Making A Pincushion: New and Improved!


Hello everyone, sometime last August I went about making myself a pincushion. It was made around a matchbox because I wanted there to be storage for embroidery scissors and thread so it would be convenient for taking to and from school as well as the various spots I work in in the house.


Not to my surprise this pincushion didn’t hold up very well, being made of thin flimsy cardboard and all. I waited until the semester was over before making a new one. This time I took a bit of inspiration by two things I saw on Etsy. My new one is a bit of old mixed with some new. Let me explain.


I knew I needed a sturdier box to hold or support my pincushion because cardboard wasn’t doing anything. I also knew I might have to give up on the sliding drawer idea because it is difficult to cover a box with a seamless pillow and still maintain a functional drawer beneath it. I found something very similar to this on Etsy made of wood, however it cost 70$. That is more than what I want to spend on a pincushion. So a regular repurposed box with a lid would have to suffice, but ideally this regular box had a lid on a hinge rather than a separate one.


Also on Etsy I saw these vintage tins that had pincushion inside them. These were great though overpriced to me, also some of the tins were a bit too deep for my uses, for example I don’t want to be loosing too many sewing needles to a hungry pincushion (I found at least 40 needles that had been eaten over the years in my Mom’s pincushion that is just a tiny pillow in a basket) and I didn’t think they looked like they had enough space to fit all the pins I’d need or want.  This made me narrow down my options to a shallow box with a hinge.


I sat on this thought for a while, thinking about which tin I could use. I have old twinning tea tins but they are too deep, I have round tins which are either too shallow or too big. I had one tin that would have been perfect but it was being occupied by my garden seeds… So they had to move, the seeds got an upgrade in the form of an actual seed storage box that I made for a paper making class that I took! This is the seeds new home:


And the tin I was left with is one of my favourite colours, has a hinge lid, and it stronger than cardboard! All I had to do was make sure my embroidery needles and a large spool of thread could fit into the box (they did) and then make a tiny pillow type thing to fit into the box.


I didn’t make a true pillow because I wanted the cushion part of the pincushion to be secure in the box and not jangle about or to be able to swallow needles easily. It had to be similar to my matchbox pincushion and have a flat surface with a pillow attached, so I took a scrap piece of illustration board and cut it to the dimensions I wanted, made sure it was square, or rectangle rather… I just didn’t want funky corners here. Once I had my board I used a piece of scrap fabric from a shirt I had made, cut it to fit my rectangle with about two inches of excess to make room for the pillow. I hot glued one edge of the fabric lengthways to the board, then the parallel side being sure to keep slack in the fabric to form the pillow.  Then I started stuffing the cardboard-fabric tube structure with a combination of cornsilk fibre and regular pillow stuffing, I find the mix gives a good pincushion that is neither too soft (they swallow needles very easily) or too hard. After I stuffed it full I hot glued the two ends down to seal in the stuffing. And lastly I used hot glue again to hold and nestle the cushion into the tin! Voilà!


After that I transferred all my pins and needles to the new pincushion, added my scissors and thread and happily closed the lid and carried it off. And we’ve lived happily ever after ever since! This pincushion is much sturdier than the last one I made and i don’t think it will break soon, which is a relief. I hope this inspired you or at least you found this interesting!


Until next time,

L. C. Cariou







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