Tag Archives: how

Firefly Garland

30 Jun

feltfirefly header

DIY Fireflies are literally the first thing I wanted to make when we stocked our glow felt last fall. This adorable firefly garland is the perfect addition to a baby  or child’s room. The glow in the dark felt creates a smooth and gentle glow without wires or batteries.

You will need: (for 8 fireflies and stars from scraps

2 sheets of glow in the dark felt

1- 9″ x 12″ sheet of a dark brown felt I used Saddle Brown 

1- 9″ x 12″ sheet of white felt but I think a pale pink like Paris Pink or blue like Sparrow  would look great too.

3 yards of twine or any thicker string, I like the rustic natural look of twine

Felt Glue

Sequins (optional) I used Snow White

Firefly template, see bottom of post.

firefly1Begin by folding the one of the abdomen pieces in half and stitching  along the long side.  Because ALL of the fibers used in glow felt glow it doesn’t matter which side of it you use.

Run a small gathering stitch along the open top and stuff. Pull closed and run your needle through the gathered end a few times to even it out. Set aside and repeat with remaining 7 glowing felt bottoms. Save the scraps you will use these to create glowing felt stars. For pointers on sewing see Stitches.

firefly3

Place two of the felt body pieces together and overcast stitch around the edges. Stuff the rounded head part and sew all but the bottom.  Repeat 7 more times and set aside.

fireflywings

If you want to add sequins to your felt wings for some daytime sparkle consider adding sequins, I added them to both sides of the wing but honestly the bottom ones don’t really show so cut your work in half and consider skipping one side of the wings. To add sequins sew onto one or both sides of the wings and overcast stitch the two together. Repeat with 15 remaining felt wings (they are tiny they go pretty fast.) And set aside.    For tips on sewing sequins to felt see THIS POST.

parts2

Now the real D.I. Y crafting action begins. To complete this felt craft place the body piece over the pointed end of one of the abdomen pieces.  As shown.

firefly2

Stitch the body to the base.

attachwingsPlace felt wings where you want them and stitch down one at a time. 19598637_10213610622083557_6597021799813192986_n

Create antenna by knotting doubled over cross stitching thread and pulling through at the front of the head where marked.

Using the same technique create a loop on the body of the fireflies, because of their weight you will need to remember to keep the loops on the underside because the DIY fireflies will flip. If you are tired of sewing you can also hot glue them onto the twine I promise I won’t tell.

ffbody

Assemble the DIY felt firefly garland.

parts

Create a loop in one end to hang the garland.

Cut round star pieces from scraps of glow felt. You will need two of each size star to sandwich between the twine. I got 13 pairs from my felt scraps.

stars2Cut as many felt circles as you can.

There is no template because you will need to use scraps for this so the sizing will vary.

stars

String the fireflies and glue stars to the twine with felt glue to keep them from sliding too far one way or another.

Print Template at full size.

fireflytemplate

 

fireflyheaderHappy Crafting!

Andie

Stop by the shop:

American Felt and Craft - a unique online craft supply store.

 

Felt Food 101 – Lesson 2 Right said thread, How to make felt food.

1 Jun

felt food how to fall veggies

A little background,

2 years ago I was put on bed rest during a pregnancy it was also around this time that I spent my daughters college fund on a beautiful pink retro kitchen set, I think you know which one I am talking about, you know the one everyone passes and says, “who would pay that!?” Well I did. Anyway for Christmas that year along with her lovely kitchen she received some wooden play foods, which being very little she promptly used to scratch and dent her wonderful kitchen! Needless to say those little suckers were gracing the shelves of goodwill by weeks end!

But what can you do in a play kitchen without play food? I wasn’t about to bring a bunch of plastic junk into my home, then the solution presented itself in the form of felt food. I have now made everything from soup to nuts, literally. After crafting felt food for sometime I began to get frustrated trying to find the bits and pieces I needed to to create the things I wanted to. So together with my BFF and fellow crafter Amelia I decided to create the store I was looking for, American Felt and Craft. Please stop in sometime and take a look around. And as always if you have any questions I am just an email away and I’m happy to share my knowledge and a few of my favorite patterns with you!

