Jenny: Pin Cushions That Can’t Lose (or Be Lost)

I got into the pin-cushion-on-a-pedestal thing by accident.  If you sew, you need a pin cushion, and I loved my classic fat tomato, but I kept losing it in clutter on the sewing table.  So one day, in a fit of frustration, I grabbed an old white wood candlestick I never used, squirted some Goop on top of it, and socked my tomato down.  To this day, it’s still my fave.  I like the incongruity of the simple, everyday tomato on top of the white, classical column.  Mostly I like that I never lose my pin cushion any more.  It’s always high above the fray.

But once you start gluing together pincushions, it’s hard to stop.  I had some ugly candleholders I painted white, thinking that would make them less ugly.  It did, but only marginally so.  Then I accidentally dumped a couple of green tomato pincushions next to one (I have a lot of stuff lying around so this kind of serendipity happens a lot).







There were two because I was using one for pins and one for needles because the threaded needles always got tangled in the pins and pulled them out if they were in the same place (which meant I had to keep track of TWO pincushions).  But seeing the tomatos together, I realized that if I stacked the tomatoes, using the one on the bottom for needles and the one on the top for pins, I could always find both of them.  Especially if I glued them to one of the ugly candleholders that would now become a kind of funky base that would lift everything above the clutter.  So I did.  Then I realized that could have been a ReFab post, so I made another one in pink.


Simple to make, fun to look at, and above all, easy to find in the mess on your sewing table.  Here’s how:





1. Gather your materials:

Candleholder, height to be determined by the depth of the mess on your sewing table.
Two tomato pincushions.
Matching sewing thread
Coordinating narrow ribbon (1/8″ to 1/4″)
Goop Craft Glue
Clear Tacky Glue
Small scissors or clippers





2. Pull strings and felt leaf thingy off tomatoes, along with the strawberry needle sharpener (I never use those so I can spare them).  Wrap 1/8″ ribbon around tomato to replace the string.  Tack in place with sewing thread and needle.  (Do not be tempted to use glue.  I tried that on the pink cushion and made an unholy mess.)

3. Put a bead of clear Tacky Glue around the candleholder.  Put ribbon over glue bead and press down with tip of scissors to anchor all the way around.  Clip ribbon where it overlaps.  Repeat for as many ribbon stripes as you want.











4. Put bottom (usually larger) cushion on candleholder to see where they touch.  Squirt line of Goop Craft Glue on candleholder at that point, push bottom (usually the larger) pincushion into candleholder.

5. Glop some Goop in the middle of the bottom pincushion and press top (usually smaller) cushion onto it.  (Note: No matter how hard you try, the damn things will be lopsided.  Consider that part of their charm.)

6. Glue two decorative buttons to the top of the top cushion with Goop.

7. Let dry for a day.  That Goop needs time to settle in.  Then TA DA! Pincushions You Can’t Lose. Well, that you can’t lose easily.

[Note: If you have trouble finding tomato pincushions that aren’t red, check out the sewing kits at hobby shops and fabric stores.  The tomatoes in those are often a color that matches the rest of the kit.]

36 thoughts on “Jenny: Pin Cushions That Can’t Lose (or Be Lost)

  1. Micki says:

    I wanted to see these . . . and they are SOOOO cute! What a great idea to stack ’em up like a snowman, and dedicate them to different things. A Refabber could paint an aluminum can white, fill it with sand, and do the same thing if there are no candlesticks in the house (I’m thinking those little, 250 ml cans.) Love this! (Want To Sew. Must Do Other Things First.)

  2. Adorable! Love them. And I imagine they were fun to create

    They almost look like a couple of little chubby people, and one’s got spiky hair. 🙂

  3. This really is FABULOUS! I love the idea, but I’d probably need to use a candelabra to keep my pincushions above the depth of my sewing table – which probably just means I ought to work harder on keeping the sewing table under control…

  4. I have just recently gotten back into sewing and have been thinking I need a pincusion. And I am totally a fan of anything that can be found in the mess that is my craft table (aka our dining room table). Plus these are so funky.

  5. Diane (TT) says:

    Sadly, my “sewing table” is currently elbow deep in paper, with a printer, a stack of in-boxes and two boxes of what I fear are old boxes of checks – extending well back into the last century. I haven’t sewed much in the past few years! I must get this mess under control.

    Also, I am not a pin cushion user. I keep my pins in their little plastic box (it has only occasionally been upset) and my needles in a little felt needle case I Made Myself (when I was 5 – craft project on a visit to Grandma in Colorado: 2 little mittens with felt ovals inside for the needles and a bit of waste canvas – or the 1970 equivalent – on the outside, which I embellished with my initial in cross stitch).

    But this is a fabulous project – I will keep it in mind should my desk ever resume its function as a part-time sewing table. I am not morally opposed to pin cushions (my mom uses them), I just haven’t gotten around to acquiring one.

  6. NancyF says:

    LOVE those! I agree about the needles and thread getting tangled. I like to keep them in little needle books for the same reason.

  7. stephanie says:

    Necessity is the mother of invention but artistic ability and creativity have the ability to make it look cute.

