Eye pillows are a beautiful way to add luxury and relaxation into your day without having to invest a whole lot of money. We love to use eye pillows for meditation and general relaxation. Blacking out the light from your eyes helps you to go inwards and have a deeper mediation whilst the herbs inside the eye mask help your body to relax.
If you don't currently have an eye pillow for your meditations, or moments for relaxation we hope you take some time to make one for yourself.
This tutorial if for a food dyed linen eye pillow, however if you want to skip the dying process, just source a fabric with natural fibres and is ideally organic.
What you will need:
For Dying the Fabric
Small piece of linen fabric (at least 30cm x 30cm)
Food scraps: we used avocado pits and skin & red onion peel
Pot with water
For the Pillow
Calico or other light cotton fabric for cushion insert
Ruler & pencil
Needle and thread
To Fill the Pillow
1/2 cup organic buckwheat groats (ideally locally grown)
1/3 cup herbs: we used lavender, calendula, chamomile, elderflower and chickweed
Stage 1: Dyeing the Fabric
Collect your food scraps to dye with. We used avocado pips, skin and onion skin however depending on the colour you're after you could also use any of the following.
Note anything marked with * = a fixative is required.
Avocado Pips & Skin: Dusty Pink Colour
Red Onion Skin: Pale Pink *
Brown Onion: Orange *
Black Bean Water: Blue *
Black Tea or Coffee Grinds: Brown
Cabbage: Purple *
Beetroot: Pink *
Charcoal Powder: Grey
Creating the Fixative
If the dye you have chosen requires a mordant, which is essentially to help the colour to stay in the fabric after washing, you can use the following mordants:
White Vinegar - 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.
Salt - 1 parts salt to 16 parts water
Baking Soda - 1/4 cup baking soda to 2 litres of water
Once you've chosen your fixative, bring to the boil and add in the fabric and simmer for about an hour
Creating the Dye
Whilst you're simmering the fabric in the fixative, start on the dye.
As a general rule, you want to use 1 parts raw materials to 2 parts water. Here we used 2 cups of scraps to 1 cups of water.
Bring almost to the boil and then reduce to simmer for an hour.
After an hour, check the colour in a clear glass. Keep the scraps in for longer if you want more colour.
Once you're happy with the colour, strain the liquid into a bowl and put the scraps into the compost.
Dying the Fabric
Once your fabric has simmered in the fixative for an hour, place into the dye saucepan still wet. Allow to simmer in the dye colour for an hour, check the colour. If you're happy with the colour remove the fabric, if you want a darker colour, allow it to sit for longer.
When you're happy with the colour take he fabric out and dry in the sunshine.
This is the colour we got!
Stage 2: Making The Eye Pillow
Cut your fabric pieces according to the above pattern.
Sewing the Inner Pillow:
Place the two pieces of calico or inner fabric, one on top of the other & stitch with 1 cm seam allowance. Leave a gap of 3-4cm along one of the long edges as this will be where you insert your herb mixture.
Once sewn, cut off the four corners (without cutting the stitching) this will make the edges easier to turn.
Then turn the right way round like so:
Take your dried herbs of choice, you'll need about 1/3 cup in total. Here is what we used:
Calendula: Incredible for healing the skin, can enhance eye health and assists with divine dreaming.
Elderflower: A wonderful anti-inflammatory that can also help to reduce congestion in the sinuses
Chamomile: Relieves tension in the mind and body, creates a sense of inner peace
Chickweed: Traditionally used for its skin soothing benefits.
Lavender: Great for calming the nervous system, and accessing a meditative state (crown chakra)
You'll also need to add 1/2 cup of organic buckwheat groats to the mix.
Fill your pillow 3/4 of the way full. You want to allow for movements so it can be flattened over the eyes.
Then take your needle and thread and stitch up the hole like so.
Creating the Outer Cover
You might like to create some embroidery on the front of your eye mask. If so, you'll need to do that before you sew the outer cover pieces together. We created this embroidery by hand which is very easy to do!
Begin by sewing the short edge of the two smaller pieces.
Fold the seam over twice and then topstitch like this:
Then lay the three pieces together right sides facing. I.e. place the 20cm side with the embroidery face up & the two 13cm pieces right sides facing down, with sewn edges overlapping in the middle.
Then sew all the way around with a 1cm seam allowance.
Then cut off the four corners as with the first pillow.
And turn the right side out.
Place the inner pillow into the case & you're done!
Enjoy your meditation and a deep restful sleep