Over the past few years mason jars have seen a resurgence as a staple crafting supply, and there is a good chance that many people will already have a loose-disked canning jar of the type needed to create this wonderful gift idea at home, but if not they are easily obtained for about £1-2 at many homewares, cook-shop and crafting stores as well as supermarkets.
As well as the mason jar, this project requires:
- A small scrap of fabric, no larger than 20 x 20cm (8 x 8″)
- A piece of scrap cardboard (an old cereal box will suffice)
- A needle and thread
- Some polyester filling for soft toys (or from a £1.50 Ikea pillow)
- Either some strong craft glue (such as UHU) or use of a hot glue gun
Start by drawing around the inner disk of the lid, onto the sheet of cardboard, and cut this circle out.
Cut a circle from the piece of fabric, roughly 3cm (1¼”) larger, all around. You can either judge this by eye, or draw around something of an appropriate size. In the picture above an espresso saucer is roughly the intended size. The circle does not need to be too precise as the edges will be hidden.
Using a small running stitch and a long length of strong cotton thread doubled, sew around the outside of the fabric circle, about 3mm (⅛”) from the edge. Place the fabric circle right side down and place a generous hand full of polyester toy stuffing on top. Place the cardboard disk on top of the polyester stuffing and draw the ends of the thread. If it feels like there is a bit too much stuffing then it is probably about the right amount! You are looking for a relatively firm dome of stuffing for the pin cushion.
Tie the ends of the thread together to finish the padded dome and cut the thread ends.
Apply a generous amount of strong craft glue or hot glue to the upper side of the mason jar lid (usually the side that carries the jar manufacturer’s name or logo). Place a small disk of glue in the centre of the lid as well as a ring of glue close to the edge. Place the underside of the padded dome onto this, ensuring good alignment, and hold firmly to create a strong bond whilst the glue dries.
Once the lid has had time to fully dry, insert the padded dome through the outer lid ring of the jar. Using a strong pin, tease the fabric through the lid, ensuing as much of the padding and fabric is brought to the top of the jar as possible, to avoid any difficulties in closing the jar.
The pin cushion dome can be glued into place through the outer ring if desired, however this requires very quick working before the glue dries and does run the risk of transferring glue onto the exposed areas of fabric. If the dome was well-stuffed in the early stages the filled dome itself will be plenty sufficient to hold everything perfectly in place.
All that remains is to fill the jar with sewing goodies. Pin cushion jars make a fabulous addition to the home-sewing room or workspace as they are the perfect storage for all the little notions: needles, thread scissors, seam ripper and spare buttons that can find their way all over the house and eventually into the magical land of ‘Lost’ if you don’t put them all in one place. However, they also make absolutely fabulous gifts as they are both pretty and practical, and can inspire the gift of creativity if filled with wonderful things. A jar filled with mixed buttons or a beginner’s sewing kit would make a wonderful present. Here I have filled the jar I have made full of a rainbow of bright embroidery floss to give to a crafty friend in the hope she will whip up a rainbow of stitched projects.