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Felt Lab- 5 methods for cutting felt tested.

16 Aug

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Felt is a great crafting medium for at least a megaton of reasons one of which is the fabric fibers are tangled together and therefore they do not require seams to prevent fraying. This makes felt perfect for applique or detail pieces. Cutting simple felt shapes like squares, circles etc can be accomplished by simply holding the pattern near the center with the thumb while rotating the piece as you cut, but cutting smaller or detailed felt pattern pieces can be tricky. I have written about this before: Here  But since this is something I literally do everyday I thought it could use a more through evaluation.

Here are 5 well known methods (if you know of others I would love for you to let me know in the comments below) broken down and analyzed. These opinions are obviously my own and you may find other methods work better or worse for you.

The felt cutting methods are, freezer paper, a commercial spray called No Pins, packing tape, chalk outline and actual pins. The felt used is a wool rayon blend in black. I am going to break this down into 5 categories and then let you know the overall winner and why.

Catergory 1 Fuss

How hard is it to locate the product? Does this add additional cost or steps?

Freezer Paper-  Finding freezer paper sized to go through your printer can be difficult and printable freezer paper will NOT work with laser printers. It is however fairly easy to trace and draw on if you aren’t working off a printed pattern. Freezer paper in rolls is available in the bag and plastic wrap area of your local store. The rolled freezer paper is not the same as the sheets sold to go through printers, these sheets are too thin and curly and will jam up most printers even if you manage to cut it to the perfect size. You will also need an iron and an ironing board.

No Pins- I ran across this brand spray, which is a temporary adhesive for paper patterns, in a quilting store. It works by spraying onto the back of a pattern, pressing it into place and ironing to set. I had never seen the product so I am not sure how easy it is to locate. You will also need an iron and an ironing board.

Tape-  You can use any clear tape but packing tape is my go to, the cheaper the better. I find I do have to clean my scissors blades after a long day of cutting. Packing tape is easy super easy to locate, easy to transport, inexpensive and always at the ready and can be used to cover nearly any size template. It does make that classic tape sound so if you plan to craft while waiting in the hall of your kids karate class be prepared for some odd looks.

Trace – Typically you can trace with something much easier than chalk so the ease of use on a color other than black would be much better. I used a compressed chalk with a brush but tracing pens, chalk etc can be found at a craft store and may work better.

Pins-  Chances are you have some of these old standbys lying around. But if not they come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are pretty inexpensive they can usually even be located in the random house junk isle of the grocery store. They aren’t that easy to transport unless you have a needle book or pin cushion – otherwise one spill can make cleaning out your purse a real adventure. You also have to be careful where they end up which is less than ideal for you fellow couch crafters.

WINNER TAPE – while tape and trace are both very portable, locating tape is much easier than any other item on this list.

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Ease of use

Can it be used anywhere? Do you need additional tools? How portable is this technique? Is it messy? Does it make trash? How easy is it to cut?

Freezer Paper-  You need an iron and ironing board so this is not the most portable method. The paper sticks to the felt making for very easy cleanup and creates minimal waste. Freezer paper is reuseable up to 6 times depending on the quality of your brand. And the freezer paper actually helps hold the felt stiff so cutting is SUPER easy.  Nothing shifted and lines were easy to follow, the stiffness of the paper did make curves a bit more tricky to round. The paper can also lead you into a false sense of security with the size of your cuts, you may find they are too thin to hold together without the paper.

No Pins-  Oh boy! Protect your work surface! This is literally spray glue, you were warned. No matter who you are there will be over-spray and it will be gummy and sticky and you will wonder what has become of your life. Surprisingly it stuck down very easily and ironing did not seem to be needed, but I am nothing if not a rule follower so I ironed for you dear reader. Dispite it being a lot of steps the pattern held firmly and was very easy to cut and easy to go back over in the areas I missed the first time. So while the attaching experience was a pain the cutting was actually quite easy and very easy to get the proper cuts. That being said it is NOT portable unless you pre- prepare your pieces, it is messy, and did I mention you have to iron?  The pieces are said to be reusable but I haven’t tested.

