“Pin it” pin cushion – DIY tutorial

Pin cushions are useful, it doesn’t mean they can’t also be funny and pretty. Today we make a hand painted pin cushion reading “pin it!” using the stencil technique.

This is an easy project. It only requires basic sewing skills and some patience to cut out the stencil. It has to be done in two steps: first paint the fabric and allow to dry (it can take up to 24 hours), then do the stitching. All in all it takes about two hours work. And apologies for the dark photos: I made this mostly by night because I got all excited about the idea and couldn’t wait for the next morning.

Here are 4 easy steps to make this “pin it!” pin cushion, template for the stencil is also provided.


To make the pincushion you will need:

  • Template for the stencil, downloadable here for free.
  • Two 14×10 cm (5.5×3.9”) pieces of natural brown fabric. The fabric threading has to be tight enough to be painted. I used some very small gauge burlap but some linen or decor weight fabric would do as well for instance.
  • Matching thread.
  • Filling.
  • Black fabric paint.
  • Small brush.
  • Printer and paper (for printing the stencil).
  • Paper knife.
  • Cutting mat.

1 – Prepare the stencil

Print the template provided here and cut out a rectangle of 14×10 cm (5.5×3.9”) making sure the border and text are sitting in the middle of it.

With the paper knife, remove all the black parts from the border and text except for the “p”. See on picture 2, I have left a spot of black on the “p” otherwise the loop wouldn’t print properly with the stencil technique. We will take care of the rest of the “p” later on. If you’re new to cutting out paper stencil, you may want to practice a bit first on the border rectangles before you tackle the curvy letters.

Picture 1
Picture 2

2 – Paint

Lay the stencil on top of one of your pieces of fabric and secure with some adhesive tape. Pick a little bit of paint on your brush and start filling the holes, moving from top to bottom. It is important not to put too much paint on the brush otherwise the paint may leak beyond the stencil shapes. You can still apply the brush several times on the same spot until it is filled whereas you can’t remove paint once there is too much of it. You should also never work laterally but always move the brush from top to bottom for the same reason of risk of leak. On picture 3 you can see what you should have at the end of this step.

Picture 3

Carefully remove the tape making sure the stencil is not rubbing the fabric. Here is your print almost done.

Now we need to fill in the missing part of the “p”. I used the pointy end of a match. Here again add the paint little by little until the “p” looks right as in picture 4. Don’t forget to rinse your brush and leave the paint to dry as instructed by the pain manufacturer.

Picture 4

3 – Stitch

Before you can start stitching, you may need to press the painted fabric in order to complete the bonding process, check your paint manufacturer instructions. You may also want to make a zigzag stitch around the two fabric pieces to prevent fraying, especially if you use burlap or linen.

Pin the two pieces right side in. Stitch with a 1 cm (0.4”) seam allowance leaving a 5 cm (2”) opening on one of the small sides (see red arrow on picture 5). Clip the corners so they won’t be bulky once the cushion has been turned over.

Picture 5

4 – Fill and finish

Turn the cushion right side out through the opening. If you have trouble getting the corners right you can use the flat end of a pencil to put them into shape. Press, making sure the opening edges are turned in. Here is what you should get:

Picture 6

Add the filling, always checking the corners are filled as well. Pin the opening edges together. Then all you have left is to close the opening using a ladder stitch. If you’re not sure about the ladder stitch, I found this video which explains very well how to do it.

Picture 7

Ta daaaah!

3 thoughts on ““Pin it” pin cushion – DIY tutorial

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