By Haley Pierson-Cox Empty Altoids tins make great containers for craft supplies, and they’re absolutely perfect for keeping embroidery supplies in order while stitching on the go. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make your own travel embroidery travel kit, complete with a magnetic pincushion, a needle-holding magnet, and a removable organizer pouch with special places for pins and needles, a thimble, and a needle threader. And, since everything fits nicely into a small Altoids tin, you can toss the whole thing into your project bag without having to worry about getting jabbed by loose needles or runaway scissors!
Altoids tin, clean and empty
2 pink wool felt circles, 2″ diameter
1 pink wool felt square, 1″ x 1″
1 white wool felt rectangle, 2″ x 1 ¾”
1 blue wool felt rectangle, 4 ¼” x 3 ⅛”
1 decorative wool felt shape, 1″ star, heart, etc. (optional)
Elastic cord, 2″ length of ¼” wide elastic
Wool roving, 1 small handful
1 snap, ¼” diameter
2 disk magnets, ¼” diameter
Embroidery floss, 2 yards each green and white
Embroidery kit supplies, three embroidery needles, two straight pins, thimble
Amazing GOOP craft adhesive
Step 1: First, we’ll make a removable magnetic pincushion that can be attached anywhere on the tin.
To start, gather the following pieces:
Two 2″ pink felt circles
One 1″ pink felt square
One 1″ decorative shape (optional)
Step 2: Add a magnet to the back piece of the pincushion.
To do this, attach the 1″ square to one of the 2″ circles by backstitching around three of the four sides. Insert the magnet into the open end of the square, and then stitch the last side closed.
Step 3: Assemble the pincushion.
If you’re adding a decorative shape to the top of the pincushion, secure it in place on the second 2″ circle by straight stitching around the outer edge of the shape. Next stack the top circle on top of the bottom (magnetic) circle, then whipstitch them together, sewing ¾ of the way around the outside edge. Stuff the pincushion with a small amount of wool roving, then finish sewing the edge the rest of the way shut.
Step 4: Once the pincushion is stitched, use your fingers to gently work the wool roving around until it’s spread out evenly and the cushion lays flat.
Step 5: Next, we’ll put together the organizer insert.
Gather the following pieces:
One 2″ x 1 ¾” white felt rectangle
One 4 ¼” x 3 ⅛” blue felt rectangle
2″ piece of ¼ elastic
One ¼” snap
First, layer the white rectangle on top of the blue rectangle and straight stitch it in place as shown in the first photo above. Next, fold the elastic band in half, then insert the open end under the top edge of the white rectangle and stitch or glue it in place, creating a loop. Once the white rectangle and elastic band are secure, fold the blue rectangle over and whipstitch around the bottom edge and open side to create a pouch.
Step 6: Use Amazing GOOP to attach the female end of the snap to the organizer and the male end of the snap to the needle threader. Allow to dry completely.
Step 7: Set up the Altoids tin.
Attach the magnetic pincushion to the left side of the lid, then attach a second magnet (to hold extra pins and needles while you work) to the right side. Insert pins and embroidery needles into the white rectangle on the front of the organizer, put a thimble in the loop, then snap the needle threader into place. The inside of the organizer pouch is the perfect storage place for embroidery scissors or extra floss.
Done! Now, load up your new Altoids tin organizer with your favorite embroidery supplies and do a little happy dance. Because, no matter where your stitching takes you, your needles, scissors, and thimble will always be within easy reach!
About the Author: Haley Pierson-Cox is a Brooklyn-based craft writer who loves granny glasses and loathes extraneous apostrophes. She blogs about crafts, cats, domestic bliss, and DIY goodness at The Zen of Making.