Enamel Pin Needleminders

April 13, 2022

When I started embroidery, I was so confident that a needleminder was an unnecessary expense. I was incredibly wrong. I don't know why I thought I, of all people, could keep track of needles. Still, the problem remained that a lot of the needleminders for sale on Etsy are ludicrously overpriced or stolen art - most likely, they are ludicrously overpriced stolen art. (Don't go on Etsy to verify this, as sellers are on strike at the moment, one of the many reasons being the stolen art issue.)

And then it occurred to me that all these things are are enamel pins, without the pin part.

I happened to have a Hercules beetle pin gathering dust on my shelf. He's never seen the light of day because the possibility of losing a pin is enough to deter me from wearing them. I just bought him because he was so cute! Can you blame me! I decided to experiment on him since he wasn't doing anything else anyway. I had no idea how good this idea was, but I didn't really have anything to lose.

But my doubts were for naught, as it worked!

Beetle needleminder

This really isn't a tutorial as much as it is an informative PSA because there isn't a lot to this: you yank the pointy part off one way or another, you glue a magnet on, you're done. However, it might be beneficial to you to know what worked for me, so I will elaborate.

I found that the easiest (and probably safest) way to get the pin bit off is to use pliers to bend the pin over at a right angle on each side until the metal breaks off. I used Linesman pliers, but needlenose pliers will probably work (you just need pliers that are small enough to grab onto a really tiny piece of metal). Wirecutters might work if they're strong enough, but the broken piece might go flying, so you really should just wiggle it off with pliers.

You will want to use neodymium magnets - they're the ones that look like metal discs. The black fridge magnets don't hold as well. You can get small sets of them at craft or hardware stores. Check the craft stores first because they will most likely have the really small sizes. I think mine are 5/16" in diameter.

For glue, I've seen a lot of people say you need E6000 for this kind of thing. You really don't - any kind of superglue is fine. If you don't intend on using the glue for something else in the near future, buy a single-use tube because the amount of glue needed for this is miniscule. I used krazy glue and it worked well. (This particular variety of krazy glue was also... vanilla scented?? For some reason?)

Depending on how thick your magnets are (or personal preference), you may want to sand down or cover the broken pin part with glue so the surface isn't jagged. Do that before you glue the magnets on, and if you use glue you'll probably want to let it dry first. You might be able to get away with gluing the magnet on where the pin used to be if you sand it, but otherwise, you should glue it off to the side where the metal is flat.

Back of pin

When you're ready to glue the magnets, stick them together and glue one end of the stack on. It would be very unfortunate if you glued the magnet with the wrong pole down. If you use E6000, you should wait the entire cure time, but if you use something that dries quickly like superglue, it'll be ready to go in a few minutes.

There's one caveat here: your pin might be magnetic. The other pin I tried was. In this case, you won't need glue (gluing the magnets to the back isn't feasible because one magnet will already want to stick to the pin), but you'll have to put one magnet on the back and one on the front. In this case, the back magnet is holding the pin to the fabric, and the front magnet is holding your needles - they're not sticking to each other. I don't mind looking at the magnet stuck to the front, and it helps that the pin is large. If you'd rather not deal with the magnet being visible (or have a pin that would be mostly covered up by the magnet), you should check the pin before you ruin it.


So, if you, like me, don't want to wear pins but buy them anyway because they're cute, and are also in the market for a buddy to hold your needles, great news! Whether you've considered it or not, it is feasible for you to go wreck all your pins and put them to better use. Now that I think about it, you can still wear your pins using the magnets, so even if you're not afraid of wearing them, you still might find this useful.

P.S. For the curious, both of these pins are from Fossil Forager. She draws the cutest darn animals I've ever seen (mostly fish and invertebrates, which is great for me). She no longer sells this particular beetle, but the moray is still for sale, and she has since made other beetle pins.