Needle Arts

Cross Stitch Pincushion Tutorial


Rainbow Pincushion Tutorial

Say goodbye to your grandmother’s tomato and hello to our updated rainbow pincushion. And not just any rainbow – our Benzie rainbow! This pincushion has an embroidery hoop base and uses 100% wool felt for durability. Fun, functional and fully operational within an afternoon of crafting. Let’s take a stab at it!

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 3 hours

Project supplies


One 9 x 12” sheet of Nordic Pure Wool Felt
One 9 x 12” sheet of Silver Metallic Felt
3" Embroidery Hoop
Embroidery Floss – DMC 606, 726, 3326, 3810 and 3851
14-count Waste Canvas
Tacky Glue
Glue Gun
Precision Knife
Cardboard, at least 3” square
Marbled Glass Head Pins
Round Nose Pliers or Tweezers  (optional)
Rainbow Pincushion Pattern  (click to download)


1. Print Rainbow Pincushion Pattern above. Trace pattern pieces onto felt and cut out.

2. Use a pencil to trace outside perimeter of the assembled embroidery hoop onto the backside of the metallic felt. Cut out felt circle.

Tracing embroidery hoop onto felt

Disassemble embroidery hoop and trace inside perimeter of the inner hoop onto the cardboard. Use precision knife to cut out cardboard circle. Set both circles aside.

Tracing inner embroidery hoop onto cardboard

3. Cut a 5” square of waste canvas. Place waste canvas in the center of your felt square and fit an embroidery hoop over both fabrics. Center the rainbow pattern in the hoop and stitch design using three strands of each color of embroidery floss. See Benzie Basics: Cross Stitch for additional cross stitch help, such as centering a pattern.

Cross stitching rainbow design

4. When you are finished stitching, take the felt out of the embroidery hoop. Remove the waste canvas by pulling out the individual strands with pliers or tweezers. You might find it helpful to trim away the excess canvas first, as there will be less resistance on the strands. Be very careful not to cut or poke a hole in your felt!

Removing waste canvas

5. Iron the felt face down on a clean towel. Draw thin lines of glue along all of the stitching on the back of your felt. Cover with the rainbow pattern piece cut from felt. Allow to dry. This step will keep the stitching on the front from snagging on sewing pins.

Gluing on felt backing

6. Once the glue is dry, replace the stitched felt in the embroidery hoop. Slightly push the inner hoop forward, so that it is halfway extended from the back hoop. Gently push from behind to create a dome for stuffing.  Do not fully tighten the screw on the hoop. This step will take a fair amount of adjusting and recentering. If your hoops separate, just start again.

Making a felt dome

7. Stuff the felt dome with Polyfil until you are satisfied with the firmness. You will need to work from the front and back to keep the design centered and the stuffing even. Continue to adjust the fabric tension and slowly tighten the hoop screw as you get everything into position.

Adding stuffing to dome

8. Place the cardboard circle into the back of the hoop to contain the stuffing. Use hot glue (for quicker drying time) to wrap the felt around the back of the cardboard. This will hold the stuffing and cardboard circle in place. Trim away as much excess felt as possible. Gluing the felt close to the cardboard edge will allow you to cut away more felt. You want the back of the inner hoop (with the cardboard and felt) to be flush with the outer hoop.

Gluing on cardboard backing

9. Draw a line of tacky glue along the back perimeter of the outer embroidery hoop. Attach the metallic felt circle, metallic side out.

Adding felt back to pincushion

10. Your rainbow pincushion is almost complete. All you need now are pins! Benzie’s marbled glass head pins are sharp, strong and match perfectly.

Putting pins in pincushion

This is a great project for introducing cross stitch or for a summer camp craft. We can’t wait to see yours in use!

Pincushion in use

Thanks to Camille for designing and writing this tutorial. You can follow her on Instagram @notsomodernmillie or visit her website. Stay tuned for upcoming projects!