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.

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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!

7th Anniversary Giveaway!

I can't believe another year has passed already! Monday marked the 7th birthday of my blog, and in the tradition I look forward to, I'm here with a giveaway to celebrate. It's my way of saying thank you for your support. Since so many of you who visit are makers or aspiring makers, I'm encouraging that with this year's prizes. I can't keep ALL the fabric and stuff to myself...can I?

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So, what are we looking at here? Each of those pieces of fabric is 1/2 yard, so that's a total of 4 yards to play with! I've included a couple of embroidery hoops, in case you want to play along with my new monthly Hoop Art series. Or you could, you know, embroider with them. I've included some floss for that. There's also a big spool of my favorite white Gutermann thread for sewing. The three 10" zippers will come in handy for something I'm sure. There are three self-declared cute buttons. I've also thrown in a pincushion kit and some ground walnut shells for filler. I have one of these myself that I'm itching to try, so we might be learning how to do that one together. Think that will keep you busy for a while?

This giveaway is open worldwide.  One winner will receive everything shown here.  You can enter twice through the Rafflecopter widget below. If you click "I commented" where it says "Leave a blog post comment" be sure to actually comment on the post. :-)

This giveaway opens on February 15, 2017 and will remain open for entries until midnight Pacific Time on February 21, 2017. I will email the randomly selected winner on February 22nd.

Click on the photo below to scroll through close-ups of the giveaway items!

Friday Favorites–Pincushions

I’ve worked on a couple of projects this week that required a LOT of pins, something I generally try to avoid.  I have one sad and one semi-sad pincushion I alternate between and I’m in the process of coming up with a replacement, which leads me to today’s Friday Favorites.  There are way too many cute pincushions out there.

It must be because I live in a forest, but you can make anything look like a tree stump and I’m hooked.  Patchwork Posse shows how to make this Rolled Wool Pin Cushion version.

This Teacup Pincushion from The Spotted Fox on Punk Projects would be a great idea to file away for the kids to make for a Mother’s Day gift.  Super easy.


It’s a Porcupine Pin Cushion.  Seriously, he just makes me smile.  Thanks to Prudent Baby for sharing him.


There are lots of these Pincushion Thread Catchers floating around, but I really like the fabric Merriment Designs used on this one. 


I think all the pincushion rings and bracelets out there are cute, but I’m afraid I’d stab myself.  I might have to make an exception for this Pincushion Watch from LucyKate Crafts.


Or I could just avoid the stabbing all together with this Magnetic Wrist Pincushion from DiyStyle.


I intentionally avoided all of the cupcake pincushions out there, simply because it’s impossible to choose just one.  I went for full-on cake instead.  The DIY Dish shows how to make these Double Layer Cake Pincushions in their video.


Some things, like puppies and babies, just make you say “Aww!”  I’m going to add these Mushroom Pincushions from Fantastic Toys to that list.


I’m not sure I could actually poke pins into this Tiny World – Foresty Pincushion from Mimi Kirchner.


I try not to have favorites within my favorites, but today, this little guy is it.  Valentine the Voodoo Pincushion from Indie Spotting is on my gotta-have list.


I’m sure pincushions will come up in my Friday Favorites, but we’ll put a pin in it for now.