How to Make a Pincushion with a Frame and Crushed Walnut Shells

Did you know ground walnut shells make great pincushion filler? I was searching around for an alternative to polyester batting and found out everyone knew this but me. I thought about trying sawdust, since my husband is an occasional woodworker and it would be easy to get, but I liked how clean this option sounded. I finally got around to trying it in a couple of projects, and I don't think I'll be using anything else!

When I was gathering up items for my recent anniversary giveaway, I snagged a couple of these Create-a-Pincushion kits, keeping one for myself. The instructions call for batting, but I've worked out a way to make it using the walnut shells, and I'd love to share it with you.

This post contains affiliate links.

When you open up the kit, these are the pieces, plus instructions.

As you can see if you look closely at the finished product, it wasn't going to be possible to pile the shells up like you would if you use batting as instructed. Instead, I made a small container for those.

Cut a piece of muslin 7" by 3".  Fold so the two 3" edges meet, right sides together. 

Hand stitch medium length stitches with doubled thread about 3/8" from one edge.  Leave the needle and remaining thread attached. Pull tightly to gather, tie a knot and clip thread. Turn right side out.

Hand stitch the same way near remaining edge. Leave needle attached, but don't gather yet. Set the bag inside the pincushion base.  Fill with about 1/4 cup crushed shells. You may need slightly more or less, and you can adjust as needed.

Pull the thread to gather the bag. You should be able to just get it closed, but not be able to see any of the loose shells. Add a few stitches through the top to make sure it stays closed, knot the thread and clip.

Grab the fabric you're using for the outside. The pattern says to cut a 5 1/2" square, but I went with 6".  To smooth out the top, add a small handful of fiberfill before covering with the fabric.

Cover with the fabric, then roll the silicone ring into place in its notch on the pincushion base.

Adjust the fabric so it's taut and the gathers are even. Trim the fabric about 1/4 - 5/8" from the ring.

Snap the top ring on and it's ready for pins. So easy!

The ground nuts give it a good weight, so it won't move around as you're trying to use it. I like that it has some height, while I was still able to use my new favorite pincushion stuffing. Where can you get ground walnut shells? I gotcha covered - click here, and use the coupon code AHNUTS for 25% off through 3/7/17!

DIY Teacher Gifts

My baby is graduating from high school this year, so the days of apologizing to appreciating his teachers with a gift at the end of the year are pretty much over.  Actually, he’s one of those kids whose report cards always said “A pleasure to have in class”, so the gift was more about thanks for being on Team Where-Is-Tucker’s-Homework-This-Week.  If you have a teacher in your life that deserves a little something (don’t they all?), I have a few ideas for you.

DIY Teacher Gifts by Crafty Staci

I originally made this Money Gift Tea Bag as a birthday gift, but I think it would be great for a teacher with a gift card inside and maybe a few calming real tea bags thrown in with it.

Money Gift Tea Bag by Crafty Staci

What teacher doesn’t find him or herself carrying books?  This Ruffled Tote Bag is the perfect size for hauling homework to and from school.  If an actual grown-up book gets slipped in there once in a while, all the better.

Ruffled Tote Bag by Crafty Staci

I think there must be a lot of teachers out there with a Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve.  Not only is it one of my most popular projects on this blog, but I’ve made dozens of them for my Etsy customers.  You can even buy an embroidery pattern for them from FindingPinsNeedles on Etsy and add the teacher’s name!

Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve by Crafty Staci

I’ve noticed lots of teachers brown bag it when it comes to lunch.  A Snap Lunch Bag would be a great gift to brighten up their midday break.

Snap Lunch Bag by Crafty Staci

Even if a teacher doesn’t bring an entire lunch, there’s probably a snack on the desk most days.  Make her a Reusable Snack Bag and she won’t have to explain why she can’t share her fishy crackers with the rest of the class.

Reusable Snack Bag by Crafty Staci

If you’d prefer something with a little more flexibility for multiple uses, try this Lined Zippered Bag.  A teacher could put just about anything in here, except for an unruly student.  Or parent.

Lined Zippered Bag by Crafty Staci

The options for colors for this Floral Infinity Scarf are as endless as the bolts of knit fabric in your favorite fabric store.  School colors?  Her favorites?  Your kid’s favorites?  Something to match whatever they’re painting next week so it will go with her outfit?

Floral Infinity Scarf

I didn’t notice until I was done here that all of these projects involve sewing.  Time to break out the machine!