What to Do With Scraps of Felt, Part VII: Make a Festive Garland

I confess: I have a thing for dangly art. I like making it, and I like looking at it. I like the variously gentle and energetic movement in the free-hanging kind, and I like the potential variability of the of the attached-to-something-but-not stationary kind.
In terms of design elements, I also like simple shapes and bold colors. These proclivities lend themselves well to the scraps-of-felt project---number seven in the series, by the by---that I present to you today. I think it's kind of fun and I hope you do too. Yay!

Materials


  • Scraps of felt
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Four-pound fishing line
  • A large jingle bell or other decorative doo-dad with a little weight to it (optional)

Steps

Cut a length of fishing line and tie a loop in one end. With a small piece of tape (fold one end over sticky sides together aid removal) secure that end to a table or the like.

Cut shapes from scraps of felt. I like to stack shapes on top of each other for a dimensional look so I cut several different sizes of shapes. 

Regardless of whether you decide to stack or not, start by cutting shapes of the same size to sandwich the fishing line between. Pin two pieces of felt together with their back (less fuzzy) sides facing each other and snip away.

Separate your pieces. Apply a line of glue to the back side of one of the shapes and align it with the fishing line. Set the line in the glue. Affix the other shape, fuzzy side up, to the first shape. Gently press together. 

Glue smaller shapes to the base shapes until you're happy with the result. Do this to both sides or just on one, depending on how you intend to display the result (if against the wall, one side; if free-hanging, both sides).

Display suggestions and tips: If you're going to hang your work vertically, say, in a doorway, tie a jingle bell or similarly weighted object to the loose end to stabilize it a bit. 

If you're going to hang your work horizontally, more akin to a garland, skip the jingle bell in favor of another loop. 

And there you go---a festive garland for everyday or party use. Enjoy!

Until next time,


Linda
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What to Do with Scraps of Felt, Part VI: Make a Cuff Bracelet


This use for scraps of felt was inspired by a post I originally saw on Craftzine on how to make a felt friendship bracelet. I saw potential in the general idea presented there of a wide band of felt embellished with embroidery. One fun direction that I thought it could go, and that would help me use some of my very large quantity of felt scraps, was to embellish it not just with embroidery, but also with additional felt, possibly among other things.

Materials
  • A strip of felt that is at least 3/4" wide and as long as needed to encircle the wrist of the wearer-to-be with a little gap between the ends, and a minimum 1" allowance on each end (sorry if that's confusing; illustrative pictures to follow!)
  • Smaller pieces of felt
  • Embroidery floss
  • Thread (optional, as long as you have floss)
  • Sewing/embroidery needles
  • Buttons, beads, or the like (sequins?); maybe even fabric paint
  • Fabric glue (optional)
Steps

Fold each end of the felt strip over at least 1" and pin in place (you'll note that I folded mine over much more; this was because I measured the length of the strip only approximately and used the fold-overs to adjust it).


Using three 18" lengths of embroidery floss, sew the sides of one end of the felt together. Pull the floss through to the middle so that you have the equal lengths of all three strands on either side.

Two down, one to go

Braid the strands on either side of the felt and finish with a knot.


Using a matching color of thread or embroidery floss, sew the sides of the other end of the felt strip together leaving enough of a loop for the braided floss on the other end to be laced through it.


Embellish the felt strip with additional pieces of felt and whatever else.


Lace the braided floss through the loop on the other end of the strip and tie together.


Done!


Until next time --




What to Do with Scraps of Felt, Part V: Make a Whimsical Tree-Branch Decoration




Here's a relatively easy little project using scraps of felt to make a cute table-top tree-branch decoration. Use it as a centerpiece or as stand-alone decorative piece (I'm thinking Martha Stewart here -- maybe you have a corner table or better, an old-fashioned tea cart standing somewhere in your home -- set your whimsical tree-branch there to enjoy continuously.)


Materials

  • Small tree branch (I found mine in the park)
  • Scraps of felt in different shades of green, plus a few other complementary colors if you feel like it
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread or embroidery floss (possibly optional -- I'll explain)
  • Glue (I used quick-drying tacky glue but you may know of something better)
  • An actual vase or something that can be used as such, e.g., a wine bottle
  • If you use an actual vase, something to set the branch(es) in so they don't move around, e.g., river pebbles.