    Oh, and I ‘pinned’ this:)

  8. Nice. And very creative. I keep my pins and needles in an old fashioned cane sewing basket that I found in Chinatown in Los Angeles. It has cushions on the inside of the lid. I’ve owned it for over thirty years and it is still in good shape. It holds spools of cotton and other stuff below a plastic insert that has little compartments for the things you use most frequently.

  9. Robin S. says:

    Ha! Pincushions don’t get used around here because of CATS. That will be something they can’t swat off the table!

  10. I never knew there were strawberries for keeping needles sharp! Where have I been all this time?

    My pincushion has little oriental (Chinese I think) men all around the outside. That doesn’t keep me from losing it. All the time.

    Part of the trouble is due to lack of space (we have a four and 3/4 bedroom house, how can there be lack of space?) and PEOPLE who can’t abide mess, my sewing stuff is in totes all over the damn place. Some in the attic even. I can’t find ANYTHING! Luckily one of my bffs has a larger home and lets me make a mess in one of her rooms. At the moment I’m making her curtains, and me dresses so the mess is up there. But there are still TOTES all over and I can’t find stuff and have to make do.

    Oh God, I’m whining again. Jeez, does it never stop?

    Anywho, If I find my little politically incorrect Chinese men holding my pincushion I will see if I can’t find something to glue it to. There must be something around here…

  11. Fun. Love the tiers and cheery colours. Bit of a snowman feel to the shape, Or maybe I just see that because we’re still getting a lot of snow dumped around here.

    I have the standard tomato cushion that I use for storage, but when I’m in the midst of sewing, I rely on my giant magnetic holder to keep all the pins in order. I’m with Robin S, and years of cats taught me pincushions equal toys to feline eyes. Plus, I worry about all the little pet feet, and the magnet helps make sure I don’t accidentally drop any pins on the floor–those buggers can be tough to spot. But if I could use cushions, I’d like these.

    But I’m starting to see what you meant when you said you’ve been leaning toward craft so much the last several years–you weren’t just talking writing:)

  12. Oh yes and they do love to smack them under the lowest piece of furniture. I got Belle her own little pin cushion so she would leave mine alone. She batted hers under the buffet then mine. Patricia, ever regal gave me the “look”.

  13. OOH. I could glue a magnet to the top of a candleholder instead because that’s what I use in place of a pin cushion. Then the magnet, too, could be above the fray. LOVELY!

  14. Excellent, must now go to Value Village and see what candle holders they have. I am thinking of a giant chess piece, like the castle (that’s what I thought your candle holder was at first), painted gold with varying sizes of red pin cusions on top. Thank you, another unfinished project in the offing.

  15. JulieB says:

    I had forgotten that that is what the strawberry is for! Is there a right or wrong way to sharpen a needle? I actually do have some pins that were in the sewing machine my mom bought at a garage sale 30+ years ago. (It was old even then). Some of the pins are rough and rusty, but I don’t use the machine enough to remember to buy pins. Fortunately, the machine still has some of the magic of the previous owner in it’s system, because my semester of sewing in 7th grade home-ec didn’t leave me with much knowledge or understanding.
    Well, I guess I understand the theory – the application of sewing though, leaves much to be desired.

  16. I think you just shove it in there and it’s supposed to sand off the rust or something. I’m very hazy on it myself.

  17. Jenny, this is 36 flavours of AWESOME!

    Also: a magnet on the top? Genius!

    Also also: I’m not sure if it’s my PMS talking (probably), but I didn’t see snowmen, I saw ginormous scoops of ice cream with sprinkles.

  18. Eileen says:

    What a great idea! Will have to work on it when I have time and get all my hubby’s stuff off my sewing table. But then I also have to buy candle holders, ugly or not! LOL!

  19. Melanie says:

    These are fabulous! I love it when function leads you to a new form. This is brilliant. You should apply for a patent. Or something. Or at least sell them on Etsy. Seriously.

  20. Robin S. says:

    I learned something that is slowly becoming very useful as I slowly, turtle style, reclaim my house. Slowly. (Got it?) Get clear packing tape and on your boxes or totes tape a rectangle about 4″ x 12″ (this may vary by box size and content). Then on top of that, however much you need, you put masking tape. Write -everything- that is in that box on the tape. -Everything- And if you take something out, scratch it off. If you clean the box out or want to use it for something else you just rip the masking tape off and slap on a new piece. The bottom clear tape protects the container from damage if you’re really moving things around and have to re-mark alot. It really helps to not have to open and dig to find stuff. Someday I hope to know where everything I have is located. Someday.

  21. Micki says:

    OMG!! Candelabra pincushions!!!!!! For people who are doing cross-stitch and want to keep their colors straight . . . you could put little notations on each “arm”. (The teacher next to me is embroidering something for school . . . maybe I ought to do an ABC sampler; that’d count for EFL, right? LOL! — oh, and look at me, abusing the alphabet (-:.)

  22. Micki says:

    Tangential, but I’ve got the scariest pin cushion — received it as a gift from Alaska, and it’s a fur-trimmed blue cushion with a hairy ptarmigan foot for the base. I really like it, actually, even though it scares the beejeezus out of me. The kids, naturally, never touch it. The cats would have a field day with it if I didn’t put it away, though.

  23. Kim says:

    I started doing something similar last year and it has helped a lot. I taped clear name tag covers on the boxes/totes. I can write down the contents on a card and just slide it into the clear sleeve.

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