How to Make a Needle Minder

Close up of handmade needle minder and pin cushions

grizzlymountainarts / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

Overview
  • Total Time: 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

When you are stitching and need to pause for a few minutes or get your next length of thread ready, where do you put your needle? It's far too easy for needles to go missing during these moments, but a ​magnetic needle minder helps avoid this problem. There are lots of different needle minders available to buy, and you can find them with just about any design you can imagine, but why buy when you can create your own? They are so easy to make! You can infuse your personality into it, creating a stitching accessory as unique as you are.

Notes

Depending on what your base is made of, you may want to use a different industrial strength glue.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Industrial strength glue such as E-6000

Materials

  • Decorative base for the top of the needle minder
  • 2 strong magnets, sized to fit the base

Instructions

  1. Choosing Magnets

    A needle minder is composed of two magnets, one for the right side that keeps your needles from getting lost, and one for the wrong side of your embroidery that keeps the first one from falling off. One of the magnets usually has a decorative top, or base.

    The magnets should be strong enough to hold each other together through stitching fabric while securing needles to the side on the front of your work.

    • Neodymium magnets, or rare earth magnets, come in different sizes. These are a good choice because they are powerful but slim.
    • Ceramic magnets are cheaper and thicker, which makes them harder to lose. However, the poles' position of soft ceramic magnets may change, which can cause the two pieces to no longer attract each other.

    As long as your magnets hold to each other, and create a strong pull through the base, they will work.

    Types of Strong Magnets
    Mollie Johanson
  2. Choosing a Base

    Lots of things will work for the base, as long as they are small and thin. 

    • Buttons are a great choice. Vintage buttons are often beautiful, and making them into a needle minder gives them new life! You can also use decorative or covered buttons. The back of the button needs to be flat, so if it has a shank back, you will need to remove it.
    • Wooden discs work well, and they can also be customized. Paint them with acrylic paint, decoupage them, or cover them with an embroidered design.
    • Small toys are another option that you may have around the house. As long as they are thin and can take the glue, they should work.
    • Cabochons are a popular item to use when making needle minders, as they come in so many styles and designs. Look for them in craft supply stores or online.

    The important thing is to test your base before you glue everything together. Hold the two magnets behind the base, and see if the needle stays moves. If the needle clings to the base when you give it a shake, you're all set!

    Needleminder Base Ideas
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Gluing

    Because the magnets must hold tightly to each other, it's essential to choose an industrial-strength glue, such as E-6000, that won't come undone when you separate the magnets. 

    • Squeeze a small amount onto the back of your needle minder base. 

    If you're using a button with holes to the front, avoid putting lots of glue right around the holes.

    • Press one of the magnets into the glue. If the glue squishes out around the magnet, that's okay; it will dry clear.

    Let the glue dry for several hours, or even overnight. If it hasn't completely cured before you use your new needle minder, you may get glue on your embroidery work, or the magnet may pull off.

    Attach the First Magnet to the Base
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Test Your Needle Minder

    To test your needle minder, hold the base magnet to the front of your hooped embroidery work. Place the other magnet on the back of your work so that it attaches to the base piece. Take it on and off several times and give the work a shake to make sure the needle minder stays in its spot.

     Place some needles on the base, and give the work another gentle shake. The needles should stay attracted to where you put them on the base.

    Place the Second Magnet on the Back
    Mollie Johanson

Ideas for More Needle Minders

Your needle minder is done! No more lost needles as you work! It's a good idea to remove your needle minder when you're done stitching for a time.

Now that you know how to make a needle minder, you can create one for every project in your work-in-process pile. And what better way to reduce, reuse, recycle odds and ends than turning them into beautiful needle minders? What excellent gifts for all of your stitching friends!

Make Your Own Needle Minder
Mollie Johanson