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6 tips for more realistic felt leaves

16 Jun

Creating realistic felt foliage can be tricky. Here are five tips that will teach you how to create more realistic felt leaves. Even if your faux felt plant game is strong these tips make help improve any felt leaf and take your fuzzy green thumb to the next level.

*Most of these suggestions don’t work well or at all with synthetics, all the felt used was wool blend felt from American Felt and Craft.

#1 Beautiful at every size

The tricky part of recreating anything that occurs in nature is that while we have a tendency to seek perfection it does not. If your felt leaves look great but just don’t pop in your projects your perfection may be to blame. Stop cutting your leaves from the same exact template in the same exact size. add a curve, trim it down or create some bumpy cuts. Even if you are using a cutting machine such as a cricut there’s no reason you can’t get artistic with the precut leaves. No two leaves in nature are the exact same size or even shape. Get crazy with those scissors and mix it up.

#2 Just add bleach

This technique is a real show stopper and super easy to achieve. Mix 1/2 tbs bleach into 4 tbs of water and using a paint brush or toothbrush brush the mix lightly over your pre-cut leaves. This will only work on DIY leaves made from wool or wool blend felt. Synthetics like acrylic and polyester will not change tone.

Do not oversaturate the leaves, the fade will develop over the course of 5-10 minutes and allow them to air dry fully. You may rinse them out after they dry without color loss if desired.

Different color felts and varying bleach/ water concentrations will create different color effects it’s best to do a test run on scrap felt.

Scraping your brush will create small lines, flicking the bristles will create dots and painting along the spine of the felt leaves will create a more natural looking leaf center.

#3 Create some crisp lines and natural curves

Felt wants to lay flat but adding a crease or even a bend to a leaf can easily be accomplished with the help of a flat iron. Irons are great but they are too big and bulky for tiny things like felt. Flat irons are perfect because they are compact, portable and small enough to allow you some control.

Try folding the leaf in half and pressing for a few seconds to create a center line or curving the felt leaf along the edge for a fun curl.

#4 Using Sharpie markers on felt

Another fun way to alter your felt leaves is to add depth with sharpie or other water proof marker.

Choose colors that compliment your leaves like yellows, greens and even blues. Lighter colors will not show up on the darker greens so you will want to do a test swatch to decide which colors compliment your felt leaves the best.

Once you have selected a color try drawing lines along the center and branching out like the veins of a real leaf. Don’t touch the felt after marking for at least 10 minutes to avoid transferring the color. Again this won’t work well on synthetics like acrylic or polyester.

#5 Bend and pull the felt

Felt lacks the demention that natural foliage has but thanks to its composition of interlocking fibers it can easily be bent and twisted into more realistic shapes. You need to tug quite hard until you can feel the fibers star to release.

Try folding the leaf in half and then pulling the two ends together to create a curl. Or pinch and pull areas along the sides to thin it out and add some life to your leaves. This wont work well with synthetics.

#6 Shrink felt to add thickness and depth

When working with leaves you want to have more of a puffy or fuzzy look to try throwing the cut felt leaves into the wash with some jeans. No need to throw in the dryer the wool in the wool blend will shrink but the rayon will not leaving the piece looking a bit more lumpy and realistic looking. Using 100% wool will result in much more “bubbling” and shrinkage and using acrylic or synthetic wont work at all so wool blend felt works best for this technique.

Know any great felt tips I may have missed? Drop us a line and let us know.

You may like these free felt patterns;

DIY fall felt leaves

DIY Felt Food – Chocolate Heart Cake

14 Jun

Embracing this months cottage cozy theme I knew if I was going to make a felt cake it would need to be chocolate and it would need to be a heart shape. A little felt cake that would be simple to make but would look right at home in a play picnic basket or tea party.

I experimented with adding some DIY felt roses as an added accent to this felt food cake pattern but it just lacked the simple rustic feel I was hoping for. I love the look of the felt daises against this fun felt dessert. If you are wondering how to make a felt heart cake, it really is surprisingly easy. Below you will find a tutorial for a simple heart shaped cake tutorial dripping with a dark chocolate felt “ganache” and accented with DIY felt daisies.

You will need:

9″ x 6″ felt cake color I used Brownie

9″ x 12″ felt icing color I used Chocolate

Stuffing, scraps or foam to fill heart cake

Free pattern to make felt heart cake:

Felt daises – full tutorial Here

Cut:

2 Cake sides from light brown felt

2 icing sides from icing color, top and bottom from icing felt

(you can create a bottom from light brown if accuracy is important to you)

Sew daisies to felt cake top, you can also glue these down with got glue if desired.

Sew icing drips to both sides of cake with matching thread and a running stitch.

Place cake sides outsides facing and sew sides together. This meeting point will the the dip at the top of the heart.

Sew the top to the side with and overcast stitch and matching thread.

Sew bottom the felt heart cake the same way as the top. Add filling, stuffing or foam before closing to help it hold structure. If you find it too lumpy try reinforcing the sides with a bit of thin cardboard (like a cereal box) before stuffing.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

Free felt patterns you might also enjoy:

Summer Daisies – Felt Flower Daisy Tutorial

10 Jun

These sweet summer daisies can be used to add a natural feel to an endless number of summer crafts. Of all the DIY felt flowers, daisies are some of the easiest. Learning how to make felt daisies is simple if you take your time and invest in quality felt and a good set of scissors.

