felt cactus pin cushion tutorial

just how cute is this little felt cactus?  although it is meant as a pin cushion, i think they look pretty dandy just on their own.  and with my history of keeping plants alive, felt ones seem like the way forward me thinks.

instructions are here for you to have a go.  if you want to buy a kit containing pretty much everything you need (you'll have to provide your own tools), then you can buy one here.


1. cut out 6 petal shapes from green felt.

the kit contains templates that can be used to cut out the shapes.

2. pair up the pieces, then using a pale green cotton, tie a knot about 2cm from the end and start on the inside bottom edge.

3. then using blanket stitch, go all the way around the shape until you reach the other side.

for those that are not familiar with blanket stitch, the next few steps explain how to do it.

4. first, create a stitch, about 5mm long, pulling the needle through both pieces of felt.  

5. then, bring the needle back to the front and under the loop you just made.   

6. then pull the needle and thread outwards.  this will pull the stitch upwards towards the edge.  like so:

7. now, bring the needle to the front again and through both pieces of felt again, about the same size as the first stitch you made.  

8. repeat what you did in step 5: bring the needle back round and under the stitch you just made.

9. and repeat step 6: pull the needle outwards to bring the stitch out towards the edge.

10. keep doing this all the way around the edge of the shape, but stop at the other corner, leaving the straight edge open.  secure with a knot at the end and trim the cotton.  do this with the other two pairs of felt.  in the end you should have three little petal shapes, neatly finished in blanket stitch.

11. next, stack the three shapes on top of each other and bring the needle up through the back of the first shape, at the top.

12. use a simple running stitch (the one that looks like - - - - - ) all way down going through all three shapes to stitch them all together.  pull quite tightly on the cotton as you stitch through to make sure they're nice and snugly pinched together.  secure with a knot and trim the excess cotton.  it should look like this:

13. you should now have six sections that open up in a flower shape.  using a not too pointy object, like the blunt end of a crochet hook, stuff wadding into each of the six sections.

this should give you a cute little plump cactus looking thing. 

14. now we need to attach this to the soil.  cut out a circle in brown felt, about 2cm bigger than the top of your plant pot.

for kit users, the brown circle will be pre-cut for you.

position the cactus in the middle of the brown felt circle.  with your needle, come up through the back of the soil, catch the bottom of the cactus, then back through the soil.  do this will all six sections.  this should secure your cactus to its soil nicely.

this bit is optional.  if you want a flower, then this is when you add it.  if not, feel free to skip ahead. decorate your cactus how you like.  in this example, i attached one small flower at the top, but you can attach lots and spread them out or use one big flower.  maybe even add a stuffed flower ball type jobby to the top.  up to you.  

the kit contains enough pink, white and yellow felt for you to play around with options.

when you've decided, you need to cut out/make your flower first, then to attach it to the cactus.

15. thread the needle through the top of the cactus.

16. now bring the needle up through the middle of the flower, back down again and tie a knot to secure. trim the excess cotton.

17. now it's time to finish off the soil so it fits in the pot.  switch to a brown cotton for this bit.  go all along the outer edge of the brown circle using a running stitch.  make it about 5mm in from the edge of the circle and make each stitch about 10mm long.


18. once you've gone all the way round, take both ends of the cotton and gently pull them so the circle starts to gather in on itself.  put about a cotton ball sized amount of wadding into the pouch.

19. just before closing the soil up completely, add a circle of card that is just a touch smaller than the top of your plant pot.  the card will need to be quite stiff.  something like the greyboard from the back of notepads will do nicely.
the kit will have this card circle ready cut out for you.

20. pull the cotton tightly to close the felt up around the circle.  tie in a knot and cut off the excess cotton.

21.  and that's it!  this should sit neatly at the top of the plant pot.  this means that you can use the plant pot itself to store extra pins that aren't in use.


if you have any problems or have any suggestions, please do feel free to get in touch.  i'm always happy to help.