Tape-  Take it with you! You can tape pieces down nearly any place. Getting it down could not be faster simply cut around your image (not exactly) and tape down. 5 seconds. It won’t move if you use classic packing tape, although it will shift as you cut and pieces start to fall away from the attached areas. Cut high detailed or small areas first to minimize any issues with shifting. The template will fall away after you cut it and the tape will have stiffened it making it reusuable and more sturdy. There will be some tape waste and you may need to clean your scissors with rubbing alchol to clear off any stickiness.

Trace – Again typically you wouldn’t use chalk unless the surface was very dark there are pens and markers available for this with “ink” washes away when wet but frankly I don’t like to wet my work, I don’t have the patience for it to dry or the fortitude not to assume it will destroy something (which very rarely happens)

My point being that this may not be a the best assessment of tracing. Cutting the template to outline was a pain, basically you have to cut your shape twice, with this method. The chalk went on easy and wasn’t nearly as messy as I assumed…until I cut it, then little flecks got on the scissors and I had to clean them off a few times during the cut. The cut was very accurate because I could clearly see my piece as I worked but this was offset by the flopping of the piece as I moved it around because unlike the other methods nothing was helping hold the felt taunt. The thin areas were much harder to cut without paper. The chalk didn’t hold detail as well as I would have liked and your ability to handle the piece is limited because the chalk will move. This method produced no trash and was very simple.

Pins-  Right away I learned placing the pins on these small pieces would be difficult. I had to move them around as I cut and any area not actually holding a pin moved away from the template. Details were extremely hard to cut because the template and the paper kept wanting to separate. The upside is there was no extra trash however you are limited on how much you could reuse the piece before the holes would make it unusable. You can pin anyplace without a lot of fuss so that’s an advantage.

WINNER TAPE – Tape is my ride or die – simply because it is so easy and quick to work with, easy to locate, it’s cheap and works with any template.

HONORABLE MENTION FREEZER PAPER – Freezer paper loses out big because of the need to iron BUT it brings up the rear with accuracy and ease to cut. Ironing pieces and setting them aside makes this a great portable option.

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Release

Does it remove cleanly? Does it fray or pull the fibers, distort or tear the shape?

Freezer Paper-  Peels off perfectly. No residue, no distortion no tearing.

No Pins-  NOPE – even with my best effort the image was distorted and the smaller pieces tore and stuck to the paper. Fibers got pulled up. I think this product is best used on standard fabrics. 😦

Tape-  Piece falls loose, no issues no distortion, no residue, The cut around the star was too thin and didn’t hold but the tape wasn’t at fault for that.

Trace – No residue stayed in the fibers, no distortion, no tearing although I did have to dust off a few areas.

Pins-  No visible holes, no distortion, no tearing.

WINNER FREEZER PAPER –  Clean and easy release.

HONORABLE MENTION TAPE – Tape also clean and easy but pulls away as you cut.

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Accuracy

Did it work, that seems pretty important.

Freezer Paper-  Works like a dream

No Pins-  The mess, the ironing, the distortion…hard pass.

Tape- Works great.

Trace – Results were pretty good.

Pins-   Results were pretty good.

WINNER FREEZER PAPER – Freezer paper

HONORABLE MENTION TAPE – Tape – oh how I love you packing tape.

cutlabBonus Points

Can you reuse it?

Freezer Paper– Yes

No Pins– Why would you want to? But can says yes.

Packing Tape– Template yes, tape no.

Tracing– No waste. Nothing to reuse.

Pins – Reuseable.

Overall ranking

  1. Freezer Paper – Excellent  precision felt cutting. (but ironing boo) 
  2. Packing Tape – Easy, low key and gets the job done.
  3. Pins – Tricky and potentially dangerous
  4. Tracing – I miss the sturdiness of the template. Floppy. 
  5. No Pins  – too many steps, makes the felt all fuzzy. 

 

What are your thoughts? What works well for you? Had any better luck with products like No Pins? Let me know in the comments.

~Happy Crafting~

Andie

 

 

No Sew Felt Sunflower Magnets

18 Jul
DIYFeltSunflowercover

DIY no sew felt sunflower magnets.

These no sew felt sunflowers are super easy to make and oh so cute!

Adding a magnet to the back transforms them into versatile decorative elements.

The addition of a second magnet means you can easily add flowers to lampshades, curtains or even clothing with no damage or commitment.