Wool or wool blend felt works well for little petals like those in this felt flower tutorial. Bamboo and most acrylics aren’t going to hold the smaller shapes as well and may fuzz out along the ends. The key to this felt flower is a clean cut. It’s important to use a pair of scissors that are small but sharp enough to handle tight edges and curved petals. I highly recommend holding your felt daisy pattern in place with packing tape, you can re-use your template again and again this way. The daisy centers can be freehand cut and varying the length will make your daisy larger or smaller.

Created with hot glue, these felt flowers are no sew. The addition of floral wire allows the daisies to be used in wreaths or tossed into a vase or bouquet. What will you use these easy little felt flowers for? We’d love for you to share your creations with us on our facebook page.

You will need:

For 12 flowers

9″ x 12″ sheet of high quality felt for flowers, I used white

9″ x 6″ golden yellow felt for felt flower centers, I used Egg Yolk

8″ x 6″ Green felt for leaves and end caps, I used Fresh Cut Grass

Hot glue gun and glue

Free pattern to make felt daisies.

Optional: Floral wires for stems, packing tape or clear tape for cutting

Dirty Glue Gun for Crafting Cred.

Cut:

1 flower shape from white felt

1 center from yellow felt

Leaf and cap from green felt

Making felt daisies – the easy way

For loose felt daisies, carefully cut out daisies from white felt using clear tape on top to help hold your template as you cut.

Place a small drop of glue on the end of the center strip and slowly roll upwards, gluing occasionally.

Once the center is rolled add glue to the side and wrap your daisy around the center gluing as you go. Glue cap on as shown below.

To create a daisy on a stem place the floral wire at the end of the strip, add glue and roll as before. Add the felt flower with glue as show above.

Cut a small slit into the center of the end cap and slits along the sides as marked so it curls around the base easily. Slide cap up the stem and glue down the sections trimming if needed so the green doesn’t extend past the flowers base.

To add a leaf, place glue along the center and part way up the leaf and fold onto the floral wire. Trim off any extra along the ends and side.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

DIY Felt Tea Bags and Tin

5 Jun

A tea party is just the thing to inspire imaginative play and practice manners and fine motor skills too! While we’ve covered free felt food patterns for tea party staples such as cookies, (chocolate chip, fortune cookies, rolled cookies) as well as pies of all kinds (hand pies, lemon meringue, cherry) and even petit fours, snack cakes and cake pops. Sadly we neglected the star of the show DIY felt tea bags.

This set features a matching floral patterned felt but any 2mm thick felt will do, the standard wool blend is too floppy for this project unless you want to double up but that can make stitching a bit tricky. Stiffer or thick felts are best for this project and I think the Cottage Floral print I used here for the felt tea tin and tea tag backs worked out wonderfully.

When working with felt objects in need of structure 2- 3mm felt is a game changer, it easily holds shape without stuffing and doesn’t need to be finished off along the tops or bottoms because it won’t stretch out as easily.

You will need some filling for your tea bags and shredded scraps work well, if you are using a high quality felt for the felt tea bags the color wont matter.

In regards to the label have included the image on the pattern in reverse if you’d like to try printing on special paper and ironing it on (although that method can be prone to flaking) as well as a blank one for hand stitching.

All June long we will be including a free felt “Tea” label with every order while supplies last.

This label is colorfast, nontoxic and washer dryer safe. If you decide to craft up a set of DIY felt tea bags with this free pattern we’d love to see your finished product http://www.facebook.com/feltandcraft

You will need:

To make a set of 5 tea bags and 1 tin you will need:

2- 3 mm thick felt for the top, bottom and sides of tin. 8″ x 11″ total *

I used Cottage Floral for the sides and White for the top and bottom

9″ x 12″ white felt for tea bags*

Scrap felt for tea bag details I used: Mint, Purple Haze, Lemon, Lipstick, Crushed Coral, Granny Smith, Cilantro *

Embroidery thread in Green, White, Grey and Black

*matching thread

Free printable felt tea bag and tin pattern

Cut:

5 tea bags and 5 tea tags and blank tag from wool blend white felt

2 tea tin sides and 5 tea tags from patterned 2mm thick felt

1 bottom, 1 top and two sides from 2-3mm thick white felt

5 – 6″ long tea bag strings knotted on each end

Sew lemon shape with yellow thread and a running stitch.

Place strawberry greens down and sew berry shape over top with a running stitch, accent with a few stitches in a contrasting color.

Sew mint shape down with matching thread

Sew lavender shapes down with a single strand of green embroidery thread.

Place peach greens onto tag and sew peach into place on top.

Place one of the knotted ends in-between the patterned and detailed tags, trim to match if needed and overcast stitch around the outside of the tag to hold. Repeat with each tag.

Fold a tea bad shape in half lengthwise and overcast stitch with matching thread.

Move the seam to center and fold so both seams face outward. Stitch along the bottom of the bag.

Trim felt for filler and fill each end with about a tbs of felt. Fold so the seams face inward and trim tops to a matching point. Be careful not to cut through the tea bag seams.

Place the other end of the knotted tag between the tea bag and stitch closed with small stitches using a running stitch and matching white thread.

Optional: Place a small grey stitch at the top of each tea bag. Repeat for each tea bag.

If you are using a printed tag sew to the center of one of the side pieces. If you are creating your own label stitch the work tea onto your label and sew to side piece.

Center the label to the front and sew onto thick felt base with an overcast stitch.

Center second side and stitch. When sides overlap sew them together with a running stich, this will give the tin added stability.

Sew lid sides to tin top the same way trimming if needed and sewing the side together without overlap.

Enjoy a legendary tea party!

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

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