Introduction: XKCD Quote Pillow

Picture of XKCD Quote Pillow

I'm sure a lot of you know about XKCD, one of the awesomest webcomics of all time. Today I decided I wanted to make something, and since I can never have too many pillows, I decided to make one that looks like a thought bubble with a quote in it! Thanks to Lithium Rain, for helping me find a good quote to use :D

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

You're going to need:
Material - Both fleece and something that's not fleece that you could easily screen print onto. But you don't have to use the fleece with it if you don't want to.
Fiber fill (A.K.A. Stuffing) - Obviously it won't be a pillow without stuffing.
Paint - Acrylic works well, but fabric paint would be even better. You'll probably want black paint for this.
Paper - Preferably with the quote of your choosing printed on it. Also, some blank pieces of paper for the bottom part when you're making the stencil for screen printing and then some more for the stencil of the thought bubble.
Printer - To print on the paper with.
Garbage bag - Makes the paper stick to the material.
Iron - You might want to iron your material, and also you need it because it goes with the garbage bag and since the garbage bag goes with the paper the iron also does.
Sewing machine - You probably won't want to sew all this by hand.
X-acto knife, paintbrush, scissors, stuff to write on the material with, all those other small things you might need - Obviously, you're going to need stuff like scissors and x-acto knives and who knows what else.

Step 2: Choosing a Quote

Picture of Choosing a Quote

For my pillow I used a quote from this comic, the part that says "I'm the only conscious human in a world of sheep". It's short, and it makes sense out of context. Plus, I like sheep.

So when you're looking for a quote, look one that won't require much cutting of a stencil, and one that makes sense when it isn't actually in the comic.

When I printed it I used size 100 font, but depending on how big your pillow is going to be you should use a bigger or smaller size.

Step 3: Stencil Making

Picture of Stencil Making

You may have heard of screen printing with butcher paper. This is kind like that, but if you don't have butcher paper you're going to have to make some.

Take a piece of a garbage bag that's about the size of your pieces of paper, and put it between one piece of paper that is printed on, and one that is blank.  When you iron the garbage bag between the pieces of paper it will melt so they stick together, and later once you have cut out what needs to be cut out it will be used to stick the stencil to the fabric. Line up the pieces of paper and iron the paper/garbage bag so that the garbage bag sticks to both pieces of paper. Repeat for all the other pieces of paper that you have printed on. Also, now is the time to do that for the paper that will become the stencil of the thought bubble. Just use blank pieces of paper for that though, since you're going to draw it on.

Decide how big you want the thought bubble to be, and use enough paper to make it the size you want. Don't forget to make the little circular parts that are always at the bottom (there's a picture to show what the heck "the little circular parts that are always at the bottom" are). After you have the outline, go back and draw another outline inside of the first one you drew (both on the main thought bubble and the little circular parts that are always at the bottom). Your stencils are going to be more than one piece of paper, so don't worry if they are.

Once you have everything all drawn out and ironed and stuff, take one of the pieces of your stencil and put it on a towel and cut out whatever pieces are supposed to be cut out with an X-acto knife. Make sure you save the insides of the "O"s and stuff like that!

Step 4: Screen Printing

Picture of Screen Printing

Take your stencils and remove the bottom pieces (bottom pieces = non-printed pieces) of paper from all of them (you'll probably want to either do the words or the outline first). Line them up how you want them on the material and iron them to it. I would probably do the outline first, since then you know more where you want to place the words.

Use a paintbrush (those foam ones work best) and put paint wherever it's supposed to be.
Let it dry for a while and remove the stencil. Then repeat with the other stencil you're using.

Step 5: Cutting and Sewing

Picture of Cutting and Sewing

Cut around your thought bubble that you stenciled onto the material. It doesn't have to be "bumpy" like the thought bubble is, unless you want it to be of course, but that just makes it more difficult to sew.
Cut out another piece of material the same size and shape as the other piece. Sew them together, wrong (wrong meaning the sides that won't be on the outside) sides together, leaving a place to put the stuffing in it.

Step 6: And Done!

Picture of And Done!

Turn it right side out, put the stuffing in, sew up the hole that you used to put the stuffing in, and you're good to go!

Of course, you don't have to use an XKCD quote, you can use whatever kind you want.

So yeah, have fun making thought bubble pillows!


ExquiseMarquise (author)2012-04-30

Thanks for this instructables!
I didn't have any ideas for a birthday present for a boy and ended up making a thought bubble pillow (although a rather different one).
I chose a quote from House M.D. in French, printed it on a iron transfer paper and transferred it on the fabric. Then I cut and sewed, filled it and put the small round bubbles on a string. The fonts used are "century gothic" and a fanmade one named "House M.D."
My friend was delighted!