Lesson 1 Material Girl                                                 Coming Soon: Lesson 3 Needles

Lesson 2 Right said Thread

thread

Thread

For making felt food just about any thread will do, if you’re going to make heirloom quality felt food, stand the test of time, your great granddaughter will be playing with it, felt food you’re going to need sturdy thread. I highly recommend a cotton or polyester thread, keeping in mind that polyester threads have a bit of a sheen to them and often distract from the piece a little, although there are cotton coated polyester threads. Personally I prefer 100%cotton since the threads are more flexible and softer than other types and since felt absorbs light the felt blends well since cotton usually doesn’t have the shiny qualities of other types. In terms of strength both cotton and polyester are less likely than other threads to break, snag  or form unwanted knots.  You may see thread called quilting thread this is ideal for felt food since the threads are thin and smooth but tough enough to hold up to hand sewing, and blend exceedingly well,  the problem with quilting thread is it’s color range is extremely limited.

Thread to avoid

Don’t bother sewing felt together with silk or rayon thread it’s like attempting to hold it together with paste. And forget about the heavy duty carpet or button thread, sure it’s durable but it’s so thick that it tends to distract or misshape a piece.  The giant spools sold for sergers are great values but tend to tangle and knot easily because they are generally made with a lower quality short cotton strands so I wouldn’t buy any colors you don’t plan on using frequently.

Cross Stitch Thread

 crossstitch thread

Lately I have been using the skeins of cross stitching thread, they are cheap and come in more colors than I knew existed, I just separate the threads and sew with just one or two. Occasionally some cross stitching threads may leech dye so you may want to test them prior to use and avoid lower quality brands as they are more likely to bleed.happysheep

Specialty threads

Sewing with specialty threads can take a felt piece to the next level. Variegated colors, for corn cob kernels, metallics for the shine on a cherry, iridescents for flower details and glow in the dark just for fun are all great details. <br>You might try experimenting with these keeping in mind that metallic and clear threads can be hard to knot and in the case of metallics may break very easily so both are only best used only for detailing.

Choosing colors

When picking a thread color you should consider buying thread a shade darker than your felt, once sewn it will actually appear closer to the color than exact matches. Felt absorbs light rather than reflecting it so it’s very easy for the human eye to pick up shade differences so try to match the tones as well as possible, again going a shade or so darker for maximum benefit. Lighter threads are great for highlighting  and adding depth to a piece.

I hope this covers any questions you had on thread selection, please feel free to leave any further questions, tips, or suggestions in the comments section.

fudgedesserts

Lesson 1 Material Girl                         Next week Lesson 3 Needles

 

Felt Food 101- Lesson 1, Material Girl

25 May

felt food how to fall veggies

A little background,

2 years ago I was put on bed rest during a pregnancy it was also around this time that I spent my daughters college fund on a beautiful pink retro kitchen set, I think you know which one I am talking about, you know the one everyone passes and says, “who would pay that!?” Well I did. Anyway for Christmas that year along with her lovely kitchen she received some wooden play foods, which being very little she promptly used to scratch and dent her wonderful kitchen! Needless to say those little suckers were gracing the shelves of goodwill by weeks end!

But what can you do in a play kitchen without play food? I wasn’t about to bring a bunch of plastic junk into my home, then the solution presented itself in the form of felt food. I have now made everything from soup to nuts, literally. After crafting felt food for sometime I began to get frustrated trying to find the bits and pieces I needed to to create the things I wanted to. So together with my BFF and fellow crafter Amelia I decided to create the store I was looking for, American Felt and Craft. Please stop in sometime and take a look around. And as always if you have any questions I am just an email away and I’m happy to share my knowledge and a few of my favorite patterns with you!

The Basics,

Fabric

AFC felt stack

Technically you can actually make soft play food from anything. But take heed most fabrics don’t hold up to the wear and tear a child can give to a well loved toy and if you’re not fond of surging EVERY seam to avoid a catastrophe you’ll need something that doesn’t unravel easily. This is why felt is the obvious choice. It also comes in a litany of colors and spans the gap between to thick and tough (like canvas) and too floppy (like cotton)  landing firmly in the center -perfection!

