Tea Light + Candle Plate Pincushions

tea-light-and-candle-plate-pincushionscandle plate pincushion anna maria horner

I’m starting to wonder if I have a slight obsession with these pins.   They’re pretty pins and they deserve a pretty home, right?  I decided my ugly tomato was just not cutting it any longer and wanted a prettier pincushion sitting beside my sewing machine.   I was fiddling around with some candle plates one day and realized they would make a great base for a pincushion to sit on.  I love how clean and simple they are, and how the glass base dresses up what would otherwise be just another round, stuffed fabric pincushion.   (Oh, and the pretty pearlized pins are from Dritz.  LOVE these pins.)


candle plate embroidery

The embroidery is of course optional, but I’m always looking for an excuse to use embroidery somewhere on a project!  The fabric above is Anna Maria Horner’s Hand Drawn Garden “Centerpiece”.   I outlined her fabric design with some back stitches and added French Knots at the dots.  The fabric for the smaller pincushion below is Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow “Doily” in the color Grassland.   For the embroidery on the top of this one I filled in the center circle using French Knots and outlined the loops using my favorite embroidery stitch – the Lazy Daisy.   (Such a cute name for a stitch!)  Both of these great embroidery tutorials are from Vanessa Christensons blog V and Co.


candle plate pincushion set of two

  • Fabric – between 1/4  to  1/3 of a yard – depending on size of candle plate, or more if centering a specific design
  • Thread
  • Batting
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Pins
  • Glass candle plate or a tea light holder (You can get these at Target or any of those big chain craft stores.)  The sizes and edges all seem to be a little different so the instructions below allow for all sizes.
  • Embroidery floss and embroidery needles
  • Tape measure or ruler and pen
  • E6000 or clear drying glue


glass pincushion trace


Candle plates come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses and these cutting instructions allow for whatever size you use.  First, you will want to determine what size you need the base of your pincushion to be.  (If you want to add embroidery, it’s easier to do it before you cut out the top.)

Cut out a fabric base that is 1/4″ larger all the way around than the desired finished size.  (The picture above shows me tracing around the outside of the tea light for the fabric base, because the edge was 1/4″ bigger than the size I wanted the finished pincushion to be.)

For the larger candle plate pincushion  I cut out a fabric top 1-1/4″ larger all the way around than the desired finished size.

For the smaller tea light pincushion I cut out a fabric top 1″ larger all the way around than the desired finished size.  (This was so there would be less fullness on the smaller pincushion.)



Using a 1/4″ seam, baste around the outside edge of the fabric top.  I usually sew another row of basting around the outside, just in case a thread brakes while gathering.

Divide the fabric top and the fabric bottom into 4 even quarter sections by folding the circle in half, then folding it in half again.  I marked these 4 locations (think 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00) using purple pins, but you can just use a pen or marking pencil.

Pull the bobbin thread to gather the top to the same size as the base.

With right sides of the fabrics together, align the purple pins and pin the fabric top to the bottom.  Try and space all the gathers out as evenly as possible to get a smooth gathered edge.

Using a 1/4″ seam, sew around the outside edge, leaving a 1-2″ opening for stuffing. Try and sew as round of a circle as you can. If you leave in the pins, sometimes it creates funky stitching lines.  After taking out the pins, flip it over and sew again around the edge to tidy it up if necessary.   To help remember to leave an opening, I use white pins to mark the beginning and end where I want to stop sewing.

Turn inside out and stuff.  I stuff mine pretty firmly and it takes a bit of pushing, shoving and cajoling (swearing) with the batting to get it to look relatively smooth. Make sure you set the pincushion into the glass plate or tea light a few times while stuffing to verify the size and shape is what you want.

Hand sew the opening closed.  Place some glue on the sides or rim of the candle plate and hold the pincushion down for about 5-10 minutes to let it set.

Full disclosure….the E6000 dries clear, but you might see it through the glass depending on the type of glass plate you use. There are TONS of candle plates that aren’t clear that would hide the glue and seams better than a clear plate would, but I really liked the look of the glass and so that’s what I used that for my pincushions.

tea light pincushion

candle plate pincushions


glass pincushion DIY tutorial

Have fun making pincushions!


  1. Sew very cute!! Love the embroidery detailing. And I love those ‘oh shiny’ pearlized pins too!!

  2. ialwayspickthethimble says:

    Here’s another really cute version of a tea light pincushion from the darling blog http://www.craftsnob.com!

    Thank you Sara! :)

  3. Very cute. I love pincushions.

  4. Lisa Acevedo says:

    Love this pin cushion. I am currently obsessed with making pin cushions. I am definitely going to buy a couple candle bases and give this a try. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • ialwayspickthethimble says:

      You are welcome! Pincushions can be just so darn cute and functional – feels like win, win when I make them too!

  5. The bright colors look gorgeous!

  6. Oh my goodness are these so adorable… you have given me the bug.. just shared this site with my very dear friend in MO.. she and I used to live in Orlando and would work with our craftiness ideas a lot… just had to share with her that we really need to make these… and I do soo love those adorable colored pins… I’m such a sucker for pretty things… hope I can master this as well as you did… they really are so cute.. what an adorable gift for someone who loves to sew … (or not)… lol thanks for sharing …Phyllis

    • ialwayspickthethimble says:

      Thank you Phyllis! Don’t stress too much about the stuffing and sewing. If you pick a solid candle base – it will hide everything. Have fun sewing pretty! :)

  7. Love them, especially with the embroidery and your gorgeous pins. Your tutorial was great and photos too!

    • ialwayspickthethimble says:

      Thank you! I had fun making them, but the funny thing is I’m not actually using it – I’m just gazing lovingly at it and the pretty shiny pins. (I need to get over that, haha!) Thanks again, Karen

  8. Hummm, I wonder if they have the tea light things at the $1 store? I’d have to drive an hour to get to a target. On a Mission now! LOL!

    • ialwayspickthethimble says:

      Quite possibly! Most stores that sell candles usually sells tea light holders. It’s worth a try!

  9. Debra Kay Neiman says:

    Karen, Thanks for this tutorial…I have lots of these little glass containers around. I am a new follower. Greetings from Oklahoma, USA. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

    • ialwayspickthethimble says:

      Thank you and thank you again for following! I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial – I had a lot of fun making them and I hope you do too.

  10. Thanks for the idea. I have some small glasses that I wondered what to do with. This is perfect. I also saved my hair as it was falling out. That is what people used way back when.

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