DIY Needle Felted Cactus Pin Cushion Jar

DIY needle felted cactus pin cushion jar

This cute little DIY needle felted cactus pin cushion jar combines handy pin storage with the convenience of a pin cushion cap. It’s small, but mighty useful. In fact, it’s one of my most used crafts of all time and still going strong (and looking great) after many years of use.

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Cacti, Pins, and Needle Feting - A Perfect Combo!

When this project was made, I was in desperate need of a pin cushion. Sewing without one was messy and inconvenient. Plus there was the omnipresent risk of jabbing myself with mislaid pins. Yes, I’m clumsy like that. Sigh… I wanted something small to top a jar for double-duty storage and convenience. Padded mason jars are a popular choice, but I wanted something much smaller and a bit more fun. I also prefered to skip the screw-top for extra easy use.  

My heart was set on some sort of cactus pin cushion, because it just felt right with prickly pins and my love of plants. I debated making a version of the pretty felt ornamental cacti at Garden Therapy or these cactus pin cushions at A Beautiful Mess; however, they didn’t suit my jar plans for size or stability.  Then it dawned on me: needle felting!  It’s almost too perfect since stabbing with pins and needles will help not harm my pretty pin cushion over time. Yes!

DIY needle felted cactus pin cushion jar

Making a Needle Felted Cactus Pin Cushion Jar

Supplies and Materials

To make a similar pin cushion jar you will need wool roving is suitable colours, felting needle(s), a jar with a fitted cork lid, and glue (or alternative adhesive).  The lid doesn’t need to be cork, but a fitted cork cap is convenient for a pin jar, especially if you only have one free hand while busy prepping or sewing. It also does double duty for securing extra pins, if needed. 

  • Wool Roving
  • Needle Felting Tools
  • Small Jar with Lid
  • Glue

I use a Clover needle felting pen (affiliate link) and find it very easy to handle, but you can use a plain felting needle or any tool you wish.  My wool roving is from Ashford, locally produced in New Zealand. You can find wool roving through specialists, large craft stores, or online. The jar was purchased at a local home goods shop, but you can upcycle a jar or other suitable container if you’d prefer.

Needle Felting a Cactus Pin Cushion 

Needle felting is best done on a soft surface, such as a foam pad; however, you can work with care on other surfaces. Always keep track of your fingers (ouch) and enter/exit the needle in a straight motion to avoid breaking your needles. Every needle action compresses and entwines the wool fibres, slowly turning the loose wool roving into firm felt. Don’t be intimidated – needle felting is as simple as repeating that action over and over. It just takes time, patience, and attention to detail. 

To make a basic needle felted cactus:

  • Start with a small amount of roving. You can add more later to build up the size and shape of your cactus parts if/as needed.
  • Roll it, then fold the roll into a very rough ball/log.
  • Needle the wool, taking care as noted above, turning periodically to ensure that you are pushing the needle in from all around the cactus piece.
  • Wrap around some additional wool roving at any time to enlarge, if needed, and continue felting. 

Cacti come in all shapes/sizes and are naturally perfectly imperfect, so you can’t really mess this up.  Relax and have fun!  Once you are happy with the size and firmness, you’re done.

To join two cactus pieces into a larger cactus: 

  • Position the parts together as you wish them to look in the finished cactus. If the joint is perpendicular, cutting a little notch in the main body (as shown in the third photo of the collage below) can help things look more natural and be more secure.  
  • Wrap the joint with a little additional wool roving, and needle until securely felted together. 

To add flowers: 

  • If you’re using a tool with several needles, change over to a single needle for small detail work like tiny flowers.
  • Roll a very tiny little ball of roving in the main (outside) colour of your flower and needle it in place.
  • Repeat with an even smaller ball of contrasting colour for the middle of the flower.  
Making a needle felted cactus pin cushion

Securing the Cactus Pin Cushion to the Cork Lid

I like the look of natural cork on the base as it is sort of like sand; however, you can completely cover the top in cacti and/or small felted boulders if you prefer. My felt cactus is just glued into place, but has helds strong through years of use (see my note below).  If you want a more secure attachment, you can fix a spike onto or through the cap into the bottom of the cactus. 

  • Glue the completed cactus securely to the top of cork lid for a glass jar.
  • Allow to set/dry completely prior to use. I used hot glue, so it was hand held and set rapidly. If you’re using a slower glue, you may need to temporarily pin or tape in place until cured.

It’s a simple DIY, but one of my favourites. My cactus pin cushion jar is now several years old, well-used, and the glue is still holding perfectly. The felted cactus still looks awesome, too. It’s part of my sewing essentials and has become one of my most used craft projects. You’ll see it making cameos in some of our other crafts posts or in behind the scenes photos and stories on our social media. 

DIY Needle Felted Cactus Pin Cushion Jar

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