Hands-free Book Pillow




Introduction: Hands-free Book Pillow

My mom loves to read at the breakfast table or when she's knitting. Newspapers are great for these times, but what about that novel you can't put down? That's where my book pillow comes in! This pillow allows you to read comfortably and hands free in almost any position and is great for people who want to do something with their hands while reading.

This can be made by hand or machine, and can easily be altered for a hardback or paperback reader.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

About a yard of fabric. Really lightweight fabrics don't really work for this. I recommend medium to heavy cotton or a light canvas. You can use something like suede, but it makes the gathering step harder, and makes it necessary to use a machine.

Needle and thread (make sure your thread is strong)

Measuring tape

Chalk, or something to mark the fabric with

About two bags of pillow stuffing (not pillow forms, don't confuse the two)


Optional bookmark or large clip, like the ones used for office supplies

Step 2: Preparing Your Squares

On your fabric, measure out two squares. One square needs to be 26x26 and the other needs to be 22x22. Mark your squares in chalk and cut. If you don't want to mark them, you can cut the squares out of newspaper and pin them on the fabric, then cut carefully around them.

On the larger of the two squares, measure 6 inches in from the outside edges, and mark as shown in the pictures below. You'll end up with four rectangles. Then make four cuts, on each corner as shown below. Only cut along the line and 6 inches in. Please see the fourth picture for clarification, as this can be a little confusing.

I know the pictures below say 27in and 7in, I was wrong when I wrote those and made the correction later. Apologies.

Step 3: Making the Tubes

Fold each strip in half toward the middle and pin. Cut the excess fabric off the ends so that you have an even square again.

Step 4: Stuffing the Tubes

Stuff the pillow stuffing tightly into the tubes, you want them to be very solid, but leave about half an inch unstuffed on the end of each tube. Stuff the ends of each tube into the end of another tube, so that they form one big square. Pin them and sew carefully together as seen below.

Step 5: Preparing the Pyramid

Now that you're done with your tubes, set them aside and grab the smaller square you cut.

Sew a big X on your square so that when you stuff the pillow, it will become a pyramid and not just a big blob.

On each side of the smaller square, do a loose running stitch. Gather each side so that it is the length of one of the sides of the larger square. Your gathered square should fit into the larger one as shown before. Pin the gathered smaller square into the larger square with the tubes. Sew these together with small stitches close to the tubes. Leave an opening about the width of your hand on one of the sides so you can put the pillow stuffing in.

Step 6: Stuffing the Pyramid

Stuff the pyramid through the opening you left. Be sure to pack it full so it is very solid, and concentrate on making it have a point and not be too rounded.

Then sew the opening shut. This might be difficult because you stuffed the pillow so full, so take your time!

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Now is a great time to add your finishing touches.

You can add a bookmark at the top, or sew on a heavy duty clip to hold thick paperbacks in place.

Get creative, have fun, and happy mother's day!

Mother's Day Contest

Runner Up in the
Mother's Day Contest



    • Game Life Contest

      Game Life Contest
    • Tiny Home Contest

      Tiny Home Contest
    • Organic Cooking Challenge

      Organic Cooking Challenge

    16 Discussions

    I'm having a hard time with Step 3. There are not enough pictures. Maybe I'm not as smart as everyone else . . .

    Wonderful, cannot wait to have a go. Just what I need. Thank you.

    I made one as a Christmas gift. It was very very very appreciated.
    Thank you for the instructable!


    Too COOL!!

    My wife is going back to UNI this year to do a nursing course, should I make mine bigger to accommodated her large medical text books?

    I'm going to up-cycle some old clothes to make mine.

    This looks great, now I'm about to build one with a few changes including adding a book light to the top and using a thin wires or plastic straps to hold the book and pages in place. The only thing, I'm kind of worried about is the level of the book ledge. Would it make sense to use a large pillow and adding a ledge somewhere near the center instead of the bottom in order to read at a more comfortable level (ie when your knees are up supporting the pillow). Also, can somebody who has built this pillow, possibly the poster, post a picture of what this looks like in use, I mean with a person using it. Either way, great post, I'm really going to enjoy having one.

    Great pattern Elizabeth. My sister requested one for her birthday. I made it using two fat quarters of Japanese quilting fabric, backed with pellon and lightly quilted. I used felt for the base. I attached and stuffed the pyramid before stuffing the tubes, as this meant I could attach it comfortably on the machine. Oh, and I filled it with polystyrene beads. It molds nicely to the shape of the book.

    Book Pillow.JPG

    Sounds great! Now ... if someone would only invent one that would keep my book dry when I read as I soak in the tub ....

    That could work, but you have to make sure to stuff it really full. If you do one this way let me know! I'd love to hear about the results.

    I so have to make (at least) one of those :) Awesome, I had seen a similar one for sale somewhere, readymade and way too design priced and too ready for my taste.

    Unfortunately, a Kindle costs a wee bit more than this book pillow, and is not yet a make-it-yourself project. Or is it ??? Got an Instructable for one ?? :-)

    I was going to make a hands-free book reading device (after seeing a piece of moulded plastic not unlike a coat hanger on sale in Borders for about $4 to do the same job), but yours is way better than mine was going to be.

    1 reply

    Thanks! Yeah, I like this because it is something you can put on your lap and doesn't rely on just the book to stand up.