» 4"× 7¼" scrap fabric Silk is a tradi-
tional otedama material, but quilting
cottons may be easier to work with.
You’ll need 1 piece of scrap fabric for
each otedama you make.
» Sewing machine You can, of course,
sew your otedama together by hand.
If you do, be sure to use very small
stitches, so the filling won’t leak out.
» Small sewing needle and thread that
matches your fabric
» Filling Traditional fillings are adzuki
beans or short-grain rice.
» Long quilting pin
» Felt scraps and buttons (optional)
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod (
craftypod.com), a blog
and podcast about making stuff. She also runs DI Y Alert
diyalert.com), a website devoted to crafty things in her
hometown of Portland, Ore.
Making the Basic Otedama
1. Fold your scrap fabric in half, right sides together,
so you join the two 4" edges.
2. Adjust the stitch length on your sewing machine
to 2mm. Then sew the 2 layers of fabric together
along the 4" edge and one of the ends, using a ¼"
seam allowance, as shown in Figure A.
NOTE: I’m using contrasting thread for visibility
here; you’ll want to use matching thread.
3. Clip the corners, and press the seams open with
either your fingers or an iron.
4. Turn the otedama right side out, poking the corners
with a chopstick so they turn out nice and sharp.
5. Locate the seam at the bottom of your otedama.
This is the seam that’s opposite to the open end.
Thread a needle, and tie a knot in the thread. Pass
the needle into this seam, and bring it back out at
the corner of the otedama, as shown in Figure D.
(This step will hide your knot.)