When making felt food coloring is key, the closer the color is to the actual food the better it will look and the more recognizable it will be. It can be tough finding felt in a full range of colors since most craft stores want to sell you 5 maybe 6 colors, unless you want to buy plastic felt and trust me you don’t.  When I started out I used eco-felt after about a month of serious use I was forced to throw most of the items I had crafted from them away. They fuzzed and tore at the seams, and nothing is more frustrating than spending a whole day making something you want to be around for your grand kids only to see it misshapen, torn and fuzzy the next week. For more on this you should read Felt smackdown, I think you’ll see why I consider 100% wool and blended felt to be heirloom quality and acrylic/ ecofelts to be junk.

 How much will I need?

reds

Your time is worth something whether you spend  a few days or even a half an hour you’ll want to know that your artistic creation will last a long long time, and you ‘ll be surprised how little felt it takes to make felt food. Which is why it’s totally worth buying a higher quality felt. But before you can buy your felt you’ll need to know how much to buy.

When I am planning a project I first make a list of everything I am planning on making, then visualize the pieces on a standard size piece of paper, sometimes I even draw them out to see how the sizes look. At AFC we sell all our felts in 9 x12 sheets which are a bit larger than a standard size sheet of paper, the size helps to make it easy to plan projects and buy all the colors you need with having to store a ton of felt or spend a fortune.

For example lets say your going to make pancakes, for that you will  need to decide the size, personally I think a 5 inch circle is about right, you’ll need a front and a back so that means on a standard 9 x 12 sheet you can make one pancake, keep in mind you will be left with some great scrap, or frap (felt scrap) as we call it around here. These can be used for cookies, tortilla chips, wontons or a million other things.

I have reused a million pieces of frap for detailing or smaller projects. Frap is so important that I keep it in a little Velcro bag which fits inside my rolling bag (and in a larger bin in my studio)

You should also keep in mind that most felt  is dyed in lots so there are some very slight color variations this is usually not a big deal but if you’re doing  large pieces  like cakes your really going to want to order all the felt you need and some extra for mistakes.

Lastly if you’re not sure of the colors (i.e. which is tomato sauce red?) I would HIGHLY recommend picking up whatever you are considering. You cannot tell color properly in a craft store the light is not a natural light and you may find your watermelon pink is actually a raspberry. And although all of our pictures are taken in a natural light there may be slight variations based on monitor settings and dye lots.  Personally I  have always  bought  all the colors I am considering , it’s usually pretty easy to narrow it down to 2 or 3 choices and it’s much easier than making a trip back to the craft store or placing another order, plus then I have more colors on hand when inspiration strikes.

Next week …Right said Thread

Stop by the Store

Stop by and check out the store.

 

What have we got here or bonfire of the antiquities – How to tell what kind of felt you have.

9 May

So you just got a great deal on felt sheets from a tag sale and you want to know how good a deal you actually got.

Is it wool, acrylic, or blend?

felttypes2

 If you can’t tell by looking or your just ridiculously optimistic. There is a simple way to find this out called the burn test, and yes this is dangerous and no I didn’t make this up so I can set stuff on fire.

OK,  when I say dangerous you should know it’s not,  jumping 12 buses on a motorcycle dangerous, but it’s definitely cutting onions dangerous. And I know it seems like I have an obsession with setting felt on fire, let me assure you this is NOT the case.

 

First things first you’re going to need a small sample of your material your willing to part with, a plate or pot and a long match or lighter used for lighting BBQ’s, if you don’t have that I’d suggest tongs and whatever you do have. Basically get yourself setup like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, (the scientist from the muppetts.) you don’t want to be too close to the felt when you light it up since plastic felts (acrylic and eco-felt) will melt and trust me you don’t want that to drip onto your hand.

Drum roll please….. now carefully set your sample ablaze…

fireEco

Does it emit black smoke, smell like a Tupperware top on your dishwashers heating element and form a hard ball at the end, that’s eco- felt (sold under the names eco-fi and eco-spun) or acrylic.

 Your felt is made of plastic these felts usually retail form about $0.25  a 9x 12 sheet, usually less when bought in yardage.

fireblend

 Does it form a soft gray ash? With no real smoke or plastic smell.

That’s most likely a blend, these retail for anywhere from $0.75   to $3.50 a 9 x 12 sheet, again less in yardages.

lovefeltfirewool

If you have a difficult time keeping it lit and it turns into a fine ash that practically disappears when you touch it. Hallelujah you have wool!! Commence victory dance…Keep in mind that the high wool ratio blends will be hard to distinguish from 100% wool since the burn test reflects the main composition of the felt, but regardless you have some very nice felt on your hands. Prices in wool vary widely by thickness, quality type of dying process and country of origin so giving you an esitmate on it would be impossible.

