What is it that makes Jelly Beans so exciting? It could be that every bean is a new taste sensation sure to be delicious (except of course the nasty black jelly beans and the slightly mouthwashy green ones), or their bright colors heralding in spring and warm weather days, maybe it’s because they are only available once a year. No matter what the reason I always feel a little giddy when I see them roll out the first bags of beans at my local stores. What little felt food play store would be complete without a few boxes this Easter?
For this project you will need:
Colored roving: I used both sets in our mini packs (brights and pastels). About 6″ of roving per bean.
9″ x 6″ piece of felt in color you’d like your box, I used honeydew and matching thread
White felt scrap – 1.5″ X 3″
Thin Clear Vinyl- 3x 3 square
Cross stitch thread
Sewing and embroidery needles
Rattle insert (optional)
Templates at the end of this post.
Making the beans:
You will need to make your jelly beans and allow them to dry before the next few steps, fortunately the jelly beans dry quickly (an hour or two) and if you have some little ones around you can easily whip up a whole slew of beans in less than an hour.
To make these jelly beans you will need to wet felt them, ok breathe…don’t panic, it’s easy I swear! How easy, allow my adorable 4-year-old daughter to demonstrate:
Here is a more detailed run down.
Pull off the amount of roving you need from the rest (about 6″ long ). Pull into a thin strand. Starting at one end roll upwards (it may help to have slightly damp fingers) wrap around and over to create a ball shape.
Your felted piece will be approximately 50% smaller than this so you want your roving ball to be about the size of a large gum ball or quarter.
Once you have a reasonable facsimile of a ball shape you will need to begin the felting process. This is done by agitating and shocking your wool. If you have ever been a teenager you should be well versed in shocking and agitating. Begin by gently dunking your ball into a bowl of warm water add a small drop (almost a half a drop) of hand dish washing liquid to the top of your ball. Gently move the ball from one hand to another squishing it ever so slightly. Dunk in cool water and squish and then warm water. Lightly rub the wool so the wool catches on itself.
DO NOT roll between your hands yet, if you do this the fibers will come apart and you will end up with a very unsightly shape. Continue cradle and lightly squish your soon to be jelly bean from one hand to another for about 30 seconds to 1 minute better to overdo than underdo. You will need to be gentle to prevent your roving from coming apart, my daughter likes to pretend that the ball is an egg. I think that’s a good way of thinking about the level of stress you want to put on your piece at this point.
There! You’ve finished the hard part now to finish the jelly beans. making by rolling in between your hands moving the piece from warm to cool water to help shock the wool into place. You should begin to feel your piece firming up. While it still has some give to it roll between your palms in one direction to create more of an oval shape.
From here you want to manipulate into a bean shape you can do this many different ways. Working it so that one end is thinner than the other, by thinning out the middle or by pressing a finger into the center while pulling the ends upwards. Experiment and see which method works best for you.
Lay out to dry and repeat as desired.
Making the Jelly Bean Box
Cut out template pieces
Cut 2 of each A, B and C from the color felt you have chosen for your box.
Cut the jelly bean shape out of only 1 of your A pieces.
Place your vinyl piece over the window area and stitch down using a running stitch.
Trace out the letters for Jelly Beans onto your white felt scrap insuring that they will fit on the front of your finished box. Using cross stitching thread and whatever style stitch you like , stitch the letters into place.
Cut around the letters to create a more fun feel.
Stitch label into place.
Assemble the box by adding one side piece (B) to the side of your completed front and overcast stitch up the side.
Continue with the other side piece.
Add back to the box by stitching side pieces (B) to back (A).
Stand box on it’s head and stitch the bottom piece (C) in place using the overcast stitch.
‘Before continuing you will need to decide if you plan on having an open jelly bean box or a closed one.
If you plan on using a rattle insert place, box front side down and add your jelly beans until nearly full, slip the rattle into the back so it isn’t visible and adjust jelly beans if needed. Place box right side up again and add top the same way you added the bottom.
To make an open box start attaching your top from where you want the opening to begin, stitch around until you reach the matching point on the other side. Continue your overcast stitch around the unfinished edges to create more of a polished look. Enjoy!
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