Friday, January 7, 2011

Tart Tin Pin Cushion

Deb asked if I would post how to create the pin cushion I made for a few friends.  I first saw the pin cushions made by artist Becky Schander in the July/Aug/Sept 2010 issue of Somerset Life magazine.  They were created in grey, which I loved, but I didn't have any grey wool that looked right.  So I opted for a hand dyed orange that has a mottled look when you see it in person and a pink houndstooth print. The article also explains how to age silver tart tins, but I found a set of six on Ebay that were the right color for my liking, no aging needed. 

Let's get started...
The circle needs to be the same as the opening of the tin.
I found a glass in my kitchen cupboard that looked to be the same size as the tin, so I used it to create a chipboard template for my pattern.
I keep all my templates in a file as I frequently need them a second time.
I have been buying small pieces of wool for many years...mostly when I go to Texas to visit my sister.  We have a few favorite haunts that sell hand dye favorite was a little store (that is unfortunately not there anymore) in Argyle, TX.  If you don't have any wool scraps on hand you can check a local quilt store.  And if that is not an retailer, Ram in the Thicket sells hand dyed wool in every color imaginable, in fact I am not sure how you would choose!  They also sell in small pieces, which is what you would need for this project.  The price is very reasonable as is the shipping.  You can find them here.

If your interested in my favorite, houndstooth wool you can find it here.
or a group of 6 x 8" pieces here

and from the same Etsy shop, Three Sheep Studio, a bigger check. 
Remember, no matter what wool you buy, you will need two circles approximately 3"+ across depending on the size of the tin.

Okay, back to the tutorial...
Cut out wool with a 3/8" edge for sewing (2 circles).
With right sides together, sew around circle leaving at least a 1 1/2" opening.

Turn circle right side out.
Stuff the pin cushion till you can't stuff it anymore (even though it's small, it takes a good amount of stuffing).
Stitch it closed with matching thread.
Now make sure it fits in the tin!

To make the tufting-
I tried to use a standard needle to create the tufting (the magazine did not give a size) but it wasn't long enough to go through the puff.  So I opted to use a long needle (the kind people use to make dolls and such) to make the tufting in the center of the cushion. I threaded heavy duty button and carpet thread through the needle.  Then starting from the bottom I sewed up through the pin cushion and back down, pulling tighter each time.  I went back and forth about 2-3 times.  The article says to thread the button onto the needle and then pull back toward the bottom but my needle was too big to go through the shank of the button so I finished off my thread and glued my button to the top later.
Once you are satisfied with the tufting, add glue to the bottom of the wool puff.
Place into tin and use your finger to hold down for a few minutes so the glue can dry a bit.
If you did not sew you button on, add some glue to the center and add a button.  I used some beautiful glass buttons I picked up at a favorite store in Texas.
Let dry and your done!
Unless you want to add a bit of embellishment...just a thought.


  1. Another fab project and tutorial! Thanks so VERY much! p.s. I already made a calendar too!

  2. I love this and it's so easy. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Your tin pin cushions are so sweet. Thank you for sharing your technique. Wonderful gift ideas for year round. Happy creating...

  4. Thanks so much for the tutorial and the links to the dyed wool! I just love the pin cushion and I just scored some tins from my mother-in-law, so I'm off to make a few.

  5. I found a blog in Country Living magazine that you might have seen:
    It features one collection for each day in a year. Day 97 featured pincushions but I loved lots of the vintage/junk collections also. I thought of 2gypsy girls when I read it!
    Thanks for this tutorial.

  6. Fabulous! Thank you for the tutorial...and the links to that yummy fabric! I can't wait to try this!

  7. Simply sweet! I recently bought some little tins when I was out antiquing recently. Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. What a darling idea, thanks for all the links too :)

  9. Now I know what to do with those tins. Better pick some up the next time I see them.
    Thanks for the idea.

  10. I didn't know that you could get wool with a houndstooth design - this adds terrific texture to your pin cushion. And although I like to use mostly recycled wool for my projects, I love the checked and other textured options you posted...thanks for including the resources.

  11. I absolutely love "me" and of course, I'll want to make one for my Mom, too. Awesome job!

  12. As I have a bag of tins I was pleased to find this tutorial. I will be starting on this project this afternoon.

  13. The blog is clear demonstration of the fact that, you can’t compromise with the quality.
    butt cushion