Craft ideas

Sewing reading bones – tips, instructions and patterns for free


If you read a lot, this project is just the thing for you: sewing a reading bone! What is a reading bone? This is a neck pillow in the shape of a bone that can be used in a variety of ways. How do I sew a reading bone? Just read on! This project is absolutely suitable for beginners. Then you dare! Why not sew a comfortable neck pillow for your mom for Mother’s Day?

How to use a reading bone?


Quite a few people dream of having their own library in which they can withdraw. Unfortunately, this wish simply fails because there is not enough space in your own four walls. A small reading corner is often a nice compromise solution. A comfortable armchair with a shelf for your feet, a side table, a floor lamp with a movable head, a bookcase on the wall – the reading corner should radiate a lot of cosiness. To make it really comfortable, a small neck pillow is missing.

reading bone-zipper-washable-fabric

The reading bone offers support in at least three different positions: as an accountant pillow, wedge pillow or neck pillow. As the perfect back support, the bone allows you to sit upright in bed or on the sofa. Very comfortable for reading or watching TV.

The bone prevents tension in the neck and also offers great protection against sore knees as a knee cushion. The bone is a great support for books and tablets. If you don’t want to hold a thick book in your hand all the time, just lean against the book.

Since the reading bones look great, they are also perfect as decorative pillows on the sofa in the living room. The design is very individual and can of course also be a nice homemade gift for bookworms.

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Your questions answered and explained!

How big is a reading bone? The standard reading bone is 40 cm long and 20 cm high. The dimensions can of course vary individually. For example 45 cm long and 22 cm high. The size 38 cm x 25 cm is also welcome.

How much material do I need for a reading bone? You can use three different fabrics for each side, but they should also harmonize well with each other. For example: 50 cm x 35 cm plain cotton fabric, 50 cm x 35 cm cotton fabric with a geometric pattern and 50 cm x 35 cm cotton fabric with flowers. So about 3 pieces of fabric with the dimensions 50 cm x 35 cm or one large piece – 1.50 m.

It is best for beginners to use cotton fabrics. If you wish, you can also design one side of the pillow with a cozy fleece fabric. Fleece does not fray.

Patchwork reading bones

Do you fancy color and cheeky designs that can convince with varied patterns? Then you shouldn’t miss the current patchwork trend. The term patchwork comes from English and means “patchwork”. This technique allows fabric scraps of different materials, patterns and colors to be used that look equally good in a team. The patches are sewn together next to each other (mosaic patchwork) and on top of each other (appliqué) to create a new textile. If you want to create a specific motif on your pillow, you can use the application technique.

With the patchwork reading bone, you can simply sew individual pieces of fabric together as you like. For example: Cut 15 squares of 10 × 10 cm per piece of fabric and then sew them together. You need a total of 3 pieces of fabric, i.e. 45 squares made of different fabrics.

This variant takes more time and is rather unsuitable for beginners.

Filling material for reading bones

reading bone-stuffing-polyester-washable

It is best to use hypoallergenic fillers. The material must not be too soft or too hard and should also maintain its shape. Synthetic wadding, which is usually made of 100 percent polyester, is well suited. It is very soft and the pillow remains incredibly light. This cotton wool can also be washed in the washing machine. A trick: you can also use a couple of inexpensive IKEA pillows as filling. Just cut it open, take out the filling material and stuff it into your pillow.

How much cotton wool for reading bones? The pillow needs to be properly filled so that it takes the desired shape. Note, however, that if the pillow is filled too tightly, it may not be as comfortable as expected.

Reading bone with zipper

If you want, you can also add snaps or a zipper to the pillow. The cover can be easily removed and washed. While the cover is in the washing machine, the wadding can simply be temporarily stored in a bag. By the way, there are beautiful decorative zippers on the market in every imaginable color that don’t necessarily have to be hidden. Simply sew on instead of sewn in! With a filigree lace pattern, for example, they are an absolute eye-catcher! So the zipper can also be in the middle of the pillow.

Sewing instructions for reading bones


Required material:

  • Cotton fabric (3 x 0.5 m or 1.5 m)
  • Matching sewing thread
  • Pattern for printing
  • Fiberfill
  • Scissors, pins, tape, marker pen
  • sewing machine
  • Optional: matching tape for handles – 60 cm long and 2 cm wide

The pattern must be printed out 4 times. Cut out the template and glue them together. You will then need 3x fabric bones.

You can also glue fleece to all pieces of fabric and iron it in for a few seconds.


The template is ready


Lay all three fabrics on top of each other, attach the template with needles and cut to size. To the left and right, where the asterisks are marked, cut another small V out of the fabric.



Now two boils are placed right sides together and one half is sewn from V to V. Mark with pins where you want to start and stop sewing. A seam allowance of 1 cm is normally recommended.


Then fold one half of the fabric up, place the third piece of fabric on it, also right side down, and sew one half from V to V again.


When sewing the third piece of fabric together, the ribbons can also be sewn in. Take the tape twice and place it between the fabrics – in the middle on a V-mark, with the open ends facing outwards, the loop pointing inwards.

reading bones-sewing-instructions-handles

Now place the two sides that are still open and sew them shut. In the third seam, leave an opening approx. 5 cm long in the middle. Whether a

on the side or on the bottom as you prefer.

Turn the shell of the reading bone over and stuff it with polyfill until the bone is nicely full. Then sew the reversible opening shut with a ladder stitch.


So briefly again the instructions in a few steps:

  • Print out the pattern, cut it out and glue it together
  • Using the template, cut 3 pieces of fabric
  • Sew 2 pieces of fabric together halfway
  • Sew the third piece of fabric halfway onto one side
  • Sew up the last open side and leave a turning opening
  • turn around
  • stuff with polyfill
  • Close the turning opening

Reading bone is now ready!


Alternative to the reading bone for books, e-books, tablets and mobile phones

One of the advantages of the reading bone is its versatility. The pillow is great for many uses. There is one disadvantage: the reading bone should be able to hold a book and must therefore be tightly packed. A neck pillow that is too hard or too soft can quickly lead to tension and pain in the neck area. But if you only want to use the reading bone as a neck support, then we have an alternative to reading ready for you: bookend in beanbag look! You can buy these online or sew them yourself. You can find detailed instructions here.


This support is also a great gift for people who like to read eBooks, because an e-reader fits just as easily as a paper book. You can insert the e-reader in portrait and landscape format. In a smaller format, the sack can also be used as a mobile phone holder. For larger devices, the cut should be individually adapted.