Tutorials

Rarity Unicorn Headband Tutorial

Posted by Renae Bradley on 16 October, 2017 1 comment

unicorn costume diy

The favorite My Little Pony is Rarity at our house -and we made a headband to match! The best part is that all the pieces are removable -for those days that you want to be a unicorn... and for the days you don't (gasp!). 

Felt unicorn horn

You will need one 12x18" sheet of felt to create a felt base headband, a headband, one 9x12" sheet of felt to make the horn and ears and one sheet of iron-on. Not pictured -polyfil, a sewing machine (or stitching tools) and an iron. We have an easy pattern for you to use too! 

diy metallic felt

Let's work on the fun part first! The unicorn horn! First cut out and iron-on a 4x4" piece of silver vinyl (or glitter!) to your gray felt. We go into detail on how to iron on metallic vinyl over here

Unicorn horn pattern pieces

Using the horn and ear pattern, cut out all the shapes. Cut the ears out of felt and the ear accents out of metallic vinyl. I used clothes pins to attach the pattern to the metallic felt as I didn't want to pierce the vinyl coating. I used pins to attach the rest of the patterns. 

felt unicorn horn

Going back to the horn, fold it in half (metallic sides facing) and machine or handstitch the edges. To make the horn removable stitch the two circles together by stitching two lines about the width of your headband apart. Our headband is about a 1/2" wide. 

Unicorn horn how-to

Turn the horn inside-out -it's a little stiff so feel free to use a dowel or a pencil to help turn it. Stuff with polyfil and stitch the circle base one being sure to keep an opening for the headband to slide through. 

metallic unicorn horn

Finish the horn by stitching embroidery thread through the top edge and securing along the backside with every turn. 

animal ears headband

Finish up the ears by ironing on the silver metallic as accents, fold backsides together and stitch around the ear -making sure to leave an opening to fit the headband though. 

rarity unicorn diy

Grab your headband; we like our felt covered headband diy and slide the ears and horn on! 
 
Rarity pony headband

rarity costume for girls

Unicorn headband craft

Customized Quote Banner with Neat & Tangled

Posted by Renae Bradley on 19 September, 2017 38 comments

mermaid banner

We partnered with craft company Neat and Tangled -and was thrilled to try out their stock of stamps and die cuts. Visit their blog this week to see what they made with Benzie's felt and to enter a GIVEAWAY! 

Die cutting is definitely a must in this craft -but you'll love the results so much you'll want to quote up everything in sight! Neat and Tangled introduced us to the Journaling Alpha die and we are going to teach you how easy it is to use with our felt! 

 thin die cuts for felt

Supplies needed:
-Felt Banner: We used our big felt-fetti for this one, but it's really easy to cut out a banner shape out of a 6x9" sheet of felt too! We used the color Julep. 
-You only need one 6x9" sheet of felt to cut out the letters, but I would grab a second sheet if you are new to die cutting. We used the color Pool.
-The secret to success is using an iron-on adhesive.
-Journaling Alphas die cut
-Embroidery floss to match your felt (use one strand of divisible floss)
-Peacock Feathers sequins, we love this mix! 
-Beads, we love using our aqua shaded seed beads
-Dowel, cut down to six inches.
-Needle, you'll want a needle small enough to stitch through beads. We like our 5/10 size
-Iron

iron adhesive for felt

Step one: Iron the adhesive to a sheet of felt. 

die cut letters felt

Step two: If you are new to die cutting we suggest reading over this post to get started. Using the sheet of the felt that the adhesive was ironed on too, set up your die cut 'sandwich' in the order pictured. Keep note that the die cut needs to be on the felt side (not the adhesive side). Roll through die cut machine twice to ensure a clean cut. 

die cut small felt letters

Step three: Just peel the letters right off, the adhesive will be right on the back! Do step two a few more times until you get all the letters desired. Tip: An experienced die cutter can strategically place the die to get all cuts on a single 6x9" sheet. 

diy custom quote banner

Step four: I found it helpful to use a see through ruler when arranging all the letters on the banner. 

iron wool blend felt

Step five: Iron the letters on using a layer or two of tissue paper. Don't forget the tissue paper... or you just may burn your felt (I know from experience!). 

sequins and beads for felt

sewing on mermaid sequins

Step six: The Peacock sequin blend was just perfect for this mermaid themed banner! Using beads is the easiest and neatest way to sew sequins on, just make you select the right needle! 

Step seven: Use the dowel and embroidery floss to hang up your banner! 

make a mermaid banner

Sequined Felt Fall Leaves with Neat & Tangled

Posted by Renae Bradley on 18 September, 2017 37 comments

How to sew felt leaves

We partnered with craft company Neat and Tangled -and was thrilled to try out their stock of stamps and die cuts. Visit their blog this week to see what they made with Benzie's felt and to enter a GIVEAWAY! 

Nothing is prettier to watch then fall leaves turning color! We have added a little sparkle to our fall leaves by the way of sequins to bring some magic indoors! 

wool blend felt leaves

We partnered with Neat & Tangled and tried out their Maple Thanks die along with a perfectly fall mix of sequins! Die cuts are a great way to quickly start up a project! 

