Zafu Meditation Pillow :: How to Make Your Own

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Want to meditate and do more yoga in the new year? Learn how easy (and inexpensive) it is to make your own zafu meditation pillows. Get started!! Follow the easy, illustrated instructions at and make your own zafus! OM!!!!

What’s a Zafu?

A zafu meditation pillow is a firm, high cushion that is specially designed for seated meditation and certain types of yoga. Call it meditation pillow, meditation seat or meditation cushion …, the official term is ‘zafu’. Or zafus for plural.

How to Make Your Own Zafu Meditation pillow

Free Sewing Tutorial with Instructions to make zafus *!

how to make a zafu mediation pillow

Materials Needed to make your own Zafu Meditation Pillow


It’s best to use organic cotton fabric. How much fabric you’ll need is:

  • One fabric Length of 59 inches, 6 inches to 9 inches wide (depending on how high you would like your cushion to be).
  • Two circles of fabric, each with a diameter of 11 inches to 13 inches (depending on how large around you would like your cushion to be.)

    The Best Filling for Zafu Meditation Pillows

    You’ll need Kapok fiber for your pillow filling (or buckwheat hulls for a firmer seat. Click this orange image to order your kapok now:
    kapok zafu meditation pillow BE SURE TO use our exclusive Carolina Morning discount code of 0012310. YOU will get 5% off your first order if you do. Plus, they give us a little kick-back too. We both win. Thank you for using our Carolina Morning discount code. How Much Kapok do you need??

    Free Step-by-step Tutorial to make your own Zafu Meditation Pillow

    • STEP 1. Pleat the length of cloth. I suggest you make 3/4″-pleats, 3 inches apart.

      To clarify: this is how that will work out over the width of your fabric:
      PLEAT 1: 6.5 + 3 x .75 = 8.75″ of fabric
      PLEAT 2-10: 9 x (3 + (3 x .75))= 9 x 5.25″ = 47.25″
      PLEAT 11: the closing overlap = about 3″
      Total: 59″ (i.e. the width of your fabric).

      How To Pleat
      a) Beginning 6-1 /2 inches from the left edge of the length, make three marks, 3/4 inch apart, thus marking out the first pleat:

      free pattern step-by-step instructions meditation pillow

      Three inches after the first set of pleat markings, make the second set, as indicated above. Continue doing this till you have used up the width of your fabric. When you finish, the last pleat marking should be about 3 inches from the right edge. (If you wish to have narrower pleats, of course, simply increase the number of pleats.)

      b) Next, iron the pleats and pin them. They should all be folded and ironed in toward the left-hand side. For each set of pleat markings, fold the third in toward the first as shown, and then pin as shown at below:

      free patttern meditation pillow

    • STEP 2. Now, having completed the first step, take the right edge of the pleated strip cloth and pin it to the left end of the strip, 3-1/4 inches from the left edge:

      free pattern meditation cushions step 3

    • STEP 3. Mark each circle of cloth at four equi-distant points. Turn pleated length of cloth inside out. Pin each circle to the pleated strip, one circle to the top edge and one to the bottom edge, at each of the four points:

      how to make a zafu meditation pillow

    • STEP 4. Next, pin all pleats into the circles, top and bottom. Sew the circles to the length of cloth:

      free sewing pattern meditation pillow

    • STEP 5. Turn inside out and stuff with kapok or buckwheat hulls (through opening in the side that the zafu will have) It’s best to use a lot of stuffing material. Kapok will slowly compress with use and buckwheat hulls eventually breakdown:

      how to make a Zafu Meditation Pillow

      Sew a zipper in the opening so you can easily refill it as and when needed.

    * Our pattern is adapted from the reference: “To Forget the Self: An Illustrated Guide to Zen Meditation” by John Daishin Buksbazen, published by the Zen Center of Los Angeles; a book which is now out-of-print. Via


    How to Make a Zafu Meditation Pillow – NEXT STEPS

    How much Kapok or Buckwheat Hulls to make this zafu?
    Where to buy Kapok or Buckwheat Hulls to make your own zafus, or buy ready-made zen meditation pillows, zabutons and futons
    Why buy kapok rather than cotton?

    Eco-friendly Cushions, Pillows and Beds

    You can also buy ready-made zafu meditation pillows at Caroline Morning. If you mention in the ‘where did you hear about us’-box and use our Carolina Morning coupon code of 0012310, your 5% discount applies to everything you order: $6 worth, $60 worth, or $600 worth!

    Mention and USE CODE 0012310 to order now.

