Cigarette case needle holder

by Admin on 18/09/2007

in Paper+Mixed Media, Whip Up Tutorials

A fantastic way to reuse old cigarette cases or tins is to turn them into needle cases. This case I made was deep enough to carry some embroidery floss too – handy for embroidery on the go. They’re still easy to find at flea markets, and junk/antique shops – this one was only £3 at a boot fair here in the UK. Great gifts for needle craft enthusiasts!

This tutorial shows how to use a cigarette case but a tin can be done the same way using just the deeper side of the container and hot-gluing the fabric into the case.

Supplies: cigarette case or tin – two pieces of fabric 1/2 inch larger than case – tracing paper – pencil – scissors – tape – card – needle & thread – batting – chalk Optional: narrow ribbon or elastic and a glue gun may be necessary

How to:

(1) Choose a case. If it’s fairly deep like the silver one, it can hold some floss too.

(2) Use tracing paper to carefully trace around the inside rim of the case.

(3) Put tape on the underside of the shape you’ve traced and tape it to a piece of card. Cut the shape out of the card and place it inside the case to check the size.

(4) Use the tracing paper shape to cut out a piece of any type of batting (wadding.) Note: If your case is shallow use something light weight.

(5) Choose a piece of fabric, something that won’t get easily damaged by needle holes like velvet, or felt. I used a scrap piece of velvet. Put the tracing paper shape down on the wrong side of the fabric and roughly trace around it adding at least 1/2 inch or 1cm excess to each side, then trim the corners back.

(6) Center the batting on the wrong side of the fabric, then place the card stock on top of the batting. Secure the fabric by stitching corner-to-corner diagonally (all 4 corners) then stitching the top and bottom edges and the left and right edges, pulling it taut as you sew. If the corners are bulky, try putting a few tight stitches down the diagonal edges to help lay them flat. NOTE: Be sure to pull the fabric taut, but not so much that you curve the card inside.

(7) Most cases have a rim around the inside, just pop the padded fabric piece you’ve made into the case and under the rim, it should fit snugly. If your case has no rim or the padded piece isn’t snug enough, sand the inside down to create a key and hot-glue it into the case (this is necessary if you use a tin instead of a case.)

(8) Cover another card with fabric the same as the first but leave out the batting (another piece of batting would add too much bulk) – use this one to line the other side of the case. Now fill the padded side with needles of your choice, finished.

OPTIONAL: Many old cases will have little looped edges where elastic or a leather strip once held cigarettes in. I sewed ribbon into those loops mainly for decoration but they are also handy for holding bits.

About the project designer:

Joan Gorman was an art director and graphic designer in Northern California for several years before moving to England in 1997. Her move and parenthood prompted a simpler, less hurried lifestyle. She’s now a primary school art teacher, mother of two, freelance designer and regular contributor to children’s magazines. She displays her work and shares ideas on her site ninimakes.

To contribute your design, tutorial or story please read the contributor guidelines – this month we are taking submissions for easy and simple crafts.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 dorie September 18, 2007 at 9:07 am

very cool idea! Thanks for sharing.


2 feli September 18, 2007 at 10:30 am

GENIUS!!! Thanks for sharing


3 Ebren September 19, 2007 at 1:47 am

Hurrah! For once I’m a head of the game . . I’ve been using an antique art nouveau case for the last 30 years to hold skeins of silk for my embroidery. :) It even has little arms to hold the cigarettes in each side, which are perfect to catch oddments of thread. And all for the princely sum of about 10p all those years ago . . .


4 kt September 21, 2007 at 1:52 am

Wonderful! Love the recycled-coolness of this. Also admire the artist’s move to England (jealous!) and change in lifestyle.


5 Daina January 7, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Thanks so much!!I just made one of these. Glad i don’t smoke anymore, now I can do something crafty with my cigarette case:)


6 kathleen g November 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm

what a great idea. I have my mohers old cigarette case, and have just been keeping it my memory box.


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