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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Big Chunk {a pincushion tutorial}

Ever since I started blogging and getting involved with swaps via Flickr I have been obsessed with pincushions.  How to make them, and how to fill them.  I have been using plain old Poly-fil but I just don’t find it to be very functional.  So, after a little research online I found out that you can fill pincushions with Crushed Walnut Shells.  I know, how exciting is that! 

There are several benefits to using crushed walnut shells in pincushions, walnut shells are biodegradable, non-toxic, and they are mildly abrasive to keep pins clean and sharp.  Crushed Walnut Shells (or Ground English Walnut Shells) are primarily used for bedding in lizard habitats, and can be bought at most big box pet stores. Who knew!?
Let’s get started, and you can make your own crushed walnut shell filled pincushion.

First, you will need to cut out 2 – 6” squares of fabric, and 2 – 6” squares of batting.  With a disappearing ink pen mark a X onto the right side of your square, from corner to corner, and using the X as your guide, sew it to the batting.

Then flip it over and mark an inch down from each corner.

With right sides together sew all the way around leaving an opening to turn right side out.

Square off your corners.  I found it hard to draw a straight line with all the bulk so that is why I made the earlier markings.  I used a pin to make sure my markings lined up correctly.

This is what your pincushion should look like once you have sewn your corners.

Then cut off the excess from your corners.

Now you are ready to fill your pincushion with the crushed walnut shells.  I used about a drinking cups worth (2-3 cups) of crushed walnut shells and a funnel to fill my pincushion.  I like mine full and heavy.

Sew the opening shut…

…. and tuft with 2 buttons, one on the top, and one on the bottom, using the x as your guide.

Here you go, one crushed walnut shell filled pincushion, enjoy! 
Not sure if you want to make one of your own?  Check out the pincushions I have for sale in my Etsy Shop.  I have only listed a few and will list more soon.  If you want one in a special color or fabric, I am sure I can help you out with that too.

Edited to add:  Some of you asked about the tufting.  I posted a tutorial here in case you had any questions.
Have a great day!


  1. wow, that's a whole lotta new info for me! thanks for posting this - i've been wanting to make one but keep putting it off. i'll have to pick up some crushed walnut shells the next time i'm at the pet store.

    now how do you do the tufting??

  2. thanks for the tip on walnut shells! I'll need to check out the local pet shop for some...

  3. Great tutorial, thanks! Now to get that filling at petco!

  4. Wonderful tutorial of The Big Chunk. Super cute pincushion and a great name to go along with it. :) I'd be interested in knowing how you tuft it also.

  5. What a fabulous pincushion - and a great tutorial too! Crushed walnut shells eh? Who would've thought!! :)

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  6. What a great tutorial! Thank you for sharing :) I am now following your blog and would love it if you followed me back :)

  7. Huh, who knew! I think I might just give that a try...it's so annoying when you go to pick a pin out of a pin cushion, and the whole cushion comes along with it. I'd imagine that won't be happening with your new pin cushion! I'd love to see you link up your bright project to my new link party, Head to Head Showdown, at www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com

  8. Thanks for linking up! Jen @ www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com

  9. What a great tutorial! Such a super pincushion!! New follower here. I would love it if you would stop by and link this up to my linky party going on right now :) http://everything-underthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/11/bedazzle-me-monday-7_6572.html

    Also, if you get a chance PRETTY PLEASE check out Random Acts of Kindness Week going on next week. I would love to see you be a part of it!! :)

    Have a great week!

  10. Thank you for a great tutorial. The pincushion is really CUTE. :)

  11. Love it!

    Love for you to join my Linky Party - JAQS "Made by ME" at http://www.jaqsstudio.com/2011/11/made-by-me-6-linky-party-and-features.html

  12. How cute! I love the fun fabric

  13. I think this is simply adorable and the name is fantastic!! Thanks for sharing!!

  14. These are great! I need a bigger pin cushion, thanks for sharing!

  15. I was just thinking yesterday how sad my old little apple pincushion looked. This is super cute and I would have never guessed walnut shells!

    We are having a Home for the Holidays link party on our blog and I know that our readers would think your pincusion is so cute and would make a fabulous gift! We would love for you to join us!


  16. Very cute, thanks for sharing! Love the chunkiness of it :)

  17. Very cute! I may have to try this. Walnut shells, very interesting.


  18. SO cute and great tutorial!! We will be featuring you tomorrow on our blog with this awesome project! Stop on by and get a featured button and get your brag on :) Thanks so much for link up and sharing with us!

    J&M’s Eye Candy Blog
    J&M’s Eye Candy Shoppe
    J&M’s Eye Candy on Facebook
    J&M’s Eye Candy on Twitter

  19. I LOVE this! I would love if you would share this at the Crazy Cute link party happening at Between U & Me right now! I've got a totally awesome giveaway this week, too!
    OOH! AND, I'm your newest follower! ;)

  20. Can I just tell you how much I adore this pin cushion. My MIL just asked for some basic sewing supplies & I'm totally going to make her a pin cushion! Love it & wanted to let you know that I featured this today on Sew Woodsy!

  21. pretty pincushions! thanks for the tutorial. we are featuring it on the blog, facebook, twitter and pinterest page. have a lovely weekend! ^^)

  22. Clever idea ... thanks for sharing!

  23. I just made one of these for my mother in-law for Christmas! Great tutorial!

  24. I love the look of this tutorial, so have featured it on my blog. Please drop by and grab a button! http://alittlebirdmademe.com/2013/08/02/friday-finds-links-to-50-free-patterns-for-pincushions/


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