    Or just browse and have fun.

  • Comments

    1. Those would be great to have sitting around for game night! Great tute! Thanks for posting … I’ve added a link. Check it out and add a few links of your own!

    2. Hi, I want to make a zafu for my husband – does anyone know roughly how much kapok I will need (by weight) to fill it if I’m using this pattern?


    3. Fine Craft Guild says:

      I don’t know, but I am asking around for you and will let you know when a smart person answers me with what you need to know. Meanwhile, I have 2 considerations for you:
      1. Kapok is light weight, and it expands when warm, say, when in the sun. So, you will want to consider that.
      2. I know that Kapok is a healthy material, so it is ‘approved’ ha ha …. but seriously, I’d like you/all readers to consider making a recycled materials center, such as old clothing, towels, or similar.

    4. My uncle is impossible to find gifts for. He spends 4 hours a day meditating. This is perfect!! Thanks so much for the idea!

    5. where can i find a paper pattern for a zabuton and a zafu? with a pattern I can digitize it and make them to the size I need. thank you

    6. My pleats are all 3/4″ deep. Each pleat is 3″ from the next. I got 12 pleats out of 59 “, not 14.
      I had to enlarge pleats, not ease the fabric, in order to fit the pleated strip to an 11” circle.
      QUESTION: With this pattern, will buckwheat hulls stay inside, not spill out of the slit?

    7. In step one, marking out the pleats, im having trouble ending up with 14 pleats and with 3 imces on the right side. Does it say start with “six and one half inches” from the left or does it say start “six to one, half inches from the left. I always end up with 12 pleats and less than two inches on the right. My cloth is ~60 inches long. When you do the math, this makes sense. 59 – 6&(1/2) = 52&(1/2) divied by (3 inches + (2*(3/4))) <12. Maybe i am understanding this completely wrong. Someone please explain? Thank you!

    8. Thanks for sharing this tutorial—these are not very easy to locate online!

      I have featured this on my blog post, 7 Tips for Creating a Sacred Space in Your Home, and have linked back to your page.

    9. Audrey Ryan, says:

      This is awesome!!! Thank you for sharing this tutorial. It looks easy very easy, i wonder if it’s really easy to make when in real situation. :) Anyhow, i really love to meditate with cushions underneath because it gives me comfort and relaxation. Thus, making me concentrate with my meditation and achieve mindfullness and enlightenment at the end of the day.

    10. How nice ! My husband started meditating, so it will be a really nice gift :)
      Thanks for your tutorial !
      I have a question: how much kapok do I need for one cushion? I mean about 1 pound, 5 pound or 10? more?
      Thanks again.

    11. Bonjour Bene!

      Thank you for your comment on the blog! How nice a gal you are for making a meditation pillow for your husband. He’ll love it. Zafus are so comfortable. You too will love having this pillow around. You’ll see.

      How much kapok do you need??! I anticipated your question and dedicated ANOTHER FULL ARTICLE on the topic of where to buy the kapok (and how much): Here it is:

      And do buy your kapok from Carolina Morning. They are THE NICEST folks on the internet. Tell them I (Rose, send you, with my promo code 0012310, and you can get yourself a nice discount.


    12. Hi Lindzy and Carole,
      You are right! I have adapted the original pattern to omit this error. Thank you for the heads up!
      Fine Craft Guild

    13. Hi Patrick, you will have to make your own paper pattern for your zafu. It is easy! Just use the measurements in this article.
      Fine Craft Guild

    14. You are welcome, Leslie!
      Fine Craft Guild

    15. Loved your tutorial! Out of all the ones floating around online I ended up following this one and my meditation pillow came out awesome, thank you! Will be sharing on my page and linking to you :)

    16. Thanks, Laura! That is VERY nice feedback to get. More tutorials of this nature will follow also! Namaste! Rose (PS Thanks for linking back too! appreciated!)

    17. I made two cushions using this pattern. I found that it’s easiest if you sew the zipper into the long piece of fabric before doing anything else. Then you can hide it in the pleats.

      Thank you for these easy to follow instructions!

    18. Sarah MacDonald says:

      Hi Rose!

      I found beautiful fabric in Botswana (fabric is from Zambia). It is polyester. Is that okay?

      How long does this take? Good starter project? I’m a novice.


    19. Hi Sarah,
      I think that you should stick with a natural fiber if you want to use it for meditation. It’s ok as a beginners project who has done one or two little things before. As well, I’m going to recommend a course to you. HOld on… I’ll get it to you

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