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ScrapBusters: Lip Balm Key Ring Mini Case

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When the temperatures dip and the wind whips, can chapped lips be far behind? This time of year, it's so difficult to keep your lips moist and protected from the elements. Your best defense is a good offense: constant swipes from your trusty tube of lip balm. I don't know about you, but I've got tons of tubes of lip balm – there's just never one nearby when I need it. So I end up buying another! Today's fast and easy ScrapBusters project is an adorable key ring lip balm holder. Make several so you always have your favorite tubes on hand... and can stop buying more than you need.

Slip this little fob-with-a-pocket onto your key chain or add a swivel clip and hook it onto a purse buckle, gym bag or anywhere you need a handy holder for your emergency tube of lip balm. 

Remember... Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Better keep those lips kissably smooth!

These are so quick and fun and use such tiny bits of fabric, you could make dozens just from the fave fabrics already in your stash. One thing to remember is that the motif will be upside down on one side if you choose a directional fabric, such as we did with our typewriter keys motif. This is because the front and back panels are each a single piece, so the fold creates the direction change.


Each fob finishes at approximately 1¾" wide (at the base) x 3¾" high, excluding the D-ring.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the one pattern sheet: Lip Balm Key Ring Case
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Using the pattern, cut ONE from EACH of the TWO coordinating fabrics.
  4. Using the pattern, cut TWO from the lightweight fusible interfacing. 
    NOTE: We stacked all three layers and cut them all at once. In addition, we trimmed our interfacing pieces ¼" all around. This is not mandatory if you are using standard quilting cotton. However, if you choose a heavier weight fabric, we recommend this step in order to keep the interfacing out of the seam allowance for as smooth a seam as possible. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric piece.
  2. Pin the two fabric pieces right sides together, running your pins down the center.
  3. Place the pattern piece over the top and transfer the two "side dots" from the pattern to the fabric. You can simply use pins (as we did) or mark with a fabric pen or pencil. These dots are the start and end points for your outer seam. This is the opening that will be left for turning. 
  4. Using a ¼" seam, sew around the entire perimeter, pivoting at the corners, going slowly around each curve, and locking your seam at each dot on either side of the opening. 

    NOTE: The stitching method listed above is perfectly acceptable. However, with such a small item, you may want to try the alternative method listed below to maintain sharper corners.

Alternate seam method

  1. Using ¼" seams throughout, first stitch across the top and then across the bottom. 
  2. Next, stitch from the bottom up to the bottom of the curve.
  3. Then, stitch from the top of the curve to the top of fabric, but do not stitch the curve.
  4. When both sides are done (remembering to leave the opening on the one side with the dots), stitch each curve.

Turning and folding to finish

  1. Press the seam open. Trim the corners and clip the curves.

    NOTE: For more on these techniques, see our tutorials on corners and curves
  2. Turn right side out through the side opening. Use a long, blunt end tool, such as a long knitting needle or chopstick to gently push at the corners until they are nice and square. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  3. Thread a hand sewing needle and whip stitch the opening closed. 
  4. Using the top fold line on the pattern piece as a guide, fold the top down. You are folding the back down over the front. Press in place.
  5. Slip the D-ring into place against the fold and pin.
  6. Attach a Zipper foot.
  7. Run one seam straight across as close to the D-ring as possible.
  8. Run a second seam straight across as close as possible to the bottom edge of the folded over tab.
  9. Again, using the fold line on the pattern piece as a guide (the bottom line this time), fold the bottom up into place. You are folding the front up over the back. The bottom of the panel will end up just below the seam line of the front tab (but, of course, on the opposite side of the fob). 
  10. Press in place then pin in place.
    NOTE: This is a good time to slip an actual tube of lip balm into the pocket to insure it fits as you'd like. You can adjust your seam allowance smaller or larger if need be.
  11. Using a ¼" or smaller seam allowance, stitch each side to secure the "lip balm pocket." 

    NOTE: If possible, use a lock stitch to secure your seam at the bottom and top of the "pocket." This will give you a cleaner finish to your seam. If your machine does not have this feature, you can leave the thread tail long and hand knot the tails. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild



Comments (16)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kathy P - thanks for sharing our link with your followers. We're so glad you've had such fun with our project!

