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Upcycled Sweater Cactus Pincushion

When it comes to the last Tuesday of the month, I get a tad excited because it means that Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION time. That means it’s time to grab those cast-offs that need a new life. This month I’m headed to my sweater stash since the cooler weather is rolling in. I’m excited to make a cutie upcycled sweater cactus pincushion. Do you see it?

Upcycled Thrifted Sweater Before Upcycle | prodigalpieces.com

Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series hosted by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Come learn to create for you and your home | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

While I didn’t have a suitable candidate in my stash of damaged sweaters, I did, however find this one at a local thrift store I like to haunt. I particularly paid attention to the cuffs for the ribbing and the design on the knit. Here’s what one of my refashioned spikey cuties looks like…

DIY Handmade Cactus Pincushion Created from Upcycled Sweater by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #diy #crafts #succulent #giftidea

Aren’t they adorable? Not only are they perfect for Christmas gifts, but also as teacher gifts, housewarming gifts, etc. I’m a pincushion addict of sorts as I have my handmade chicken pincushion and a mini dress-form pincushion I made with a candle stick. They look like they’ve seen better days, but that’s because I love on them all the time. tee hee.

Handmade Pincushions by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

DIY TIME

Let’s talk about what you need to create your own upcycled sweater cactus pincushion. First, here’s a list of supplies to gather:

Tools & Supplies:
  • knit sweater
  • sewing scissors
  • coordinating thread & needle
  • steel wool (either 000 or 0000)
  • batting
  • hot glue/hot glue gun
  • small pot (terra cotta makes it more realistic)
  • dry beans or small rocks, etc.
  • scrap hard-board
  • brown felt for soil, colored felt for flowers (if desired)
  • craft glue

My tutorial is a basic framework for creating one of these of your own. However, feel free to mix it up and have fun with it!

TERMS OF USE: If you want to create a cactus pincushion of your own, you agree to the following: it cannot be shared or distributed for monetary gain in any way, it may not be modified in any way, and you may not claim the work as your own. 

STEP 1

To begin, we use our scissors to cut a portion of the sweater. I’m starting with the ribbed cuffs because it’s already the diameter of what I’m using, which is a 4″ terra cotta pot. All I need to do is choose the height.

Cutting Sweater Sleeve for Upcycled Sweater Cactus Pincushion | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 2

Then, we use our need and thread to add a running stitch to the top edge to cinch it up for stuffing. Pull the thread taught and anchor the stitch to close.

Using Running Stitch for Cactus Pincushion | prodigalpieces.com

Cinched and Stuffed Sweater Sleeve for Upcycled Cactus | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 3

Next, it’s time to stuff our cactus. While you could use plain stuffing whether poly or wool, I like to use a ball of steel wool. When you use steel wool it helps maintain clean and sharp pins. In order to stuff, I take a wool pad and open it up…

Opened Steel Wool Sheet | prodigalpieces.com

Then, I start rolling it into a ball beginning at one corner.

Steel Wool Ball for Filling Upcycled Sweater Cactus Pincushion | prodigalpieces.com

However, before I tuck it into my cactus, I also add a layer of batting/stuffing to make it more plump and round. Once I have my cactus stuffed, I use the same running stitch to close off the other side. Set aside.

STEP 4

Now it’s time to fill the pot. Yay! First, I want to make a stable base so my pincushion won’t tip over. I fill a baggie with dry beans just enough to fill the flower pot. Also, you could use gravel or a large rock, even sand, as well.

Filling Flower Pot with Bag of Beans | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 5

Before I can add my stuffed cactus to the pot, I need to create a surface for it to attach to. That’s where the hard board (or luan) comes in. I measure the inner top just below the edge and cut a piece of hard-board (the stuff that clipboards are made of) and also a piece of brown felt.

Pincushion Inserts of Hard Board and Felt | prodigalpieces.com

Then, I secure the felt to the hard-board with glue, and then adhere the board to the pot using hot glue.

STEP 6

Finally, I add on top the stuffed cactus and use hot glue to assemble as well. It’s at this point I add the accent details like flowers and pins, so feel free to finish off how you like. Have fun with it!

DIY Handmade Cactus Pincushion from Upcycled Sweater | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #succulent #sewing

Handmdade Knit Cactus Pincushion from Upcycled Sweater by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #upcycled #refashion #succulent

MIni Cactus Pincushions Handmade from Upcycled Sweater by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #cactus #sewing #diy #homedecor #giftidea

I’m curious, which one is your favorite? I like them all as a set, and I’m partial to any because they’re all so fun to make and make use of.

Mini Cactus Pincushion Set Made from Upcycled Sweater | Gift Idea | by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #giftidea #handmade #diy #succulent

Top View of Upcycled Sweater Pincushions by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #crafts #handmade #sewing #refashion

Upcycled Knit Sweater Cactus Pincushion by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #crafts #giftidea

In addition to leaving me a comment below, also pin and share to inspire others too.

Create this adorable cactus pincushion by using an upcycled sweater. Full tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #giftidea #crafts #sewing #diy #upcycled

Up next, it’s Part 2 of my thrifted table trio (see Part 1 HERE) with the smallest one up for the makeover. See Part 2 OVER HERE and Part 3 in this final post.

Thrifted Mid Century Modern Bench Seat Before | prodigalpieces.com

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Also, more REFASHION fun projects like my upcycled sweater cactus pincushion:

Sew cute! Larissa of Prodigal Pieces creates a refashioned sweater sloth from an upcycled cashmere sweater. See the free pattern at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #sewing #diy #kids #toysGive the gift of a hug! Make an upcycled shirt (or sweater) pocket pillow this holiday. Full tutorial at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #refashion #diy #upcycled #giftidea #christmas

Comments

  1. Rebecca - NC says

    Those are so cute!!! And so practical!!! There is nothing worse than sewing with dull pins…. You are soooooo creative! I think the cacti with the little flowers are my fave. 💕😁💕

    • Larissa says

      You’ve made my day! I’m so smitten with them as an avid lover of succulents. They’re addictive! Thanks so much, Rebecca. 😀

  2. Audra says

    These are totally adorable! I like the big one with the flower on top and the one with multiple arms!!! Great repurpose!!!!

  3. Ginny says

    These are so adorable! You picked the perfect pattern on the sweater for this project! I may have to go on a goodwill run and attempt to make one of these 😉

    • Larissa says

      woot, woot! All credit to my daughter for finding it for me. She has a good eye as it was the only one like it in the store. Thanks so much, Ginny!

  4. Susan Stevenson says

    These are adorable! I need to make one for each of my daughters 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration! Pinned

  5. Marie - Interior Frugalista says

    Oh my goodness, Larissa, these are ADORABLE! So cute and functional to have on display in a sewing/craft room. I’d use these as decor on a bookcase or window ledge in any room too. Pinned 🙂

    • Larissa says

      You are such a kindred spirit, Marie. That’s my goal for a studio one day…just a fun creative space. Thanks so much!

  6. Becky says

    Well, aren’t those the cutest thing I’ve seen this week! You did a wonderful job! That big solid green one would fit right in here!

  7. Becky says

    “SOLID green” 🙄 I have keyboard dyslexia. 😬😁

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