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. 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 smaller and a bit more fun. I also wanted to skip the screw-top for ease of use.
My heart was a set on a cactus, and 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 really 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!
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 jar doesn’t need to have a cork cap, but it’s convenient, especially if you only have one free hand while busy prepping or sewing. It also does double duty for extra pins, if needed.
I use a Clover needle felting pen tool 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 the 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 if you prefer. ALWAYS keep track of your fingers (ouch) and enter/exit straight to avoid breaking your needle(s). Every needle action compresses and entwines the wool fibres, slowly turning the loose wool/fur into firm felt.
Don’t be intimidated – felting is as simple as repeating that action over and over. It just takes time, patience, and attention to detail. Peppy music is a fun addition and this is very cathartic crafting if you are feeling a bit “stabby”.
To make a basic needle felted cactus:
To join two cactus pieces into a larger cactus:
To add flowers:
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.
Glue the completed cactus securely to the top of cork lid for a glass jar and 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.
If you want a more secure attachment, you can fix a spike to or through the cap into the bottom of the cactus. As a mini-update, however, mine is just glued and is still holding strong. My pin cushion is now several years old, well-used, and the glue is still holding perfectly. It’s part of my sewing essentials and has become one of my most used craft projects.