Piz16zolo said:
Piz16zolo's picture

Hi Liz, Thanks for the advice! After I wrote to you, I began to do some other things like refill the bobbin (it was almost empty), make sure no dust or threads were in the bobbin case and adjust the tension of the thread. I re-threaded the needle and read through my manual a bit. I must admit that I've had the machine for 4 years and have never read the entire manual. So, although my first lip balm key fob is a loss, due to too much stitching and ripping out, I will try another one soon. If I can't resolve the issue, I'll certainly contact a local dealer. 

Piz16zolo said:
Piz16zolo's picture

I don't know why I'm such a hard time making this! All was well until I tried sewing the first fold-down after inserting the D-ring. My machine simply would not sew from one side to other, getting bogged down in the middle and making tiny stitches. I changed the needle to a denim and lengthened the stitch slightly and still had difficulty. Then I attached the walking foot, which did sew, but of course I couldn't get very close to the D-ring. I've ripped out and started over 4 times! I don't usually have this problem, so don't know how to resolve it. I have a Brother XR4040. Help! Have cut out 4 more!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Piz16zolo - So sorry you are having trouble. We didn't have any issues stitching across through the layers at this point. The Janome machines we use in the studio have great needle penetration and are super good at starting right on the edge of something. I don't have any familiarity with the Brother model you've mentioned, so I can't give you any technical advice there. You might try reaching out to your local dealer. You've certainly tried the standard fixes, such as changing the needle and lengthening the stitch. It sounds like the machine's feed dogs are simply not moving the layers through as they should. It's a short seam, you could try hand walking the needle, using the handwheel. Or, you could double thread a needle with a strong button thread and neatly and tightly handstitch across at that point. 

Ashley F said:
Ashley F's picture

You don't even need to bother whip stitching the side seam closed since you're stitching the sides after folding the bottom up to make the pocket. It just seems like an unnecessary step and I'm not a fan of whip stitching.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Ashley F - we did the whip stitch because our final stitch up the sides was a 1/4" seam and we wanted to be double-sure that there was no gaps. If you skip the whip stitch, you probably want your final side seams closer to the edges. 

Sewandsewon said:
Sewandsewon's picture

EASY, EASY, EASY  I thought it looked diffucult, however it was so very easy to do.  My husband just turned 70 today and late last night he was asking for the lip balm.  He he he so this is going on his breakfast tray as a surprise.  THANKS Sew4Home.   Next I'm making a supply for my gifting box.  LOVE IT.

Rodney W. said:
Rodney W.'s picture

I just made this and could not believe how easy it was to put together.  I love it!  I made mine just a tad wider to accomodate my USB drive.  I love projects that are multi-purpose!

Thank you for this great pattern!

Rodney W. said:
Rodney W.'s picture

One thing I wanted to add.......This is a great project for Jelly Roll Scraps.  The width of a Jelly Roll was perfect for making these.  I have several 8" - 12" scraps that I'm looking forward to using.

Thank you for sharing this awesome pattern!

Pam Duren said:
Pam Duren's picture

Great idea but so sorry I printed it - 15 pages with many blanks spaces.  Will preview next time.

Sharla said:
Sharla's picture

Mine turned out way too small!  I printed the pattern correctly and followed the directions to a "T".  It fits snug enough but need to longer.  Only half the tube fits and the top of the tube is at the D-ring.  Anybody else have this problem?

I'm going to make the pattern longer and see how that turns out.  These are so cute I really want to figure it out.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sharla - all our samples were made from the posted pattern. When cut, the pieces should be 8" long, When sewn, with the recommended 1/4" seam allowance, the length is then 7-1/2". Does this match up with what you did? All the lip balm tubes we tested it with worked well - as shown in the photos.

Helen Pelzer-Lane said:
Helen Pelzer-Lane's picture

This is so cute and will make excellent gifts!  Thanks ever so much for sharing!

Chandorf said:
Chandorf's picture

This is such a great project!  I love that you have so many quick projects that give such cute results.

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