Happy Cactus Pincushion

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had fun with little pincushion plushies, usually sticking pins into helpless little voodoo dolls and the like. However, it’s a bit more cheerful to have a pincushion sitting on your desk that is both thrilled to receive his new pins AND makes a great addition of flora to your workspace!

What? People always say plants brighten up a work area. No one said it couldn’t be plush flora. Most likely because no one else is weird enough to even think it’s a possibility. But we’re special that way! So, I’m going to show you how to make this super cute pincushion guy two ways, all plush or with a little terra cotta bonus. Either way works to make yourself a new spiky friend.

So, first we just need to know how to make our little cactus plush. To put him together, we’ll need:

First, place your dieline templates on top of your fabric and cut out your felt shapes. Green is for your cactus pieces, brown for his little pot. If you decide you’d rather use a real mini pot, you can skip cutting out the brown pieces.

We’ll continue on with instructions for both, just know you can ignore me part of the time if you wish. ;) Not that you don’t do that from time to time already.

Here are your felt pieces ready to go. You need two cactus pieces no matter what. The felt pot pieces are up to you!

Get ready for the next step by hooping up a piece of tearaway stabilizer.

Here’s how this is going to stitch: first your machine will sew a dieline. Lightly spray the back of your first felt piece with adhesive, and lay it inside the dieline. Let you machine keep sewing. It will sew a tackdown around the outside, then stitch all the inside cactus detail, including his happy little cactus face.

Doesn’t he look just so darn thrilled to be here? Once your front piece is ready, unhoop him and tear him free from the stabilizer. Set him aside for the next step.

Now we put it all together! Hoop up another piece of tearaway stabilizer. Another dieline will sew. Place your back fabric piece in there, and once again a tackdown will sew, along with a few cactus details. This is the back of your little cactus. Grab the piece you stitched before (with his happy little face on it) and place it facedown onto his other half, like shown. You may want to lightly spray him with adhesive to make sure he doesn’t move around, but not too much, as you don’t want the front of him to be super sticky.

When you start your machine sewing again, a final seam will stitch your two layers together, leaving a little gap so you can turn him right side out and stuff him.

Once he’s done, un-hoop him and tear him free from the stabilizer!

Now, if you want to use a real plant pot for your spiky new friend, you can ignore this step. Otherwise, hoop up one more piece of tearaway stabilizer. A dieline for your little felt pot will stitch. Lightly spray the back of your fabric piece and place it inside the dieline. A tackdown will sew. Then, place the other piece on top.

One more tackdown stitches your two sides together, and you’re done! Tear your little felt pot free.

Turn your pot right side out, pushing out the corners. If you like, you can trim the excess seam allowance, especially at the top, so it doesn’t peek out of your little felt pot.

Now, back to our little cactus! In order to make him function a little smoother as a plushie, I’d advise two things. One, remove as much excess tearaway stabilizer from him as you can. Leaving it on will make him more stiff and harder to turn right side out and stuff with polyfill.

Two, I like to clip the corners on curves and inside edges, and trim a little of the excess of his seam allowance. He’ll be less bulky and creased that way. Bulky cacti are not happy cacti.

Once you’ve followed those two steps, turn your plushy friend right side out and push out all his corners and rounded edges. Sometimes the eraser end of a pencil is good for this if cactus is being a little stubborn. Hey, you’d be feeling grouchy too if you were inside out.

Once he’s ready, stuff him with a little polyfill stuffing, and stitch his opening up by hand.

So, if you’ve just got a felt pot to play with, place him in his new home...

And give your little cactus his first spikes!

The more you add, the more he just looks right at home. Much more cheerful than those voodoo guys, right? At least he’s a little happier about his pins.

So, this is the all-felt version, but what if you want to make him a little bit more special? Like, more like a real little plant, able to stand up with a smile on your crafting desk?

Then you’ll need these, and another quick few minutes of your time:

  • Mini terra cotta pot. You can usually find these in craft stores. It’s so tiny and cute!
  • A hot glue gun
  • Stones or other filler for decoration

So, heat up your glue gun and add a couple of gobs of glue to the bottom and sides of your little cactus, then stick him in his new clay pot. I’d add most of the glue around the sides of the plush, leaving the front and back open for your rocks and such.

Add a little extra glue down the front of the pot and start arranging little rocks in there so he looks snug in his new home. Try a couple of different sizes and shapes to find what fills out the pot best.

And now your happy little cactus friend can stand up all on his own and show off his crafty little needles. He’s super thrilled to be there and always happy to help when you need a pin or two! When he’s not helping out with craft projects, he can just chill on your desk, never needs to be watered, and brings a little plush greenery into your life. What’s not to love?

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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Cactus Pincushion (Stuffed)_image
Cactus Pincushion (Stuffed) $1.99 - $2.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.84"w x 5.20"h | 3.58"w x 3.86"h