inverted through an opening
Invert the fabric through the opening so your pillow now has the right sides of the fabric facing outwards.
The opening left in an aromatherapy pillow to allow for inserting the filling
A 2-3 inch opening allows for filling. Ensure the seam edges are folded into the pillow.

Directions-Filling and Finishing the Pillow

  1. In a bowl (that you won’t use for cooking) combine the flax (or rice or buckwheat) with your herbs. You will need about 2 cups of flax and about 1/2 cup of herbs. The pillow does not have to be filled completely–it should have some flexibility.
  2. Add about 10 drops of essential oil to your mixture and using a chopstick or spoon (that you won’t use for food), stir it in.
  3. Fill your pillow–a funnel, a folded piece of stiff paper (see photo), or a spoon can be helpful to guide the mixture in through the opening
  4. Using your machine or a needle and thread, stitch close the opening, ensuring the seam edges have been folded in.
  5. If you are making this to give as a gift later, store in a container or ziploc bag to prevent the oils from evaporating too quickly.
Clockwise from the top--flax seed, chamomile, lavender, and hops
Clockwise from the top--flax seed, chamomile, lavender, and hops
flax, hops and lavender being poured from a scoop into an aromatherapy pillow
Filling the pillow with a scoop, using a folded piece of paper as a guide

Refreshing your Pillow

The herbs in this pillow will give off fragrance for awhile, but you can easily create a linen spray that will refresh the scent on your pillow. Here’s how:

In a 2 oz. glass bottle, place 3 tsp. of high proof vodka or everclear. Add your essential oils (about 36 drops total) to the alcohol. Let it sit for a few minutes so the essential oils dissolve into the alcohol. Top up the bottle with water and place the mister top on.

To refresh the pillow, spritz a little of this spray onto it.

Safety notes:  If you are using the pillow over your eyes or other bare skin, spritz the pillow on the side that won’t contact your skin.  If you are heating this, spritz the pillow after it has been heated due to the alcohol content of this spray.

Choosing essential oils and herbs for this project:

When choosing herbs for this project, consider your primary use. For a multipurpose pillow, I recommend lavender.  For a sleep pillow, lavender, chamomile and hops are good choices (which is what I used in this project).  For a headache pillow, lavender and peppermint would be a good combination. For aches and pains, lavender and peppermint are also good choices.

Essential oil blends for your pillow or re-freshing spray:

Use about 10 drops of these blends in your pillow.  Use 36 drops in a 2 oz. spray.

For headaches or insomnia

23 drops Lavender

23 drops Sweet Marjoram

For insomnia

30 drops Bergamot

16 drops Clary Sage

For headaches and body aches

30 drops Lavender

16 drops Peppermint

Other oils you can use for headaches:

Sweet Basil, Chamomile, Geranium, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Melissa, Rose, & Rosemary

Other oils you can use for insomnia:

Sweet Basil, Chamomile, Mandarin, Marjoram, Melissa, Neroli, Sweet Orange, Petitgrain, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver, & Ylang ylang

Other oils you can use for muscle pain:

Chamomile, Ginger, Helichrysum, Juniper Berry, Rosemary, Marjoram

Learn to make your own essential oil blends with this free 5 day mini-course

Scoop of flax and herbs with a bottle of lavender oil, a dropper and a bowl with roses
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