Tutorial: Tea cup pin cushion     

An easy pin cushion to keep your pins and needles organised and sharp. And pretty.

It’s hard to find a nice pin cushion. One that’s not gaudy and floral, one that doesn’t sag over time and one that sharpens your pins rather than blunting them.  I decided to experiment and make my own. I used a thin layer of steel wool to keep my pins and needles sharp. I picked up a tea cup from a good will shop, and had everything else around the house.

Step one: Gather your materials

  • A tea cup
  • Dense polyfill or wadding
  • Steel wool
  • Wheat grain or rice
  • Material, a square 5 cm (two inches) wider than your tea cup’s diameter
  • Plastic strip a few centimeters longer than your tea cup’s circumference


    Tea cup geometry

Material notes: I cut up left over quilting batting, which has a good density, just because I didn’t have polyfill. I used the plastic removable base that comes in reusable shopping bags for the plastic, but an ice cream container would work just as well. Use whatever woven fabric you like for the top, I used calico.

Bonus points: As this is a tea cup pincushion I decided to dye my top fabric ‘tea coloured’. In a small bowl I dissolved three teaspoons of coffee granules and soaked my fabric for an hour or so. You need a lot of tea bags to get a ‘tea’ colour, and coffee gives the same look (and smells nice for a while).


Grain, steel wool, wadding and calico

Step two: Prepare your top

Cut your plastic a bit less than 1 centimeter wide, and close it to form a ring that fits really snugly near the top of your tea cup (but not right at the top). I sewed mine shut but staples or even strong glue would work. Place your plastic ring on top of your fabric square and fold up the sides. Sew or glue the fabric to the plastic edges.

Firmly press polyfill into the top and then a thin disc of steel wool.


Tea cup lid

Step three: Fill ‘er up!

Fill two thirds of the tea cup with wheat grain or rice. The heavier material helps keep the tea cup stable.

Next, layer on some polyfill. To keep the tea cup look going, don’t fill it right to the top- you wouldn’t want to spill your tea, would you?

Step four: Assemble!

Press your top fabric side up firmly into your tea cup. I didn’t use glue, it’s just a really firm fit, but you could secure it with glue if you plan to travel with it and want it to be sturdier.


*Like any pin cushion, you want to avoid getting moisture in your tea cup pin cushion. You’ve got steel wool in there, which will rust if it stays wet too long.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s