Other items you will need to get started:
-Benzie's wool blend felt in the colors Mulberry, Copper, Ochre, Fern, Moss and Blue Spruce. A 6x9" sheet will work great in your die cut machine too!
-Beads, the bronze iridescent beads complement the sequins perfectly!
-Floss or thread to match the felt (use one strand of divisible floss)
-Needle -make sure you have one that can stitch though a bead.
-polyfil, just a bit! 

thin die cuts and felt

If you are new to die cutting we suggest checking out our tutorial. Layer items in the order show (platform, cutting pad, felt, die cut and finally another cutting pad). I always roll thin dies through the machine twice to ensure a full cut. Cut two leaves per color. 

sewing sequins to felt

sewing sequins on felt

My favorite part is placing on the sequins -and these colors by Neat & Tangled are perfect for the season. It's fun to see the leaves come alive with sparkle! I have found the easiest (and neatest) way is to sew them on with a bead. I use some beads alone as accents too! Here you can go minimal or just adorn your leaves with sparkle!

felt fall leaves craft

When you are done with the sequins, whip stitch the leaf closed filling with just a pinch of polyfil prior to closing. 

felt fall leaves

I love this palette of fall colors together! Display them in a bowl or make a garland out of them! 

Fall felt garland

 Fall felt leaf garland

Hexagon Pom-Pom Coasters

Posted by Renae Bradley on 01 September, 2017 1 comment

hexagon pom coasters

You guys, you've seen felt balls before right?! These amazing little round balls of crafty, felted sweetness? Over at Benzie we prefer to call them pom-poms because they are more then just a ball -it's a felt ball of cheer (or a pom-pom)!! We picked up Benzie's smallest size (1cm) and some cork and got to work making ourselves a set of cozy coasters.

felt ball craft supplies 
Here are supplies you will need:
Benzie's Pom-Poms in 1cm size. We used 61 poms per coaster but suggest getting a few more as some poms run larger or smaller then 1cm.
- Cork or matte board in 1/8" thickness. 
- Hexagon Pattern
- Glue, our all time favorite is a basic, easy hot glue gun but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- scissors

fall ball coasters

To make the base for the coasters use our hexagon pattern to trace and cut onto cork or heavy matte board. You can use a scissors or an exacto knife, we cut down circle coasters to about 4" wide.

felt pom coaster

I started in the middle of the hexagon by placing 9 poms down the center with hot glue. It comes together quickly when making one long strip of glue down the middle and lining up poms one after another.

felt ball coasters

Try different color combos or try making a large one for a trivet! Make this project and tag #benziefelt -I want to see what you're making!

Mermaid Tail DIY

Posted by Renae Bradley on 30 August, 2017 2 comments

felt mermaid costume

I just got my daughter a shirt that read "I'm a mermaid at heart" -and it true -all she ever has wanted to be is a mermaid. And she insists she will grow up to be one. I'm not sure we can promise that -but I can indulge her imagination and creative spirit and create a mermaid's greatest accessory -her tail!

felt mermaid tail

The tail is composed of circles -or scales attached to the base. It comes together very quickly once all the circles are cut! Our tail and measurements are based on a tall 7 year old -you can adjust the measurements to the height of your little mermaid. 

felt mermaid supplies

Materials used:
-1 1/2 yards of a basic cotton fabric (we wanted to keep the tail light weight) but if you want to go no-sew we suggest using 1 1/2 yards of felt.
-10 12x18" sheets of Benzie Felt. We used our Mermaid Lagoon collection. 
-Sewing machine 
-Approximately 275 2" circles 
-2 yards of twill tape or ribbon 
-fabric glue
mermaid tail pattern

First you will need to make the base of the tail. Take the 1 1/2 yards of the base fabric and lightly freehand a pattern similar to the one you see above. The waist is about 27" wide and the length is 40" long. You will notice that the tail is asymmetrical -I wanted it to wrap around the waist and tie at the side to give the illusion of a more full bodied tail. If you are using felt -you are done -just cut out the shape! For cotton -we cut out two pieces, sewed both sides together and flipped inside out to hide the raw edges. Iron flat.

After you have the base of the tail you will need to sew ribbons on for ties. You can do this with a sewing machine or by hand. We suggest sewing as opposed to glue to make it a strong hold.

mermaid scale felt

 

Now for all those circles! We have several different options to cut out these circles -from using a scissors and and tracing a circle pattern (use the base of a glass), purchasing precut circles from Benzie (get the discounted 12 pack!) or using a die cut method. Any way is a great way to get your child involved in making their very own costume!

mermaid costume diy

 

After you have cut out your circles attach them to your tail base. You can sew these on -but I love having easy projects that I can do around the rest of the family -so we used fabric glue. Start on the bottom of the tail and attach circles by placing a bit of glue (it doesn't take much) along the top 1/4" of the circle. Go row by row, attaching circles about half way up from the previous row. As you can see with the above photo we spaced somewhat randomly as we accommodated the widening tail.

mermaid felt costume

 

Tie the ribbon to the mermaids side -a costume perfect for the little fish in your life!

