Make a wonderful DIY Zafu with humble buckwheat hulls

Sewing Patterns

Long time Reader Andrea Cunningham send me her story about her adventures in DIY Zafu making with buckwheat hulls. And I thought to it would be share it with you today, to encourage you to make one too. We all can do with a bit of extra meditation. And knowing how to reuse materials in today’s economic and climate crisis is a must- have skill, I think.

Interested to learn how you can make a genuine meditation pillow with buckwheat hulls for under $8? Read on.

DIY Zafu with Buckwheat Hulls

DIY zafu buckwheat hulls,
DIY zafu buckwheat hulls, – Photo: Andrea Cunningham

“I used your zafu meditation pillow pattern to make my cushion from an old pair of jeans.” wrote Andrea. Here are some more details of her sewing journey:

“I used 12 1/2 inch circles for the top and bottom and 8 1/2 inch strips for the sides with 5/8 inch seams everywhere.

It was pretty easy to use that heavy-duty fabric, thanks to this little trick: Ironing the pleats I made them! It encouraged the heavy fabric to be more cooperative for pinning and stitching.

DIY Zafu Pillow with Buckwheat Hulls, – Photo: Andrea Cunningham

Managing Buckwheat Hulls

I made an inside bag for the buckwheat out of an old sheet, just a big square bag, so that the buckwheat wouldn’t come out the slit under the handle.

Pleading Tip

I made a second zafu from a pair of wide-wale corduroy trousers, with the same-sized circles but 7 ½ wide sides.  The pins I have are not very strong, so I tried using masking tape (cheap paper tape usually used for house painting) to hold down all the pleats before running a wide stitch along the whole edge.  That was so much easier than pinning.

DIY Zafu Meditation Cushion Filling

The hardest part by far in making these was locating reasonably priced buckwheat hulls for the meditation cushion filling. The ones I found online either made the project close to the cost of buying a zafu, or the shipping charges tripled the price (like $21 for 10 pounds, but then shipping was another $40). I finally found them at my local Natural Grocers for $1.59 per pound (in the body-care section, not the bulk-foods section). Five pounds was enough for the denim zafu and four for the slightly smaller corduroy one.

I had the old jeans, old sheet, sewing machine, and thread. So I spent five times $1.59, which is $7.95 plus tax, total for the denim zafu. It took about three hours because I am not good at sewing and I had to unstitch a few things along the way. Taking the jeans apart took a while too.

I bought the corduroys at a thrift store for $2.00 and I was quicker with practice.  The cords were not triple stitched like jeans, so easier to disassemble.  That one took about two hours. Total cost: $8.36 plus tax.

Bonus Pattern: DIY HeatPack with Buckwheat Microwaveable Hulls

DIY Heatpack Sewing Instructions with Buckwheat filling, – Photo: Andrea Cunningham

I bought some other fabric at the thrift store for $1.00 and made one of those buckwheat microwavable pillows.  I used actual buckwheat, not the hulls for the heatpack.

It’s 25 inches long and 7 inches wide.  Since the fabric wasn’t very thick, I doubled it to insulate the heat a little better. 

As you can see in the illustration, this pillow also has a liner with some baffles. This keeps the buckwheat from shifting around too much. 

It took three pounds of buckwheat which I also got from Natural Grocers in the bulk food section.”

Happy Stitching, Andrea

And there you have it. DIY zafu meditation pillows with buckwheat hulls. Here you have 3 variations of the theme. Andrea did a fantastic job with the pattern and her tips are great. Thank you so much, Andrea for sharing this with us!

I encourage many readers, particularly those whom I give free extra help to with their projects, to send in some photos. It’s really nice when readers actually do. If you too made something with a pattern featured on FineCraftGuild, please do share your photos also. And who knows, you might become the next ‘Star Seamstress in the Spotlight’, like Andrea today.

Copyright notice: all photo originals are by Andrea Cunningham.

Ready-made Zafu Pillows

Ready-made, High-quality Zafu Meditation Pillows,
Made with peace and love in the US mountains by Carolina Mornings

And btw. IF you like the idea of getting yourself a meditation pillow but this project is still a bit beyond you, then I highly recommend buying one from Carolina Morning (here), who also sell high quality and reasonable priced zafu fillings for your meditation sewing projects:

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