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Introduction to Wool Crafts

Posted by Renae Bradley on 20 March, 2018 1 comment

introduction to wool crafts

The more I delve into wool crafts -the more I learn about how wonderful this world of fiber arts is and wanted to share a little with you! Many of you are much further ahead in your journey and know so much more -but the following is great place for curious novices and crafters!

what kind of wool felt should I use

Let's first talk about the sheep! Like many animals -the breed of sheep determines the coat or characteristics of the wool. Two common breeds used for their wool are Merino and Corriedale. Merino sheep's fleece is thin, soft and smooth whereas Corriedale wool is know to be a durable medium weight fiber. After sheep are sheared their raw wool is cleaned (all debris is picked out and washed) and carded (a combing process).The finished product is can be called batting, sliver or a roving (but to simply, we will refer to the raw fibers as roving). These raw fibers or roving are the basis for all our wonderful wool products. 

history of felting

The secret behind wool is that its fibers have the amazing capability to lock and bind together -this is called felting! There are quite a few fun theories of how the process of felting was discovered. Some fables tell of saints lining their sandals with wool fleece prior to a long journey -but once they arrived they discovered the raw fibers had become more like a sock around their feet! The act of walking along with the sweat of their journey matted the wool! (Ewe!!) I love that felted wool was one of the first textiles known to man -it predates even weaving and knitting! Even today, nomadic countries use felted wool to line their saddles, use as blankets or even utilize for their homes -commonly known as yerts. 

Even though wool got it's start in more utilitarian means -I am excited that it's used by crafters today! I will introduce you to our four favorite crafting supplies made with wool fibers: roving, yarn, felted wool and wool felt.

understanding wool crafts

Roving is the basis of all wool craft supplies so it's smart to talk about it first! At Benzie we sell Corriedale roving -a perfect breed for those getting started in the fiber arts. It's multifunctional fiber for wet felting, needle felting, weavings or spinning. We talk a lot more about needle felting here.

felted wool or wool felt

Second, roving can be spun into a yarn or a thread. This yard can be knitted or the thread can be woven into a fabric. This leads us to number three: felted wool. Often confused with 'wool felt', 'felted wool' is woven wool fabric. It is thick, soft and pliable and does not ravel like other woven fabrics. You can see in the above photo the woven nature of the fabric. 

types of wool felt

Fourth and finally, everyone's favorite at Benzie -wool felt! Wool felt is essentially made by pressing, rolling and felting raw fibers together to make sheets of compacted non-woven wool. Manufacturing technology allows for a dense and even felting process to achieve desired thickness and size. And oh, all the colors! Today there are several kinds of felt (not just wool!) and we explain the differences here. Wool is a pretty incredible, multifaceted fiber. Thank a sheep! 

Types of Felt

Posted by Renae Bradley on 16 February, 2018 1 comment

 types of felt

Felt is a pretty general term and it easy for a new crafter to be confused! I will introduce three types of nonwoven felt and and explain their uses and where it can be purchased. Let me know if you have any other questions! 

Wool Felt: Often referred to 100% wool felt so not to get confused with its blended counterparts. Fibers are tightly felted together making the felt evenly dense, pliable and quite sturdy. The colors are soft and beautiful. Use this felt for your most special of projects -the high price tag can make for expensive mistakes! Available online or in specialty boutiques. 

difference between craft felt and wool felt

Craft Felt: On the other end of the spectrum is craft felt, readily available in any big box craft store for very low prices. This felt is usually made from recycled materials such as water bottles or synthetic materials such as acrylic. It can be unusually thin or extra lofty and colors are limited. The above photo shows craft store felt -you can see how thin it is compared to the wool felt that is placed on top. Fibers are usually sparse and is prone to stretching and pilling. Warning, do not iron this felt, it will melt! Best left for kiddie crafts. 

wool blend felt

Wool Blend Felt: Most often referred to wool felt (but not to be confused with 100% wool felt), this felt is made up of wool and rayon fibers. Our favorite is Benzie's wool blend felt and it is made up of 20-35% merino wool with the remainder rayon (or viscose). Rayon and wool are both renewable sources! These two fibers work well together making a strong durable felt that is available in all colors of the rainbow. 

difference between pure felt and blend felt

I consider wool blend felt to be the best of both worlds - it's durable and dense like pure wool felt but it's affordably priced too! You can share all you want with your kids while using the same felt for heirlooms for your grandchildren. Available at www.benziedesign.com.