You will need:

1/2 sheet of felt – about 4.5″ x 11″per flower. I used Gold Nugget and Buttercream

Beacon Felt Glue

Sequins– I used Olive Drab

16 clothes pins

Round magnet(s)  with decent strength

Sunflower Template at end of post.

(Optional) Hot Glue

DIYFeltSunflower1

Cut three sunflower shapes per flower. Flip one so it points in the opposite direction as the other two. Set one of the matching two aside.

Cut three sunflower shapes per flower.

Flip one so it points in the opposite direction as the other two. Set one of the matching two aside

DIYFeltSunflower2

Add a small amount of felt glue to the base of each petal of remaining two flower shapes.

Add a small amount of felt glue to the base of each petal of remaining two flower shapes.

DIYFeltSunflower3

Pinch petals together and use a clothes pin to hold petals together.

Pinch petals together and use a clothes pin to hold petals together.

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Repeat with remaining petals on the remaining piece. This can get tricky so try pointing your pins in varying directions.

Repeat with remaining petals on the remaining piece. This can get tricky so try pointing your pins in varying directions, over or under the others.

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Unpin after an hour and use your fingers to open the petals.

Unpin after an hour and use your fingers to fold open the petals. Don’t panic they will look a little messy.

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Glue the sunflower face to the base. These petals should go opposite directions.

Glue the sunflower face to the base (flat remaining piece.)

These petals should go opposite directions.

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Place a thin layer of felt glue into the center of the remaining sunflower face.

Place a thin layer of felt glue into the center of the remaining sunflower face spreading it thinly will help it to dry more quickly.

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Glue sequins to center. Set aside to dry for at least 10-15 minutes.

Glue sequins to center. Set aside to dry for at least 10-15 minutes

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Glue front to the rest of the flower.

Glue sequined front to the rest of the flower. Allow to dry.

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Glue magnet to back and allow to dry overnight. You can also use hot glue for instant satisfaction.

 

Glue magnet to back and allow to dry overnight.

You can also use hot glue for instant satisfaction.

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sunflower

Sunflower Template

 

Gingerbread house Felt Advent Calendar – A sweet family tradition

29 Nov
Gingerbread Advent Calendar Free Pattern

Photos copyright Imagine Our Life

I am not sure what Stephanie the genius behind Imagine our Life has listed on her business cards but I am pretty sure felt magician would be fitting. Once you see this amazing DIY felt advent calendar I am sure you’ll agree. Every bit of this adorable felt gingerbread house is simply scrumptious!

Felt Advent CalendarEvery sugary detail is pure magic!

It seems like this stunning calendar would assemble surprisingly quickly thanks to adhesive advent numbers.

Sewn from a high quality wool blend felt and featuring sequined details doubt this piece will become a treasured family heriloom the kids will look forward to revisiting season after season.

Free Advent calendar - amazing

She generously shares this amazing advent calendar tutorial free on her blog. Wait until you see the genuis way she hangs this beautiful advent calendar.

Felt Gingerbread house - Advent calendar tutorial

The pockets are detailed with enchanting candy pieces that sparkle and shine.

Head over to the Imagine Our Life blog and prepare to be amazed!

Happy Crafting~ Andie

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10 Handmade Felt Kids Gifts

23 Nov

10 Handmade Felt Gifts for Kids

Roll up your sleeves, throw on your elf cap and get to crafting a handmade gift the little one in your life will treasure.

Here are 10 great handmade gift ideas complete with free tutorials and patterns.

DIY Seahorse hobby horse

1. Felt Seahorse Ride on

This adorable felt hobby horse is actually pretty easy to make and guaranteed to be loved by all weary mer-people in your underwater castle.

Peek a Boo Bill - Felt groundhogs day puppet tutorial with shadow finger puppet.

2. Groundhog Puppet

Craft  handmade felt groundhog  and shadow puppets and help your little
one welcome spring with a giggle.

diy tutorial to make felt stethoscope

3. Felt Stethoscope

Create an easy handmade gift for aspirimg medical professionals these felt stethascopes are a Pinterest Favorite!

Felt Baby Rattle - Palace Guards

4. Felt Soildier Rattles

Although these sweet British Palace Guards do get a little rattled when you shake them they remain loyal and steadfast.

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5. Cut Apart Felt Carrot

What’s more fun than play veggies ready for slicing? This free felt food tutorial will walk you through handmaking  the whole thing!