Amzy (author)2009-12-09

great instructable!
agree about the smaller circles, though

i would consider using a simplier font n order to make it easier to cut....

going to make this one!

Sunbanks (author)Amzy2009-12-10


A simpler font would have been a lot easier to cut, but I liked this one because it reminded me of the font the comic :P 

Amzy (author)Sunbanks2009-12-27

Not exactly like that, though. I cut the letters in a peace of fleece and sew them... really hard work but it's just that I've never tried screen printing. I made it my boyfriend's christmas gift, he loved it.
Pictures bellow (: the blue one is Sigiberto, my boyfriend gave it to me, and the girl is my sister (not a good picture for her xD)
Thanks for the instructable!
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4

Sunbanks (author)Amzy2009-12-28

That looks really cool! :D

Yerboogieman (author)2009-12-05

xkcd is prefered, Xkcd, and XKCD is frowned upon.

The Ideanator (author)2009-12-01

XKCD is epic, no doubt about it, but one must not forget questionable content

Also the pillow is awesome.

1up (author)2009-11-28


Love the comic, it's my favorite, and I love this Instructable. Awesome. ;)

Sunbanks (author)1up2009-11-30

Thanks :D

Coliflower (author)2009-11-29

Two things:

XKCD is one of the awesomest webcomics ever

And this is a great instructable.

5 Stars!

Sunbanks (author)Coliflower2009-11-30


Fishpail (author)2009-11-28

this is ingenious!

My suggestion is for the smaller circles for the bubble of thought you can make individual balls and sew them onto it, I dunno, to me it looks kinda awkward when this like long thing protrudes out of the pillow and has that painted onto it.

That's why it's a suggestion :P

tim_n (author)Fishpail2009-11-30

I thought the same thing, but even so it's a great instructable!

Sunbanks (author)Fishpail2009-11-29

It does look kinda awkward :P maybe individual ones would look better. However, it's very comfortable :D

ChrysN (author)2009-11-28

Bubble pillows, what a great idea, love the quote!

Sunbanks (author)ChrysN2009-11-28

Thank you! :) 

Msaggese (author)2009-11-28

 Can you explain the need for the garbage bag? Do you iron it so that it melts onto the paper? Some clarification on the stenciling step would be much appreciated

Sunbanks (author)Msaggese2009-11-28

Yes, that's what you need it for. Thanks for pointing out the fact that I forgot to mention why you need it! 

gmjhowe (author)2009-11-28

HaHa! Great work sunny!

Sunbanks (author)gmjhowe2009-11-28

Thanks! :D 

Jayefuu (author)2009-11-28

That's awesome.

Though I'm pretty sure there's an xkcd that applies here, specifically... to quote you....
"and since I can never have too many pillows"
The xkcd was to do with the usefulness of pillows and how men hate them and women can't get enough... I can't find it :(

Sunbanks (author)Jayefuu2009-11-28

Aww, I wish you had been able to find it!  

PKTraceur (author)2009-11-28

 Love XKCD comics, and I always love your instructables.

Clear pictures and instructions, really cleared up the actual "stencil" part.


Sunbanks (author)PKTraceur2009-11-28

Thanks!! I love XKCD comics too :D

I'm so glad that the stencil part made sense! I was a little worried that it wouldn't or would be kinda confusing.

Kiteman (author)2009-11-28

Always love the XKCD - they gave my school permission to use one of their cartoons on a postcard to send to pupils who do good work.

Kiteman (author)Kiteman2009-11-28

Almost forgot - have a look here.

Sunbanks (author)Kiteman2009-11-28


Sunbanks (author)Kiteman2009-11-28

I remember your forum topic about that, I wish our school send out postcards like that!

Hazanko (author)2009-11-27

After reading xkcd comics for like an hour, I go to Instructables to get away from the funny...and this is the first thing I see. Screw you for being so awesome! D:<

Sunbanks (author)Hazanko2009-11-28

Hehe :D
Btw, thanks :P 

Lithium Rain (author)2009-11-27

*Awesome*! 5 stars! :)

Sunbanks (author)Lithium Rain2009-11-27

Yay thanks! :D 

WallaceTheSane (author)2009-11-27


caitlinsdad (author)2009-11-27

That is a lot of detail work to cut out for the text.

Sunbanks (author)caitlinsdad2009-11-27

It made me wish I could afford a laser cutter. 

About This Instructable




Bio: I love to sew, as I'm sure you can see from my ibles ;) I also love lawn flamingos, going to the beach, dinosaurs, and ... More »
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