All About Pincushions

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Earlier this week I shared this quick pincushion that I made, on Instagram (I'm @jenib320). It was a 15 minute project made with scraps. Anytime I write or post photos about pincushions, I always get questions about how I fill them, close them, etc. So, I thought I'd make one big post with all that information in one easy to find spot! If you've ever had questions about making pincushions, I hope this will be helpful!

What I Use for Pincushion Filling

I use crushed walnut shells to fill almost all of my pincushions. It is used as litter for pet lizards! I usually pick it up at a local pet store, but you can also order it online* too. A big bag will last a while, so you may want to split one with a friend!

Above: Dumpling Pincushion Pattern* by Julia Williams of Alchemy Tea.

I keep it in a big 2-gallon ziploc bag. I store a plastic funnel and a plastic spoon (free princess cereal spoon for the win!), right in the bag too. This way I don't have to wrangle the tools every time I want to make a pincushion.

I've also filled pincushions with fiberfill in the past, but I prefer the crushed walnut shells*. It gives pincushions such a nice weight and they can double as pattern weights when I'm cutting out garments!

How I Close My Pincushions

For an invisible closure, you could use a ladder stitch to close your pincushion opening. Personally, I am terrible at this stitch (and impatient), so I like to use a small whip stitch instead. It's quick and if you use a coordinating thread it's not super noticeable.

How to Make a Sturdy Pincushion

If you're planning to actually use your pincushion for pins rather than just for display, you may want to stabilize the pincushion top so that it hold up longer! Depending on the pincushion, I've used light-weight interfacing like SF101, medium-weight interfacing like fusible fleece, or quilt batting. It's a good way to use up those small scraps! This also gives you an opportunity to add extra detail with some quilting. Want to make it even more substantial? Quilt the backing too!

How to Make a Pincushion Out of a Dish

I've made a number of pincushions out of small containers like egg cups, candle holders, jars, little baking tins, and even a sponge holder! These can take a little fiddling with to get just right, but they're pretty easy to make. Start with a piece of fabric (usually cut in a circle) about two inches in diameter larger than the opening you're filling. Then run a quick running stitch around the circle and leave a long tail. Place fiberfill in the center and pull on the thread tails to cinch and create a little puff. Then you can test the fit in your object and add more filling or take some away. Once you're happy, knot the threads and use some hot glue to secure the fabric in place.

How I Display My Pincushions

My favorite way to display my pincushion collection is on this shallow wall shelf that I made with my Dad. It's not super deep, but can hold a lot! It's very similar in size to my thread shelf, which you can find a short tutorial for here: DIY Thread Storage Shelf.

Currently, I have my collection tucked into a cubby of my Expedit. I have a shelf in there to give me two levels of display. I'm hoping to get my shelf hung soon!

My Pincushion Tutorials

Triangular Log Cabin Pincushion Tutorial

Half-Square Triangle Pincushion Tutorial

Hexagon Pincushion Tutorial

Hexagon Ring Pincushion Tutorial

More Pincushion Inspiration

Happy Sewing!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.


  1. They are so cute. Thanks for the info..

  2. Hi Jenni,
    Your pincushions are adorable. Thanks for posting this. I enjoy following you on Instagram. I make my pincushions the same way. Sew much fun.Cheryl ๐Ÿงต

  3. That's quite the collection of pin cushions. Love it!!

  4. I love to see your collection of pincushions.

  5. Oh Jeni, these are adorable.
    I do love the crushed walnut shells. I did buy a big bag at Petco.... well, the smallest bag they had of course.
    Your pincushions are beautiful

  6. Thanks for the tutorial on the pincushion in a dish. I happen to have won one but the pincushion wasn't done well. I've been wanting to redo it and now I certainly can give it a good go!

  7. Awesomed Thanks for the tips. Ive made a few myself. I love your hexsgon bee cushion!๐Ÿ’ž


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