I used to make these in the 70’s, when home craft shows were common. We were all trying to find the next big thing for craft sales and home shows were a good test run. They sold quickly, though I recall only making about five, keeping one for myself. So I’m trying them again for my “shooth” since everyone can use a good, strong, heavy pincushion for their sewing table. This one has been sitting next to my sewing machine for over thirty-five years.
DIRECTIONS: Run the tuna cans through the dishwasher to be sure they’re ultra clean. Then cut a 10.5″ by 1.5″ strip of polyfiber batting, medium thickness, and glue it to the exterior of the can, trying to keep the joint invisible. Let dry completely, then place the can in the middle of a 8.5″ diameter circle of a fabric of your choice (though I like velvet the best) bringing the edges into the can and glueing to the inner sides with a shirred look. This is tricky, but pretending it’s a square, and doing four corners first, then filling in, works best.
I place a similar-sized glass inside to keep it snug while it dries.
Use clean sand (I get mine from our local beach, sift it clean of small shells, and bake it for sanitation, or you can simply let it sit in the sun for a few days where you’re sure no animals will get to it…or buy new sandbox sand) and place on a piece of plastic wrap, then twist the the edges to contain it. I use 1 and 1/4 cups, but it really would depend upon how thick your fabric is. Place it in the can upside down and tap it until all the sand is settled.
Take a six inch circle of the same fabric and center it over the sand. Using a dull knife slip this top circle into the edges. When finished, take the knife and gently push the top back slightly about every half inch leaving little droplets of glue behind. Tap into shape and leave for 24 hours for the glue to set.
The rest is easy. Find the doily that fits best (5.5 to 6.5″ in diameter) and using a curved needle, tack it to the top and bottom fabric intermittently. Add ribbon and dress to your liking.
These simple gems will last forever. This is a great gift. It’s a good way to recycle old doilies and fabrics. Perhaps a piece of lace from a threadbare christening gown, or a wedding dress. Think about putting a hand-written label (i.e. Handmade by Patsye for Aunt Mary, 1965) so it can be passed down. This is also one of those crafts that accommodates well to being mass produced because there are those steps in construction when you need to wait. It’s really a four or five day craft because you want to let the glues dry and let the glue smell dissipate.
I really enjoy making them, and like the idea that all I have ever made are probably still in good use.