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6. Chocolate Chip Cookies

chip cookie this one is an absolute basic felt food tutorial but it’s a great starter project if your new to sewing it’s also great for kids since it really couldn’t be easier.

Felt Money

7. Felt Play Money

Every kid can use some felt pocket money. This handmade play money is also a great way to teach your child math. Use high quality wool blend felt to insure your wool blend money will last through thousands of mini transactions.

Easy Starfish crinkle toy

8. Felt Starfish Baby Crinkle Toy

 Follow this simple tutorial for a  fun crinkle starfish toy no baby on land or sea can resist.

DIY Felt Giraffe Tic Tac Toe Tutorial9. Tic Tac Toe

The hearts are simple to sew (or at least hard to mess up) and so this makes a great mommy and me sewing craft . And of course you could always substitute the Pink with another color like a bright green like Key Lime Pie or lovely blue like Sparrow if pink isn’t your thing.

ninpow210. Felt Ninja Pouch and throwing stars

These felt ninja throwing stars are lightning fast to stitch up and a great way to teach hand sewing your karate kid. A traditional throwing star has a hole in the center making it easy to string on a belt for transport. While you can easily add a hole in the center we think you’ll agree the ninja belt bag creates a far more adorable storage option.

Happy Crafting~ Andie

10gifts

Avoid the cold and have your toy making supplies delivered.

American Felt and Craft

AFCrattlead

Felt Icicle Christmas Ornament

16 Nov

Felt Icicle Christmas Ornament Tutorial

 

Add an air of icy elegance to your Christmas tree this year with this easy felt icicle ornament pattern. These icicles sparkle  reflecting the warm glow of the lights on your tree thanks to a few well placed sequins and a little felt glue. These frozen felt ornaments  make a lovely addition to any tree, wreath or simply hung from varying heights throughout the tree. Crafted from wool blend felt and glittering sequins these felt Christmas Ornaments deserve a spot on your “to craft” list this season.

You will need:

Felt in pale blue Sparrow and White *

Stuffing

Dark Green Embroidery Thread

Felt Glue

Sequins I used Opaque Crystal and Snow White

*Matching Thread

free felt Christmas patterns

Cut felt icicle shapes from felt following the pattern below, you will need 2 per Christmas ornament.

felt Christmas ornament pattern

Sew along sides of the felt icicle stuffing as you sew.

Felt Icicle Free Christmas Pattern

Glue Sequins in place and thread embroidery thread through top for easy hanging on your Christmas tree.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

felt icicle ornament pattern

Why not make some more felt Christmas Ornaments?

Sequined Snowflake Ornament Tutorial - Tons of felt Ornaments

Make Some Felt Snowflakes with a Free Snowflake Ornament Pattern

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Make your own Christmas Tree Topper from felt and sequins.

bluefeltad

Hai- Ya! DIY Felt Ninja pouches and throwing stars.

3 Nov

Fight school break boredom with this fun felt ninja craft.

These felt ninja throwing stars are lightning fast to stitch up and a great way to teach hand sewing your karate kid.

 A traditional throwing star has a hole in the center making it easy to string on a belt for transport. While you can easily add a hole in the center we think you’ll agree the ninja belt bag creates a far more adorable storage option.

ninpow

Hai – Ya! Of course your stealthy ninja needs some place to put his felt weapons.

Kick it up a notch with ninja faced pouches featuring a front pocket for easy access to your felt throwing stars. Very helpful in the event your samurai is faced with a sudden attack. Or store them on your black belt in the pouch pocket keeping your weaponry secure during all the stealthiest of ninja maneuvers.

Felt Ninja throwing stars tutorial.

Ninja Throwing stars also make a great DIY ninja birthday party favor.

DIY Felt Ninja Throwing Stars

You will need for 6 stars:

2-  9″ x 12″ sheets grey wool blend  felt (I used Grey Flannel)

Grey thread and sewing needle

Felter’s Freezer paper (Optional)

Templates at end of post.

As with most weapons precision is key when cutting the felt throwing stars, I cannot stress enough how helpful using Andie’s or the freezer paper methods for cutting out these pieces is.

To use felters freezer paper print out your shapes, cut them out  to make the most of your felt, iron the shapes down.