Steps

  • Gently brush any debris from your branch and snip off any dangling ends. Set aside.
  • If you're using a vase to set your branch in, prepare it by filling it with river pebbles or the like. Set aside.
  • Select your scraps of felt. Depending on the size of the branch and your taste for realism, choose pieces big enough to make leaves that "fit" the size of the branch. I personally didn't bother to do this but bravo to anyone who does!
  • Cut out your leaves. I cut mine freehand but you can certainly use a template if your taste for realism is strong or you're going for a more polished finished piece.

  • Set your branch in your container of choice. Attach your leaves to the branch. There are obviously a number of ways to do this. I tried glue first but my tacky glue didn't cut it. I suspect a glue gun would. Being without one, alas, I reverted to sewing. It worked fine, and wasn't as horribly laborious as it sounds. You could probably also add some nice flourishes using fancy thread or embroidery floss if you're skilled in that kind of thing (thinking Martha Stewart again here).

  • If you sew, you might want to reinforce your stitching and secure the positioning of your leaves with a dab of tacky glue on the back.

  • Snip off any loose threads, shape your leaves a bit and otherwise tidy-up your work as necessary. Enjoy!


Until next time --

What to Do with Scraps of Felt, Part IV: Make Finger Puppets!

Here's a quick and easy project using scraps of felt that you can do just about anywhere. I started the one I'm about to document while selling my wares at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market this past weekend, for instance.

Now, before I start I just want to say that there are some really nicely-made finger puppets out there (check out this post by NewNew blogger, Karina, for a great tutorial), and these ones I made aren't them. No. Mine are, shall we say, a bit rough around the edges? But they're fun and easy and that's at least half the point.

Materials
All you need is felt pieces long and wide enough to cover your (or someone else's, say, a child's) finger, plus some smaller bits for details; embroidery floss or thread; a needle or two large enough to accommodate said embroidery floss or thread; pins to hold things together while you sew, and perhaps a bit of fabric glue and fabric paint if you don't want to sew every little detail.

The piece of felt I started with.

Steps
First, Find yourself a piece of felt as described above and wrap it around your finger. Pin the ends together where they overlap, making a tube.


Next, sew up the open side and top of your tube.

Snip off the pointy edges if you like, and begin adding details. I started with a pair of eyes and a pair of pants. I sewed the pants to the bottom of the tube and let the legs extend beyond it. For fun I used a contrasting color of embroidery floss and continued stitching beyond the point where they attached to the felt.
First details: Eyes and pants.

Back at home from the market, I added a hat. I did the same as with the pants and stitched all the way around the perimeter of the hat with a contrasting color of embroidery floss.
Then I stitched my little hat-and-pants-wearing guy a mouth and glued him on a nose.
I finished with a couple of dabs of fabric paint for eyeballs. And my first-ever, rough but cute in an ugly sort of way finger puppet was complete!

But, all the while I was making my first-ever finger puppet I was wondering if I was doing it the best way, starting with an already sewn-up tube instead of a flat piece of felt. So, being constitutionally unable to leave well-enough a lone, I made a second-ever finger puppet in this alternative way. Feeling less restricted in terms of sewing on the details, I got a bit ambitious and gave this second finger puppet arms.
Second puppet, different method, different details.

Although the sewing-on of details was certainly easier, it was harder to tell where to put them. I used the eyes to as a point of reference, remembering that the area I had to work with was small. Even so, the arms ended up way on the sides of the tube, pretty much out of view.
Where'd the arms go?

It was easy enough to reposition them, but only by so much. And I got the right arm wrong again.
Better, but still not quite right.

So even though it was easier to sew on the details using the second method, I'd go with the first method and close the open side and top of the felt first. It's easy enough to hide the ends of your thread/embroidery floss in-between where you sew the sides of the felt together.

Hiding a knot in-between the sewn-together sides of the felt tube.

In short, keep it simple and have fun!

Until next time --

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