Looking for some eco-friendly pillow-construction suggestions.
March 11, 2008 2:28 PM   Subscribe

I have a yen to make cool throw pillows to eventually sell, but I'm lost when it comes to eco-friendly materials. Help me, Mefites!

OK, so how hard could making pillows be, right? I have an idea for making screenprinted pillows using my illustrations and such-- I have the screenprinting plans down pat more or less but when it comes to materials I'm having some troubles.

Specifically, I'd like to veer away from pillow-forms, and I'd like to go eco-friendly if I can without being too cost prohibitive (I've never been the type of person to charge or spend $90 for a pillow, y'know?). I read a little about buckwheat and kapok, which seem kind of expensive and extra flammable... I thought there must be some kind of recycled material used as stuffing/batting, but Google's failing me-- maybe I'm using the wrong terms. So what are my options? I know if I plan to sell them I can't go tear apart old pillows (and actually given what I just read about mites.... ick), but what else could I use that would stuff a pillow comfortably without being superlumpy or heavy? I read some things about clothing scraps, but that seems like it'd be lumpy.

Also, if you were going to buy a pillow like this, what would you want the outside to be made of? I'm thinking a sturdy but soft cotton, or twill or something-- something that can take a little abuse but still feel comfortable, and be a solid color, not patterned. Bonus points if you can refer me to an eco-friendly or recycled fabric source!
posted by actionpact to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Something like this might be good. Apartment Therapy has a post on natural pillow alternatives that might give you some ideas.
posted by logic vs love at 2:48 PM on March 11, 2008

Perhaps this is too easy of an idea, but what about making them out of upcycled materials from Goodwill? Buy drapes, shirts, etc there and make your pillows out of them (stuffed with rice, if they're smaller? Or perhaps recycled synthetic foam at ~$12 a cubic foot? Stray socks, possibly also purchased at the Goodwill emporium, can also be turned into stuffing, and cheap stuffing at that. Several places stuff their products with recycled plastic bottles turned into soft pellets, but they don't seem to sell the stuffing alone. When you finish, sell them on etsy!
posted by arnicae at 3:20 PM on March 11, 2008

Best answer: Here's some polyfill made from recycled plastic bottles.
posted by padraigin at 4:05 PM on March 11, 2008

oooh, go padraigin!
posted by arnicae at 5:07 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: Good idea so far, everybody! I'm curious about the recycled stuff especially. Thanks! Keep 'em coming :)
posted by actionpact at 5:19 PM on March 11, 2008

Along the line of reusing and recycling, try looking specifically for quilts and comforters at Goodwill and other thrift stores - you can take them apart to wash and reuse the batting, stuffing, etc. inside.
posted by bassjump at 5:57 PM on March 11, 2008

Not to sound like a germophobe, but I'm not sure I'd buy a pillow made with recycled clothes or bedding. A handmade seat cushion or purse out of recycled fabric? Sure. But a decorative throw pillow that I might rest my head on? Probably not. Love the PET bottle polyfill idea, though, because it's "new".

Hmm, how about this? Along the lines of arnicae's idea, what if you offered the customer the option of purchasing just the pillow case/cover itself? You could write up instructions--a pdf online plus a pamphlet to be packaged with the item--on how they can use their own unneeded t-shirts and socks to fill it. So eco and sooo DIY. I personally would love to receive something like this as a gift. Maybe you could include a thin cotton zippered inner casing.

As for the outer casing, bamboo satin! (Be sure to find a reputable source.)
posted by QueSeraSera at 8:51 PM on March 12, 2008

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