I would love to hear if you utilize the different kinds of felt and what projects you use them for! Read more on different types of wool crafts here!  Happy Crafting! 

 

 

Love Note Valentine Craft

Posted by Renae Bradley on 12 February, 2018 0 comments

Valentine banner for notes

Want to leave little love notes (or treats!) to your kids for valentines day? We love pocket banners -these are made with our printed felt for extra fun! 

Valentine treat holder

Supplies:
Printed felt (or just cut hearts out of solid colored felt!)
Scissors
Dowel
Thread 
Tacky Glue
Pattern

You may find it helpful to use this pattern when cutting out a banner. We like our freezer paper method to transfer the pattern neatly to the felt. For the printed felt we just took our scissors and got to cutting all the hearts! 

Easy Valentine day craft

We selected the largest heart and applied glue around the outer edge (don't apply to the top or it won't be a pocket!). 

Valentine Day Banner

Position heart where you want on the banner and add other printed flair! 

Valentine Note Holder

Place the dowel though the slits you had cut (or glue the top over the dowel to make a flap). Make a hanger from string. 

Finally, write a little note! Tell a friend an encouraging word or write your child a knock-knock joke! Happy Valentines day! Use your extra patterned felt to make badges, barrettes, garlands and Valentine's! 

valentine crafts with felt

Felt Poodle Skirt DIY

Posted by Renae Bradley on 01 February, 2018 1 comment

DIY Felt Poodle Skirt

Supplies needed:
2-4 yards of wool blend felt, depending on size of model. We used Magenta
1 9x12" sheet of black wool blend felt
black rick rac
black 2" elastic
string and marking pen
iron-on adhesive
iron
tacky glue
sharp scissors
sewing machine

Poodle skirts are just big circles made into skirts! In order to purchase the correct amount of 36" wide felt yardage you will first need to determine the diameter of the entire circle (or skirt). To make an accurate sized skirt you may need to face your math fears -but we found some great diagrams that explain how to do this here. Once you find out the right circumference, multiple times two -this is how many yards you will need. If you are making a skirt for a toddler and your circumference is less then 36" you will not need to multiple your number. You would need 1 yard of felt and would follow these instructions as is.

If you are following the detailed instructions of step 3 -instead of folding your felt in half, cut your felt in half and place the two halves on top of each other. And continue to follow instructions.
how to make a felt poodle skirt

For those of you who prefer to wing it -here are some quick tips to find how much yardage you will need. Measure from the waist down to the knee -this is the length of the skirt. Double this number and add around 10". This is your diameter. If this number exceeds 36", you will need to double that number for your final yardage number.

Refer to our pink diagram to see how to lay out your felt. For example -if you need 3 yards of felt, cut in half to get two 1 1/2 yard cuts. Place on top of each other. Take your string measured to the length of the radius (radius is half of the diameter) tie to the end of your pencil and use as a makeshift compass to draw the outline of the skirt. Using a sharp scissors cut through both layers of felt at the same time. 

how to sew a felt poodle skirt

Sew the two halves together as shown in our diagram.

how to attach a poodle to a skirt


To make the poodle we first printed out this poodle and traced it onto Heat n' bond, cut out then ironed it on to the felt. Alternately you can use our freezer paper method and tacky glue to attach. We arranged the ric-rac in a fun pattern and used tacky glue to attach. 

For the elastic waist band, measure the models waist and add one inch. Sew together. Pin elastic to the skirt and sew on being careful to stretch the elastic but not the felt. And now you have your finished poodle skirt! 

Jumbo Conversation Hearts

Posted by Renae Bradley on 12 January, 2018 1 comment

big conversation hearts

Show your valentine how much you really love them with our oversized felt hearts!

Grab your supplies:
Two 20x30" 1/2" thick foam sheets per heart
Wool Blend Felt from Benzie, one yard per heart -we used Coral, Magenta and Lilac
12x20" sheet of glitter iron-on (we love white!)
hot glue
scissors
heart pattern 

DIY big valentine

Print out the pattern (borderless if you have that option) and tape together to make up the heart. The pattern will overlap about 1/4 of an inch. Use this shape to trace and cut out foam core pieces with a utility knife. I layered 2 sheets together to make a thicker heart.

