Pillow Speaker




About: Studied Architecture at Brighton But now spend a lot of time building replica props or random gadgets.

This will show you how to make a simple pillow with two in built speakers. Like the commercially available 'Sound asleep Pillow'. This means you can plug in any audio device, Ipod, computer, etc and listen to music or watch a film without getting tangled up in earphones.

Other instructables similar to this one have put speakers in an external device, in a tin under the pillow or on a pad pinned to the top. To my knowledge this is the first instructable to install the speakers in the pillow.
Also there is the added novelty of a custom made pillow case (which glows in the dark)

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Step 1: Gather Materials

You may well have all this stuff lying around. I was making this as a gift so I decided to buy a new pillow and case.

You will need:

- Pillow & pillow case
- Old headphones, earphones are not ideal but will do
- Female 3.5mm jack connector
- Wire
- Soldering iron
- Solder
- Heat-shrink tubing
- Scissors
- Needle and thread
- 2 part epoxy or hot glue

You may need:

- Fabrics paints
- Brush
- Drill

Step 2: Paint Pillow Case

This is entirely optional, but since I was making this as a gift I thought I should dress it up a little.

I've put this first because it requires a long time to dry.

Firstly make sure your pillow case is clean and ironed. Then secure it to your work surface (with newspaper underneath, in case paint soaks through).

Then sketch out your design in pencil.
I made this 'zzz - musical notes' type design, feel free to copy it, or use your own.

You can squeeze the fabric paint straight out of the tube, but this tends to be a bit unpredictable, which lead to a large smudge :( .
After this I painted using a brush, which also allows for finer detail.

Once the black was dry I outlined my design in glow paint. You need to put this on quite thickly to see any glowing effect.

Leave your paint to dry for 24 hours then turn the case inside out and wash it to set.

Step 3: Disassemble Headphones

All headphones will be a bit different. The speakers of my headphones were attached to a black plastic plate, I took away all the other plastic, leaving the plate attached.

You may want to keep your original wires. I found them hard to solder and they were a bit fragile so I de-soldered and removed them.

Once finished you will have two identical speaker units.

My speakers have these handy holes in the base plate. If yours don't then you should drill some very small holes, careful not to damage the speaker cone.

Step 4: Soldering Together

Solder your speakers as shown below.

The wire connecting the two speakers should be about 30cm.
The other three wires should be more like 50cm

Open up the female 3.5mm jack.

There will be three contacts, one small gold contact one small silver contact, and one large clip type contact.

The ground wire should be soldered to the largest contact.
The right speaker should be soldered to the small silver contact, and the left to the small gold contact.

Heat-shrink tubing should be used to stop short circuiting.

It doesn't really matter which way round these are soldered I doubt you will notice if the stereo is inverted.

Important: Make sure the collar of the 3.5mm jack plug (the bit you unscrewed) has the 3 wires threaded through it BEFORE you solder everything! you can't put it on after.

I then laid out the speakers as they would be in the pillow, bent the wires to the appropriate sides and glued them to the base plate to stop them moving around or pulling loose

Step 5: Fixing Speakers to Pillow

Firstly mark out (in pencil) roughly where your speakers will sit.

Then, at the seam on the short edge, open up a hole to allow you to put the speakers in.

Note: The speakers should be facing into the pillow, i.e they are facing away from you in the picture. The speakers are being attached to the underside of the pillow

Once roughly in place you can begin to sew them to the back of the pillow (using holes made earlier).
This can be a bit tricky you will probably need one hand inside the pillow to pass the needle back through.

Once both speakers are in place, you can cut a very small hole just above the seam (see picture) and screw together the jack plug. Make sure to trap some of the fabric in the screw to keep it in place.

Now you can stitch up the hole you've made (test the speakers are still working before you close up).

I have no idea what stitch its best (I used that one where you go over the top). But this will also be hidden :)

Step 6: Finish Pillow Case

This isn't really necessary either, but since I'd gone to the trouble of putting in a nice neat jack plug, it seamed a shame to hide it away.

I began by cutting a cross over the place where the jack plug would be. Then folded it back and stitched it in place. Not sure how well it'll hold up but it
doesn't look too bad.

Step 7: Finished

Now all you have to do is plug in your favourite audio device and drift blissfully off to sleep, If the crazy glowing doesn't keep you awake :s .

(crazy glowing picture will be added as soon I get the pillow back from my brother for a night)



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    21 Discussions


    4 years ago

    What is use of opening the headphones, we can use it without opening it to.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    WHERE do you get a female audio jack like that?! I looked in every electronic store that might have them around me, and on ebay, but I can't find them!! Please help!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4


    I bought mine from maplin, you'll have trouble finding it anywhere other than an electronics component store.


    But I did find one on eBay, try searching "3.5mm socket component"


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea, i just finished making one! everyone i have shown it to wants me to make one for them now.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    To my speaker pillow I made a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl8S_XNv0Iw


    9 years ago on Step 5

    This is really cool but i dont understand how the adapter is going to connect to the ipod...

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

     Using a male to male jack plug, like this one:


    There are obviously other ways to do it (why not attach a male plug directly to the pillow?) but I wanted to be able to remove the cable ,so that it's not in the way, when I'm not using it. 
    Also it allows me to connect different lengths / types of cable.

    hope that helps,

     okay, so why would you need the 3.5 mm jack? couldn't you just plug your ipod into the headphone jack?? just wondering, sorry if i'm being naive; i really don't know much about this sort of stuff.

    2 replies

    You're right it's not necessary but I chose to do it for this project.

    The wires that come attached to the headphones are normally thin and flimsy, as well as being way too short for what i wanted. So I removed the original jack.

    I could have attached longer wires and a new jack, but I decided to do it this way(with a socket and extension cable) so that I could detach the cable when it wasn't in use, making the whole thing neater.

     ohh. well i just made this pillow, and i love it! i just poked the original (pretty long) cord out the hole. but since i couldn't find a spot on my speakers to drill holes for sewing, i ripped apart an old sock and made a little pouch around each speaker that could then be sewn into the pillow. great instructable, works great!


    9 years ago on Step 5

    so if you put the speakers on the back then the sound should be being projected the opposite way when your head is on the pillow like if the pillow is on a bed the the sound is supposed to be being projected towards the bed and not towards your head?
    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    No, you face the speakers into the pillow. So the sound travels through the pillow and toward your head.

    The speakers are paced on the back, partly because they would be uncomfortable to lie your head on, but also to muffle the sound slightly. This way only the person with their head on the pillow will hear the noise, no one else.


    You shouldn't need to wash the pillow, That's the idea of a pillowcase. You just remove the case and wash it, and the pillow itself shouldn't get dirty. Unless you spill something on it, but then that's your fault for trying sleep and drink at the same time :)


    The Idea is that only the person resting on the pillow can hear the sound. When you are using it it can go pretty loud. The quality will depend mostly on the speakers, there is no noticeable drop in quality from the sound having to travel through the pillow.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I bought a pair of cheap headphones at the 99c store. I'm trying this out with a zipper so I can take the speakers out and wash the pillow as well. Great ible


    10 years ago on Step 6

    I personally would leave this step out, have you considered putting the jack plug near the end of the pillow? that way you could use the pillow cases opening and not have to do anything differently.. Just an idea.