Felt ninja stars tutorial

Lay another piece of felt under the ironed on piece and cut out matching sets of throwing stars.

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Carefully peel the paper free from your star and set aside (These can be reused at least 3 more times)

Felt ninja throwing stars- great #ninja craft.

Overcast stitch along the edges with matching thread.

DIY felt ninja throwing stars - ninjago toy


Free DIY Felt Ninja belt pouches and throwing stars craft tutorial

DIY Felt Ninja Pouches

Per Pouch you will need:

1-  9″ x 12″ black wool blend  felt*

4″ x 3″ flesh colored felt, I used  Bisque, Pastry and Toffee *

1 – 9″ x 12″ Ninja tie color, I used Pink Tutu, Egg Yolk, and Lipstick*

Matching Thread

Templates at end of post.

DiY felt toys

Cut out 2 pieces of template A from tie colored felt. Sew the centers together and fold in half.

Starting 1/2″ in sew long edges together leaving last 1/2″ open.

Set aside.

Cut one face piece from flesh tone felt (Template B)

Cut 2 felt pouches (Template C), 2 eyes (Template E) 1 corner piece (Template D) and 1 Belt Loop (Template F) from black felt.

Stitch face mask to one of the pouch sides (Template C pieces) with matching thread and a running stitch. Place eyes and stitch down with matching thread.

Ninja Pouch Tutorial - felt craft

Attach triangle pocket (Template D)  as shown on template using a running stitch and black thread.

Attach belt loop to felt pouch - DIY tutorial pattern

Stack pouch sides so that the face is on one side and the belt loop on the other.

Cut slits into Felt Ninja Pouch #DIY Craft

Fold over can cut small slits as shown on template.

Thread the colored tie through the holes.

Felt Ninja Pouch and Throwing Stars tutorial - great beginner sewing project.

Overcast stitch around the outside.

Ninja belt Pouch from Felt

Leave the portion where the tie is exposed open.

Thread Tie through felt ninja pouch tutorial

Felt Ninja Tutorial Craft- great boys craft

Happy Crafting ~

Andie

Ninja blet pouch and felt throwing stars craft tutorial- American Felt and Craft

Please Don't Pin Templates or Re-Blog without prior approval.

Ninja Pouch Template

Felt throwing Star template - please do not pin template to pinterest.

Ninja Star Templates

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Stealthy Felt Greys, Whites, and Blacks by the sheet.

Spooky Shadows DIY Halloween Felt Bean Bag Tutorial

3 Oct

Easy DIY halloween bean bag toss, just add pumpkin buckets!

Halloween is creeping up on us.  Wrangle up all your favorite goblins for a Halloween bean bag toss.

Halloween bean bag toss game with plastic pumpkins

These simple yet elegant bean bags are a great project for the beginning hand sewer.

Toss in some a few pumpkin trick or treat buckets and you’ve got yourself an easy Halloween party game for all ages!

You will need:

1 9″ x 12″ Embossed jack – lantern felt sheet

1 9″ x 12″ Orange felt sheet (Monarch Butterfly)

1 – 9″ x 12″ Black Felt sheet

1 cup of dried beans

Orange and black thread.

OPTIONAL: Plastic pumpkin trick or treat buckets.

Felt Bean Bags for halloween

Cut the orange and patterned felt sheets into 6 rectangles.

bean bag template

Cut 1 of each of the felt shadow shapes on template below out of black felt.

For tips on cutting small shapes see: Cutting Felt  or try Andie’s method

Cute felt bat bean bag

Sew down one of felt shadows to each of the orange rectangles.

Place printed felt rectangle on back with print facing outward.

How to make a felt bean bag, picture tutorial, great beginner project.

Using a running stitch sew around the outer edges, stopping to fill with about 2 tbsp of dried beans before closing bean bag.

Felt Bean bag tutorial - super easy.

Repeat with remaining squares.

Easy Halloween templates for felt bean bags - please do not pin templates.

Easy Halloween bean bags - prefect project for a beginning hand sewer!

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

American Felt and Craft online felt and craft store , over 100 colors of felt by the sheet! Ships worldwide.

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Other Free Tutorials You Might Enjoy:

DIY mini felt pumpkin felt food tutorial

DIY felt pumpkins

Pattern for fall trees candle mat

Scrappy Felt Candle Mat

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