My Pillow, Guys

I’m a bit baffled by the attention that Americans pay to pillows. Don’t get me wrong: I love a great big pile of pillows to sleep in, but on youtube I’ve seen adds for cubic pillows, weird conforming pillows, and elsewhere anime-print pillows of sexy girls. And then there’s “mypillow guy” arch MAGA-head.

It seems to me that his great innovation was buying scrap closed-cell foam and having it shredded, then using it to fill pillows. That’s not exactly brilliant.

Here’s a recipe for wonderful pillows. My bed has 2 of these, and 2 regular pillows (goose feathers and down) – I wanted the bead pillows because you can push them into shape and they stay but don’t reflect a ton of heat.

The micro-beads are a bit of a pain to get hold of. Some craft stores sell them, but it’s generally easier to buy them online. [amazon] And your local post office will hate you if the box leaks, because then there are tiny little styrofoam beads clinging to everything with static electricity. To complete the project, I use a pair of micro-plush “pillow protectors” – basically, a pillow overcase or condom.

Fill one of the overcases, then zip it up and put it zipper-end first into the other. Now you have 2 layers arranged so that if there is a bead leak the little bastards will have to sneak around from one end of the outer pillow case to the other. And that’s it!

I’m being silly, of course, but I will say: these pillows are great if you know someone who is getting old and creaky, who needs something they can scrunch into a particular position, that won’t move around. The beads are interesting; as long as you have some weight on them, they mechanically lock against eachother and don’t move. But when you want to squish them around, they move easily. My ageing parents are fond of what I can only call “bad chairs” – chairs that don’t support your arms or back where they ought to – and my father used to pack squooshy pillows around himself to get comfortable. After my offer to replace the chair was rejected, I provided a few of these pillows, which are now a mandatory accessory.

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I ruthlessly stole this idea from one of those “neck beanbags for travelers” – the horseshoe-shaped thingies full of microbeads. I thought, “it would be nice to have a whole pillow of this stuff!” and that was that. There are a few companies that offer them pre-made, but they’re about 3x what a DIY version costs and with the DIY you get to decide how tightly you want it filled.

I use about a bag and a half of the micro-beads in one of my pillows. The ones I made for my parents have two bags.


  1. seachange says

    I got a five foot diameter beanbag filled with shredded memory foam. It is easily shapable into a single bed or a two-person couch. It is warm, but I like that is is. I have lived most of my life in California and to me cold really sucks (in the bad way).

    Once the shreds of memory foam memorize where they are in relation to where the other shreds are it stays in place until you knock them loose to reconfigure.

    I find it supportive of my cranky old hurty bits in a way that microbeads are not. The cost of the thing is high, but so are micro beads and it is huge it would fill a LOT of your pillows.

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