Sunday, 13 January 2013

Cupcake Pin-Cushions That Look Good Enough To Eat!

This is a quick, simple project that will fill a rainy afternoon, costs very little and is great fun to make with children. The end result is a cute cupcake, with sprinkles and a cherry on the top that, while intended as a pin-cushion, would also make a pretty ornament or birthday gift for a friend - an everlasting birthday cake that is completely calorie-free! - Or you could make a whole batch for a school fundraising sale or Girl Guide project.

You will need:

Silicone cupcake moulds (mine were approx 6.5cm diameter, 2.5cms high)
Some beige cotton fabric, approx 18cm sq per cake
Some pastel coloured felt
Red beads, buttons, or small silk flowers
A few assorted seed-beads
A small amount of polyester stuffing (or use fabric scraps)
A few ounces of uncooked rice
Hot glue gun and glue-sticks

Firstly, cut a circle from your piece of fabric, approx 17cm in diameter, leaving a small margin around the outside - I used a cereal bowl to draw around. It doesn't matter if your circle isn't exactly perfect.

Then cut your icing from your piece of felt - I made a shape like this, rather than a perfect circle, so it looks like the icing is dripping down the cake once it's completed - This will need to be about 7cm across at it's widest points

Once you have your icing cut to shape, sew a red bead, or button in the centre, as a 'cherry' - then start to sew the seed beads at random points all over the felt, as 'sprinkles'. It's really easy to get carried away with the beads (they're so pretty!) but remember not to overcrowd the felt - there needs to be enough room for all your pins and needles to fit afterwards! If you'd prefer not to use beads, you can make your sprinkles by embroidering tiny crosses, or French knots.

When you have finished, your cake 'topping' should look something like this...

Next, take your piece of beige fabric, and fold it into quarters to find the approximate centre. Heat up the glue gun, and put a small dab of glue on the centre point, then lay the topping over the glue, lining up the bead at the centre with the spot of glue beneath. Do not glue the entire topping to the fabric beneath, as the glue will harden as it cools, and make it difficult for pins/needles to pass through the fabric. Allow to cool. 

Now neatly back-stitch around the edge of the topping, securing it to the fabric underneath. 

Next, make a running stitch around the outside of the fabric, leaving a margin of about 1cm round the outside. Use quite strong thread, or several strands, as this will be pulled quite tightly when you form the cake.

When you've gone all the way around, start to draw up the thread to form a bowl shape

Put a small amount of your stuffing into the 'bowl' pushing into the centre with your thumbs to form a well in the middle

Carefully pour 1-2 tbps of dry rice into the well in the centre. This will give your pin-cushion added weight, and make the pins and needles easier to insert and remove. Again, push the rice into the cake with your thumbs, to distribute it evenly.

Add the rest of the stuffing on top of the rice, until your cake is stuffed sufficiently, then draw up the running thread around the outside even tighter. It may be useful to have an extra pair of hands to help you hold the cake together, and knot the thread off tightly. As I was on my own, I found it easier to pull the first thread as tight as I could, and then with the other hand, start to sew a second thread through all the pleated fabric, pulling it tighter as I went. Make a couple of circuits of the opening, then knot securely, and trim all excess threads. Squeeze the cup-cake into shape.

Heat the glue gun up again, and get your silicone cake-mould ready

Squeeze a generous amount of glue into the bottom of your mould - you may also like to squeeze a line around the inside of the mould, about halfway up

Finally take your 'cake' and insert it into the mould, and onto the molten glue. Try and squeeze the cake into a longer, pointed shape as you do this, to make sure the bottom of the fabric actually makes contact with the base of the mould. Still squeezing, push the cake down hard against your work surface, and hold for about 30 seconds. This will help to ensure the base of your cake stays flat, and will sit on your work table securely while you are using it. Gently mould the sides of the cake in your hands as the rest of the glue cools and sets.

And there you have it - a cute little cupcake that looks almost good enough to eat!

Alternatively, you could make the basic 'cake' without the topping, and sew on small brown or purple buttons (or small spots of felt) to make chocolate/blueberry muffins instead. Recreate your own favourite cake!


  1. Nice cupcakes!
    I'd like to give a tip. Rice is food and small insects will eat it (and the fabric). I always use the small stones you put into a fishbowl.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I never thought of those little stones.

  2. What a great idea, I love it & am definitely going to try it out!! Thanks for sharing :)