Tuna Can Pin Cushion-Recycling at it’s best!

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Roofers are in the process of laying shingles on our deck roof. We are getting so close to being done I can almost taste the grilled chicken. Man I’ve missed that. Hopefully we can sneak in a BBQ or two before the snow flies. I needed to be here in case they had any questions, so I’ve been crafting and baking all morning. Just pulled two loaves of pineapple cranberry zucchini bread out of the oven. Yummo!

I also finished up a tutorial for you. I’m sure the construction crew wonders why the heck I keep taking pictures of cans and fabric. They must think I’m nuts!

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately, and I decided it was high time I had a cute pin cushion. I’ve been using one of those ugly tomato things for years. I know, totally lame. I’ve seen some really cute pincushions made inside of teacups. But I didn’t have any teacups layin’ around, so I used what I had. Yep, a tuna fish can. I’m going to show you how to make your own.

Tuna Can Pin Cushion Tutorial

The first thing you need to do is make some tuna sandwiches so you have a can to work with. 😉
Wash and dry it really well, then give it a couple coats of spray paint. Most of it will be covered, the most important part is the top rim and bottom edge. So make sure you spray those parts well.
Next you need to measure your can and cut a strip of paper to wrap around it. Mine was about 10 1/2″x 1 1/4″. (You could use fabric instead if you prefer.)

I inked the edge of my paper to add dimension.

Next you want to use mod podge to attach your paper. (Or if you are using fabric, you can attach it with hot glue.) Let it dry for at least an hour.

For the top, you need to cut a piece of fabric into a circle shape about 9″ across. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Using some string or really sturdy thread, do a running stitch around the circle, about 1/4″ from the edge.

Now carefully pull the threads tight and stuff with fiberfill as you go. You need to stuff it really full. Be careful when you get to the end not to break your thread. When you have it full and gathered, tie the two ends of string into a knot. It should look like this on the bottom:

And this on the top:

To secure your cushion into the base, take some hot glue and make a line all along the inside edge of the can.

Then take your cushion and carefully push the bottom into the can.

At this point, you could be done. But of course I needed to add some embellishments to make it cuter. I added a strip of burlap that I attached with hot glue.

And then I made a paper flower by cutting a bunch of circles out of paper, inking the edges, and sticking a brad through the center. I also added a couple paper leaves.

You can embellish it however you like. Fabric flowers would be darling, so would some vintage buttons. The possibilities are endless really. No matter how you finish it, it’s bound to be the cutest tuna can any of your friends have ever seen! 🙂



  1. This is cute. I go through a lot of tuna. And I do need a pin cushion. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Ok, I’m officially giving up on the tuna can! I tried soap/water, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, lemon juice, and toothpaste, and the darn can stick stinks of tuna! I will have to find a similar sized can with something other than tuna in it for this project. This project is turning out to be tougher than I thought!

    • Dang, that stinks! No pun intended. 😉 I didn’t have that problem with mine. Maybe just different brands of tuna use metals that absorb odors more? Hope you can find a substitute. Or maybe if the can sits long enough, the tuna odor will go away on it’s own. Good luck!

  3. How did you get the tuna smell out?! I washed my can with soap and water but that didn’t work. So then I soaked it in vinegar, then washed it in soap and water again, and it still stinks of tuna. I have it soaking in a baking soda bath now, so I hope that works, because I’m out of ideas!

  4. I had a great time making this one! Some friends also suggested making it a cupcake…how cute would THAT be!?

  5. Super cute. I recently got into sewing so I’ll have to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

  6. So cute! Thanks for the tutorial!<3

  7. Very pretty!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  8. I am currently re-energizing my sewing mojo and have been putting off getting a pincushion until I found something other than the “traditional” tomato. I will me making this very soon! But I might add some sort of weight to the bottom (rice/rocks/ball bearings glued to the bottom) so it doesn’t have that tuna-can “echo” when it drops to my work surface after a snagged pin lets go.

  9. maggielucia says

    seriously adorable..i just made a “sweet flower wrist pincushion” from another tute and now i am going to make yours for my “tomato replacement ” on my sewing table.
    thanks !

  10. Adorable! Now I know what to do with all those cans.

  11. Cute! Tuna is one of the few canned foods we eat. What a great idea! Thanks for linking to Topsy Turvy Tuesday’s!

  12. What a great idea! I love upcycling crafts because you don’t have to buy as much AND you don’t have to feel bad about throwing stuff away. Thanks for linking up at our blog hop. I hope to see you back next month too!

  13. BuyWoWWarlock says

    i never thought of using a tuna can as a base for cushions.
    this is such a great idea!
    this is really recycling at its best:D

  14. This is just seriously adorable!! You’re so creative! I love it! I am happy to be your newest follower and would love to have you as a friend at Frou Frou Decor! Be sure to link up your sweet creations at my weekly party, Fabulous Friday Finds! Hope to see you there!
    ~Terrell @ Frou Frou Decor~

  15. I love this idea…and I am embarassed to say I am using an ugly old tomato right now! Ugh…time to change that!

  16. Love your pincushion idea! Have you ever thought about using an SOS pad or some other steel wool product along with the batting? I made something similar to this with a mason jar and the steel wool was suggested to keep pins sharp. Just an idea. Take care and thanks for all you do. Enjoy all your great ideas!

  17. Great idea to recycle something you would normally throw out! I don’t know if this would work in my house…I have a feeling my cat might go crazy over the can!

  18. Methinks the cats are about to get over-fed this week so I can get some Christmas gifts knocked out. This is a great idea!

  19. very very cute Kara!

  20. Have I ever told you that you’re a genius? Not only a genius, but a cute genius. I love this!

  21. Adorable! Were you able to get the tuna smell out??

    • Absolutely! I just washed it with soap and water, no problem at all. It would be horrible to have a pin cushion that smelled like tuna. Nasty!

  22. Such a cute idea.

  23. You still have the cutest ideas! I love it.

  24. Love it! I have been wanting a cute pincushion too. I may just have to ‘steal’ your idea! Please come link it up on Make It Fantabulous! on Friday!

    • I seriously suffer from short term memory loss. But I’ve added your party to my list, so hopefully I will remember in the future!

  25. Shared your post on my blog! I actually meant to save it and publish it later this week but i hit publish instead of save and DON’T YOU JUST HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS??? LOL

    love the pincushion!

  26. You are so creative! I need to make one of these so I don’t keep pricking my fingers when I pick up my wimpy tomato pincushion with the pins poking out on the bottom.

  27. That is so cute! I’ve been wanting a new pin cushion as well since I’ve also been using the boring tomato. I even made tuna fish sandwiches for lunch today! I’ll hurry and take the tins out of the garbage can and make me a cute pin cushion. Thanks!

  28. haley davis says

    Oooo super cute!

  29. Great idea! It looks so cute!

  30. What a fun idea! I love the colors that you chose.

  31. I love this idea! I have been in need of a new pin cushion and just can’t bring myself to pay for another “tomato”. Now I can’t wait to make my own! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Oooh, that is so cute! I love the colors you chose to decorate the tuna can with!

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