Pin cushion stuffing?

solstice98August 31, 2008

I've tried making a couple pin cushions but was disappointed with the 'feel' when I was done. I used batting and tried to stuff it tightly but it was too soft and too lightweight. So today when I saw the old tomato pin cushions at J's on sale for 50% off and also had a 10% off total order coupon, I bought 3 of them! I poured out the sawdust stuffing into a bowl, then wrapped it as snuggly as I could in plastic wrap. Once you get it wrapped, by twisting the plastic wrap you can really compress it. Then I covered it with fabric and tied that off with strong embroidery thread. Lastly, I filled the bottom of a tiny metal tub with hot glue and smashed the bundle down into it! I hated to waste the little needle sharpening 'strawberries' that came from the original cushions so I glued those onto the side of the tub. Now instead of a little cushion, I have a larger and very stable cushion! I love it!

What do you all use for your pin cushion stuffing? I've heard that wool works well, especially if it's not so refined and still has some lanolin in it. That would keep the pins from ever rusting so that would have to be a plus.


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I forgot to include the picture!
I thought the water bubble print was cute with the tiny wash tub. I should have redone the strawberries as tiny bubbles or rubber duckies but that was way more work than I wanted to do on this project!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 3:25PM
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That is just darling. What a good idea.

I was taught that you stuffed pincushions with the wood shavings from a pencil sharpener because it included the graphite to prevent rust. That's hard to do these days as there is only so much I can accumulate.

I use poly batting scraps and compress it as hard as I can like you did. Pins seem to penetrate that well for me, better than my cotton batting.

You've come up with a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:52PM
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Oh! That's so cute and whimsical!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:12PM
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I use bird gravel,,,nice and weighty and sharpens the pins and needles...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:34PM
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Bird gravel - great idea!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:49PM
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I like wool woving for mine but have used sand inside of a wool casing. I keep that in a little tub for my machine needles when I am switching projects. I have different sizes writen on it. I like the finger pin cushions and always put the wool in those. Your sample is a cute idea. Jayne

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 8:05PM
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What would you put the "bird gravel" in a bag made of muslin? that looks like I could make those for the church bazaar,they are so cute.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Best thing to stuff a pin cushion with is hair from your hair brush! Yes, the oil on your hair helps pins to slide in and out of fabric great.

However, unless you have several females around it is hard to accumulate enough hair for a cushion.

When using pins that are resistant to going thru fabric, run pins thru your hair and they will slide in and out of fabric better. Just don't scrape your scalp with the pin or needle.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:52PM
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I love the pincushion. It us so cute.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 1:45PM
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OH my! That's the cutest little thing I've ever seen. I made a pin cushion, too, and posted a picture on this forum not too long ago. I used some wool from a wool bat, and weighted the bottom with a pancake of nickels.

I made a tight, tight, tight ball of wool inside a white cover using button thread. I layered a bit more wool over that, under the actual cover.
Mine is kinda a bummer, because the pins go in easy and hit that tight ball with a thump. It's pretty, though, and I made it, so...

....I suppose I could make another one. Did you get your oval wash tub at Hobby Lobby?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 2:05PM
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We don't have Hobby Lobby, but I don't recall where I got it. I've been using it in my office for paperclips for 2 or 3 years! Probably Olde Time Pottery - one of my favorite shopping places.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 2:31PM
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Hi everyone,
I use yellow split like a charm..

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 3:01PM
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Real cute! Bill and Caroline: But don't the bird gravel and the split peas dull the needles? Of course, I have to admit that I have no idea how fine the particles in bird gravel are. I do like a pin cushion to have a bit of heft to it, so it doesn't feel as if it could fly away. I can see that using a little metal container like the one in the picture could anchor" it. Some day I want to make some of those cute biscornus, too.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 2:21AM
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That washtub is the cutest thing, Solstice!


    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 8:57AM
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FlamingO in AR

That is SO cute! I love the bubble fabric in the little washtub, that's a perfect use for it.

I recently retired my old tomato cushion and made myself a couple of new ones, using fiberfill (I found 55 needles inside that old tomato, I was shocked. I knew there would be a few, but not that many!) Anyway, I knew the fiberfill one would be too light and I get annoyed with pincushions that try to escape, so I captured mine in the sewing machine drawer that I keep on top of my treadle table, where I sew. I made a small sand-filled piece for the needles, and just pinned that to the top.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:15AM
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Bird gravel is very fine,and sharpens the needles. Like the littl strawberry on the old tomato pincushions that had emery in them.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:35AM
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I used to use sawdust when i made victorian pin cushions - these were made from velvet with a curtain lining inner - i stuffed very dry sawdust into them and then stitched them up and beat them with a wooden mallet - the very dry sawdust keeps the pins sharp and stops them rusting.
The other thing to use is sheeps wool as it contains lanolin or fine emery - which is used mainly by lacemakers

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 11:06AM
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That's interesting, Annabelle. Where do you find sheep's wool?

Thanks for the explanation of bird gravel, Caroline. I think I'll see if I can find it at a pet shop. My needles could bear sharpening. I tend to use them until they sink into oblivion in the pin cushion, like Flamingo's!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 12:00PM
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I could sgtate the obvious biwako of abi, but perhaps you dont have sheep!!!! In the U.K. we can get it from a farmer, Your best alternative would be very fine, dry sawdust, if it is not very dry you need to put it in the oven on a low heat (or aga if you have one) - this way your pins and needles will not rust.

Best wishes to all from a very autumnal Cornwall U>K>

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:51AM
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perhaps i sounded a little rude biwako - i didnt mean to it was a joke - it was so obvious to me, we have sheep in all the fields nearby as well as cows, pigs etc.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I have found the perfect filler for my silk pincushions, this is filling a muslin sack with ground up walnut shells, sold in Walmart and pet stores for the bottom of bird/rodent cages.. It has substance, is a bit weighty and fits all my needs...also cheap.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 7:32PM
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Sawdust reminds me of one of my past crafting lives...mix a little sawdust with a little white acrylic paint and it makes great "snow" in decorative painting...whoops....not this forum, huh? LOL...well, maybe one of you can use that information some time down the road!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 8:10PM
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thinking to make a few pincushions to give for a small personal gift for Christmas
At anyrate have been reading on the internet uite a bit of information on stuffing and patterns
Interesting all the ideas

I read one suggestion and that was to use ground coffee as a stuffing.
I have some flavoured that I bought, an expensive ground coffee, that I have not used and was wondering what to do with it, might give it a try as a filler. Anyone think this to be wise , or not.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 2:53PM
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