 How to cover a large valentine

Second, cut out 27"x27" piece of felt, lay foam heart on top and trace a heart boarder about 4-5 inches out from the foam heart. Cut notches every 1-3 inches and hot glue to the back of the heart to secure.

make a big conversation heart

Third, add your heart felt phrase! I used the typestyle Antipasto from Font Squirrel sized to 280 points and cut it out on my electronic cutting machine (don't forget to reverse the letters!) -you can also trace letters on felt easily using the freezer paper method. Iron on! Imagine your sweetheart when they receive this valentine! 

super big conversation heart

really big valentine hearts

big felt valentines

Nativity Banner

Posted by Renae Bradley on 12 December, 2017 1 comment

nativity banner

When I saw Mollie Johanson's (from Wild Olive) Nativity ornament and playset -I knew I wanted to adapt it to work in a classroom full of kids (and pretty enough that mom's would want to keep forever!). This banner is a great way to celebrate Jesus's birth and a reminder you can keep up all year long! 

supplies for christmas craft

Supplies needed:

Felt nativity kids craft

The quickest way to cut out the shapes is to print out the pattern on paper, pin to your felt and cut out the shapes. Another fun and easy way to trace patterns is to use freezer paper -we talk more about that here! I made a couple dozen of these for a classroom craft -you may want to use your electronic die cutter for that and have included a csv file

Nativity craft for kids

After all the pieces are cut out your littles can get to gluing all the pieces on! Place two little dots in for the eyes using a thin tip permanent marker. Slide the dowel though the slits in the banner and add some string for hanging! Celebrate the Jesus's birth!

Felt Nativity Banner

nativity crafts

10 Ways to Craft with Enamel Pins

Posted by Renae Bradley on 04 December, 2017 2 comments

Craft with enamel pins

We love flair (especially Benzie's new line just for crafters) but love it even more when we have multiple ways to display it! But first let's introduce our pins: our favorite celebrates felt (of course!), then next felt poms and finally, embroidery floss! A fantastic trio designed using the colors from our Cactus Palette. We couldn't decide between the classic pin back or the magnetic back so we decided to offer both for more crafting and display potential!

Here are our top 10 favorite ways to pin, glue and craft with lapel pins!  

crafters flair

1. It's what denim was made for, right?! Pin them to your jacket, purse or tote bag! We like the magnetic backs for blouses and pin backs for jackets. Find all 3 enamel pins here!

2. Shout out your love for flair and glue to the zipper of your cosmetic bag or backpack! (Anytime you're gluing flair -don't forget the super strong glue!)

Paperclip craft

3. Glue one on back of a giant paperclip (we love to stay organized!). When gluing make sure to have a magnet back pin or just take off the pin with a wrench! Find the I Heart Felt pin here

4. Keep your memos safe in style -tac it to a cork board with a lapel pin! 

Lapel Pin Magnet

5. My favorite organizing method -just use magnet backed flair... to make a magnet! These magnets are super crazy strong and I guarantee this will become your favorite -it's functional and holds over 20 sheets of regular paper and just plain pretty too!  You'll want to use a super strong glue to attach the magnet! Get our I Heart Felt magnet backed pin here!

enamel pin display

6. Show them off in a felt banner! Make it easy and use our precut felt banners!

lapel pin display

5. Or display them in a felt covered embroidery hoop

Enamel Pin Embroidery Floss

8. Use the pin to glam up a flower or bow center for a gift topper! Wouldn't this also look cute as hair bow too? We used the french bow die to cut out this topper and the I Heart Floss pin. 

Needle Minder Embroidery Floss

9. The number one reason I love magnet backs - for needle minders! It's a great way to keep those sharps safe and glam up your cross stitch. All three of Benzie's lapel pins come in a magnetic backed option, we show our I Heart Floss pin here!

Enamel Pin Necklace Jewelery

10. Grab a bail and chain and make your own necklace! This is just so pretty and great way to show off your flair any day! We used this glue to attach our bail to the 'I Heart Poms' pin. 

Which way to use your pins is your favorite? I love how many options there are -some super functional and others just flashy! What is your favorite way to flair? 

Felt Boxwood Wreath

Posted by Renae Bradley on 16 November, 2017 1 comment

Felt Boxwood wreath diy

Everyone loves the classic look of boxwood wreaths for the holidays so we interpreted the full and fresh green leaves into a simple and slender felt leaf wreath design -one that won't die out! 