There’s got to be another way! I can’t bear to burn my precious felt!

What you don’t want to go around yard sales with a pair of tongs and a lighter turning peoples felt sheets into mini bonfires… fine … here’s another easy, although less accurate trick. If the sheets are a little shiny and slide across each other easily they are likely acrylic although some blends may be a tad shiny as well and both may sometimes show no shine at all.

Blends are often cut and put under things like lamps and display pieces precisely because they will not slip easily, the same is true for wool, so if it helt there must be wool in your felt (actually this isn’t 100% but it’s as much info as your going to get without a match.)

I know much less fun than the fire thing huh?

Happy Crafting! And yes I know helt isn’t a word, it was a tough rhyme cut me some slack!

Andie

How to wash felt, wool felt foods, soft sculpture & toys.

23 Apr

felt food tomato how to wash felt food

Sooner or later you’re gonna have to clean that felt food. Here’s how to do it!

Felt Cherry Pie

While dry felt can withstand major abuse it becomes a whole different creature when wet and must be treated gently so here is a walk though, please remember use of soap will result in further felting your felt, I.E creating piling and fuzz. The following is written with wool and wool blend felt in mind but it is also useful for acrylic or eco-felt, (eco-spun & eco-fi) synthetic felts which although washable, have a tendency to tear at the seams when hand sewn.Please note that I am erring on the side of caution and your felt items are generally not all that delicate, a good quality felt will actually stand up to a lot of rubbing but better safe than sorry right?

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the obvious way to go with 100% wool felt but a lot of dry cleaners won’t touch soft sculpture or basically anything that isn’t clothing you CANNOT use a product like dryel on felt the heat and moisture will continue to felt your piece, this would not be a good thing. The #1 thing to keep in mind is avoiding drastic temperature fluctuations on the felt.

Surface Wash

If your item is only slightly messy for example moist cookie crumbs, I would suggest letting them dry, before proceeding with your clean up, you may mash the mess into the wool mesh, say that 5 times fast!

The exception to this rule is a substance which you feel will stain. In that is the case proceed to hand wash. After felt is dry brush off the crumbs and gently wash the surface with a baby wipe.

sinkHand Wash

Lets say your felt food is really messy, for example your child dunked his felt cookie in his real milk. You can hand wash using the steps outlined below, I have used this method with great success Using these methods I have removed apple juice, wet candy cane, yogurt and cracker mush from my daughters felt food collection.

1. Brush as much of the dirt, dust or dried whatever off as you can while the item is STILL DRY. If whatever has gotten on your felt is in liquid form that’s OK to but please avoid rubbing it.

2. Fill a sink or basin with cool or cold water, no soap.

3. Place said item in water and wait until it soaked, gently squeeze the air out if it is a stuffed item

4. Gently press water out of felt without rubbing

5. Continue to squeeze like a sponge do not rub,  Repeat until spot is gone, you may soak the felt overnight if needed.

Air dry, felt may feel stiff at first but will regain its softness when played with for awhile.

lemons

Worse case scenario…

Got something really nasty on your felt, like boogers or pee? Luckily for you wool has antibacterial properties so it’s isn’t as germ laden as you think however you now need to remove whatever germs remain and any smell, try lemons. Lemons contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties on top of naturally removing odor. Cut lemons and squeeze into the water in your basin and proceed as outlined above.

But it’s winter in the middle of nowhere…

Your last best hope is Vinegar. Vinegar will  disinfectant and help destroy odor, the weird vinegar smell will fade with time , it dissolves grease too! So if you have a stuffie that’s gotten really grungie this is your method! Put in 1/2 part vinegar to 1 part water and wash as directed above be sure to lay it out to dry as soon as possible and do not use it to soak your item for longer than 10-15 minutes as it could in theory hurt your fabric although this has never been my experience. The bonus to this method is your dried felt will be surprisingly soft.

Drop me a comment or two and let me know how it all turned out and show me some love by checking out the store,

Happy Crafting- Andie

meatdinner

Please give credit where credit is due and be sure to link to my blog when using this info. Thanks, you’re the best!

For more on how to clean felt see our post on cleaning and storing felt fabric.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

How to Clean Felt – Step by Step 

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