Pin Cushion sewing Becky  

Inside the Pin Cushion

Share the love!

I am a lover of the pin cushion and don’t think that you really could have too many.   After you pick out the pattern thought the next big decision is what’s going inside the pin cushion!

what is inside a pin cushion

There are a few products that I use all the time.   Polyfil is usually the one that hits the top of the list and is easy to find, use and works great for all pin cushions.

Beyond that thought there are a few other fun options.  One of my favorite is crushed walnut shells…. oh how I love my shells.  I even like the way it smells!  (some can’t stand it, which is so funny to me!)

what is inside a pin cushion

Inside a Pin Cushion–

What are other people using as filling for pin cushions?  After digging around and asking a few of my sewing friends….

Here is what I found:
1. crushed walnut shells (sold in pet shops as bedding for reptiles)(This is my all time favorite!!!)
2. fine bird gravel
3. sand, fine not coarse– this stuff is awesome!
4. wool roving (the natural lanolin is good for your pins and needles)
5. hair from your hairbrush (the natural oil in the hair is good for pins and needles)
6. yellow split peas  or lentils
7. dryer lint
8. steel wool
9. bran from a pet shop mixed with lavender (bran has natural oils and lavender has a good scent)
10.  water softener rock salt
11. bar of soap
12. polar fleece cut into tiny bits
13. smashed coffee beans
14. old ground coffee
15. pencil shavings
16. fine sawdust,— but not from pressure treated or exterior wood!
17. dry grass clippings
18. husks from oats, buckwheat or wheat
19. thread and fabric clippings
20. “raw” cotton (from the boll)

I have found with a few of these that they might need their own little container before putting them into the pincushion.  Especially with the small grains– like the sand and sawdust or shavings.  They tend to sneak out of seams easily and will not make you happy.

Another thing is keeping them dry.  You don’t want any of them to get wet or they will cause problems with your pins and needles.

crushed walnut pin cushion

Just in case you are pincushion crazy like me…. here are a few you might want to give a try and make!

free pincushion patterns. Perfect project to sew anytime and give as gifts.

What do you prefer to use in your pincushions?

10 thoughts on “Inside the Pin Cushion

  1. Juanita Tongen

    I used rice in small chicken pin cushions for the weight and worked well with pins. Thank you for all the other ideas.

  2. Nancy Hilderbrand

    Have never made a pin cushion but have heard that steel wool sharpens needles.

  3. liz n.

    For pincushion innards, I use ground walnut shells or rice to weight the bottom so that the pincushion doesn’t fall over, then pack with super-fine grade steel wool (0-3), and add a layer of batting on top of the steel wool. This general formula works for every size and shape pincushion I’ve ever made.

  4. Becky

    liz- great suggestions to mix them up for different purposes. the weight is a great thing to keep it from scooting all over!

  5. Cherie L.

    I swear by felt. Plain acrylic felt works just fine. Holds the pins like a magnet so they don’t fall out.

  6. Becky

    what a great addition cherie– I hadn’t thought about that and how it works with the pins.

  7. Chris

    This is my first time visiting your site. Unfortunately I found it very difficult to read because if the intrusive sidebar ads.
    Is there a way you could adjust st this?

  8. Mea Cadwell

    I made a peacock pincushion where the tail feathers are removeable and can be used as pincushions or pattern weights. It’s held together with magnets.

  9. Anja Bartlett

    Obviously you don’t live near the ocean or in a damp climate, much less one where codling moths are a problem! I make and sell and lot of pincushions in my shop on the Oregon Coast.
    Crushed walnut shells grow nice little worms that will eat your fabric! *Please* add a caveat on this!
    Hair from your hairbrush (the natural oil in the hair is *not* good for pins and needles) It is acidic and attacks the surface, causing pitting and roughness. Hair can be washed if you put it into a muslin cover that become the inner lining for your pincushion. Just run it through with the clothes and add a bit of lanolin to it before finishing your cushion.
    Yellow split peas or lentils can attract mice, especially if something gets stored for a period of time.
    Steel wool attacks the surface of any needle or pin that’s a different “blend”.
    Water softener rock salt melts in a damp environment and will leave you with a puddle!
    Old ground coffee is good once it is thoroughly dry. Dry in a dehydrator or oven on low temp. Who wants mildew?
    Pencil shavings will get graphite onto your sewing.
    Fine sawdust – My go-to on this is 1/2 and 1/2 sawdust and ground-up cedar fronds. Run through a wire strainer and then mix 1/2 and 1/2 with clean sand.
    You didn’t mention emery or garnet sand! That’s easily available over the internet. A small emery needle cleaner (pincushion “strawberries”, anyone?) should be attached to your pincushions that are filled with cheaper materials.

  10. Sandra J

    I had made pincushions with walnut shells and had to get rid of them due to children with nut allergies. Be careful if selling those or them in a business.

Leave A Comment