Supplies needed:
--Your favorite green felt from Benzie. We used Moss -but Meadow or Zucchini would look great too! But if you don't want to cut out all those ovals by hand we suggest our Oval shaped felt-fetti
--Embroidery hoops, we used 6", 7" and 8" size
--Ribbon, we used 1 1/2" wide linen like ribbon
--Glue gun, other glues work too but we like how fast this glue dries.

Felt Boxwood Wreath

 

1. This wreath is includes about 100 small felt ovals -if you are using felt-fetti we suggest one bag of small ovals or two bags of large ovals per wreath. If you are using felt about one to two 12x18" sheets of felt will work per wreath. 

2. Heat up your glue gun and add a dot of glue to the base of your oval and pinch together. This makes your leaf.

3.The wreath is composed of two rows of leaves, use the inner and outer circle of the embroidery hoop as your guide. One leaf is placed slightly in front of the previous leaf. Each row is staggered. After you're done with the two basic rows -fill in any bald spots with extra leaves. This gives the wreath more of a natural and irregular look.

felt christmas wreath

 

4. Finish off with some festive ribbon! Our oval fetti shapes is one of my favorites. We used it to make our succulents too! It's perfect for forming leaves and petals -don't forget that ovals are super easy to hand cut too and a great way to use up every little bit of felt! Merry Christmas!

directions for felt greenery

Sewing Sequins & Beads to Felt

Posted by Renae Bradley on 06 November, 2017 1 comment

sewing sequins beads to felt

Adding sequins and beads makes any felt project just a bit more pretty, vintage or sparkly. We have the guide to the perfect needle and the sewing technique to make it neat and complete. 

sequin felt hair clips

To make these star clips you will need: 

Felt stars (cut your own or use our pre-cut fetti). 
Sequins & Beads -we used 4mm sequins and glass seed beads
Beading Needle
Embroidery Floss or Thread
Scissors (the cute eiffel tower is available here!)
Hair Clips
Pinch of polyfil

best beading needle

Let's talk about the most important tool when working with beads and sequins -it's the needle -as finding just the right needle for tiny beads can be pretty tricky! First, it must be delicate enough to fit though a small seed bead diameter but strong enough to stitch through felt. Third, it must be easy to thread! We have two different embroidery needle suggestions -both come with a variety of sizes -you'll want to use the two smallest sizes offered for beading! A budget friendly option is by DMC & our favorite option is by Tulip. The ones by Tulip have a really great feel in the hand and the gold eye help keep the needle in great condition!

 How to sew sequins

To stitch on the sequins you can just skip the bead and stitch the sequins right on to your felt or fabric -but you would be left with a visible strand of thread, which can be distracting or even messy on your final design. To avoid that we like to top our sequins with a single bead. It adds more dimension to your item and keeps things sparkling clean. To do this thread a single strand of floss or thread and come up from behind your felt. Add a single sequin and then a bead. Then, bring the the needle back through the sequin center to secure. 

sequins and felt

I love the sequin/bead look but I love accenting sequins with individual beads even more -it makes it look like a dusting of glitter! 

Glitter star hair clips

To finish the star for a hair clip -whip stitch the back on filling with a pinch of polyfil prior to closing. Secure onto a hair clip. 

felt star barrettes

Felt Roses with Scrap Felt

Posted by Team Benzie on 25 October, 2017 4 comments

Felt Roses with Scrap Felt

Hello everyone!  I contacted Renae about guest blogging because I LOVE Benzie felt and want to show how you can make some amazing flowers with your scrap felt.  If you are anything like me, you have piles of chunky scraps that you can’t throw out but are too small for full pattern pieces.  These roses are easy, free form and come out so pretty!  Let’s get started.

*Note before starting - Real roses aren’t perfect…they have chips in their petals, they are wavy, the petals aren’t perfectly smooth across the top nor are they all the same size.  I have a pattern, but honestly, I just cut out free form petal shapes to make the most of my scraps.  This is a project to release your control and be free!

Felt scrap flowers 

What you need:
Flower colored felt scraps
Leaf Colored felt
Floral wire – one heavier piece for stem, two finer for leaves
Hot glue and Glue gun
Sharp Scissors
Flower pattern (Optional)

Felt flower petals

Cut out petals. 
I usually cut out a bunch of petals of varying sizes, some with dips in the middle and some with a little bulge on the top.  Just make sure they all relatively straight cut bottoms.


Make felt flower roses

 Shaping the Petals 

  1. Place a small dot of glue right in the middle on the base of a petal.
  2. Pinch petal together and hold for a second or two.
  3. Turn petal over and find the little wedge you just made.
  4. Without cutting it all the way off trim the excess wedge.
  5. Do this with all your petals except the 4 big ones.

Forming a felt rose

Adding Character to your Petals

Roses have little curls in the tops of their dainty petals…lets give ours the same!  There are two ways and I will do about half and half to my petals.

A. On your petals with a little bump on the top, place a small dot of glue and fold it over toward the back.

B. On the flat topped petals, place a fine line of glue across the top.  Being gentle, roll the edge down and just hold in place for a few seconds waiting for the glue to set.  If you have a petal with a dip you can do this technique to one side or both sides.

When you’re done you will have a pretty pile of rose petals!

 

Making a felt flower rose

Making your Rose

Pieces Suggested - 1 small petal, 10 medium petals, 4 large petals

  1. Take a small petal, fold into a tube and glue.
  2. Grab a petal, place a line of glue across the base and curl it around the center.
  3. Repeat on the other side.  You have created the first ring.

Forming a felt flower

4.  In the next ring, use 3 petals, in the ring after that use 5 petals evenly spaced.

 how to form a felt flower rose

5. The outside ring will only have the 4 big petals.  Instead of using the pinch method from earlier, you will make 2 snips in the bottom and glue them together in a little stack.  This makes a deeper cup shape that will allow them to get around your beautiful flower.  Glue the last four petals onto your flower and this part is finished

 

Adding green leaves to felt flowers

Adding the Greens

Pieces Needed - 6 leaves, 1 five pointed leaf

  1. If you didn’t start your rose on a stem (as explained below with the rose bud) insert the thicker floral wire through the center and secure with a bit of glue. There should be a small hole through the center but if it got covered up just use your snips to poke a hole through the glued petals.
  2. Cut out the 5 pointed leave and snip a small hole in the center. Put the wire through the center.
  3. Add glue to the base and secure the the underside of the rose.
  4. Cut out 6 leaves and add three snips into each side.
  5. Place a line of glue onto the end of the floral wire and place onto the top leaf.
  6. Add a line of glue to one edge of the second leaf.  Make a sandwich with that leaf, the wire and the third leaf.
  7. Repeat for the second leaf branch.

8.  Using floral tape wrap one leaf branch onto the main stem and voila! You have made an amazing realistic rose from scraps!

 

Make a felt rosebud

Make a Rose Bud

Make a Rose Bud

Pieces Needed: 1 small petal, 3 medium, 1 four pointed leaf

I always have extra petals left over so why not make a pretty little rose bud?

  1. Place a thin glue line down the edge of a small petal.  Place the stem wire in the glue and wrap the petal around  and secure.
  2. Glue three petals around the center.
  3. Cut a 4 pointed green leaf bottom, poke a hole in the center and secure to the base of your rose bud.
  4. Use floral tape and secure the second leaf branch to the rose but stem.
  5. All done!

 

These little flowers are my favorite to create.  They look beautiful, are easy to learn, can be given realistic flair with a few simple techniques and best of all, use up my growing scrap pile!

Felt Rose Bouquet

Color Tips

Try using complementary colors in the same flower, like Butter and Ecru, Peony and Pink, Red and Crimson, or Linen and Oats…the colors options are so plentiful, just like a rose garden.

As the holidays are coming up experiment with making orange and black roses for Halloween or make a “Black and White” version using only the greys, white and black!

Felt Rose Bouquet  

Alicia Burstein is a long time maker, mom, wife, nurse and lover of all crafty things.  Her little company Spicy Sweet Pea produces sweet headbands, handmade toys, wall hangings, and fun clothes for our little ones.  Visit her Etsy shop SpicySweetPea.etsy.com for great items for the littles (and even you!) or message her directly for flowers arrangements, commissions, personalizations of current listings, or just to have a crafty chat!

Please follow her @thespicysweetpea and @deann52 on Instagram for specials, sneak peeks, crafty tips and updates.

 

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