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Cupcakes

Posted by Renae Bradley on 07 August, 2017 0 comments

chicka chicka boom party

My favorite children's book of my youngest was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom -he had it memorized from cover to cover and even requested to sleep with it! Look who's coming?! It's black-eyed pea!

Cupcake toppers are just the thing for this little book lover! To get started you will need:

You'll need: wool blend feltchicka font sized to 209, scissors, toothpicks, glue... and our secret weapon: Super Spray!

how to cut letters from felt

1. Fist cut out letters of your choosing (black eyed p is a favorite here!). We like to transfer our patterns using freezer paper -and even have a tutorial for you!
Stiff felt spray

2. I'm excited about this step fellow crafters -it's like introducing felt's best friend -or a secret beauty tip -and it's so easy too! Drum, dum dummmm... Fabric stiffener! It helps felt to stay sturdy, keep its form and provide extra durability; it extends the capabilities of felt even further. Here we are using a spray fabric product called Stiffen Quick (but I like to call it Super Spray!). I generally place the items to be sprayed in a box (to protect the surrounding area) -and spray stiffener about 6-8 inches away from the felt. You control how stiff you want your felt by how much you spray. These cupcake toppers needed to be pretty stiff so I sprayed one side till wet, came back an hour later flipped the letters and sprayed the backs.
chicka bom cupcakes
3. After the letters dried -I used thin line of hot glue to attach toothpicks. Then you're done and ready to party!
letter cupcake toppers

How to Cut Felt

Posted by Renae Bradley on 01 August, 2017 4 comments

how to cut felt

It's surprisingly easy to cut shapes and patterns out of felt -and we have a technique that is much more precise than pinning, far less fuzzy then transfer pens and cleaner than chalk! And it's by far the most fun! The key is freezer paper (yes, the same paper you can wrap your food in!) and a sharp scissors.

how to cut felt

This is what you'll need:
-freezer paper
-pattern 
-felt
-iron
-pencil
-scissors

how to transfer a pattern to felt

1. First trace your pattern onto the matte side of the freezer paper.

Freezer Paper and Felt

2. Iron your freezer paper (wax side down) to your felt. The wax helps to adhere the paper to the felt.

Cut out shapes out of felt

3. Cut out your shapes. I find small scissors helpful when maneuvering around tight corners and sharp tips lend itself to clean and precise cuts.

Freezer paper transfer on felt

4. Peel paper off. If you find the paper difficult to peel away from the felt -ease up on the heat or reverse the pattern when tracing. You can also reuse your freezer paper -just re-iron and cut. Perfect!

How to Cut Felt with a Die Cut Machine

Posted by Renae Bradley on 15 June, 2017 4 comments

 how to die cut felt

Two questions I get asked all the time: "How do you cut your shapes so perfect?" and "Can I die-cut felt?!" Yes, I say while nodding my head enthusiastically! You can die cut felt -it creates perfect edges every time and makes Benzie's felt even more versatile and production friendly. 

Make felt flowers quick and easy

It is important to first note that there are two categories of machines: electronic and manual. Manual machines have been the most fool-proof option for our felt crafting uses and we will talk about them today. 

kind of die cuts for felt

There a several different brands of manual machines and dies available and most are are interchangeable using a combination of platforms and shims. We really love Sizzix's brand of machines and dies. The machines feel substantial and have held up to thousands and thousands of cuts (we cut A LOT of felt here!). We love them so much we offer our favorite machines and dies right in our shop!

There are two main categories of dies: wafer thin dies and steel rule dies. Wafer thin dies are the flat silver ones shown in the above photo -they have a little raised border that cuts the felt when rolled through a die cut machine. Steel rule dies are approximately 3/4" thick dies encased in foam (the black die shown in the photo). Both dies work with our felt -but we have found the steel rule dies are a bit more friendly to felt... and you can cut multiple layers of felt at one time -it's magical!

how to die cut felt

To get a perfect cut you will first need to make up a 'die-cut sandwich'. The basic level sandwich starts with a cutting pad, a steel rule die, a sheet of felt and is topped with a second cutting pad. Cutting pads are clear acrylic rectangles that the die cuts into as they cut the felt. Don't let this alarm you -they last for hundreds (and hundreds!) of cuts but you can alway purchase replacement ones when they wear out! Benzie's wool blend felt is a great match to die cuts -use our 6x9" sheets -they fit in the machine perfectly! 

Using thin dies to cut felt

To use the wafer thin dies -you'll need the addition of the 'multipurpose platform'. This will give you just the thickness needed to cut the felt! Occasionally you will find that the thin dies are not cutting well -we have found adding a card stock shim in addition to the platform provides just enough pressure to give the felt a clean cut! We give more tips about the thin dies in this fun banner tutorial
 Die Cut Machine for crafters

Now take your sandwich and roll it though the machine.

Die Cut felt flowers

Remove the sandwich from the machine and see what you have! We used the Camellia steel rule die to make these fun flower shapes! 

How to make felt flowers

We turned the flat petals into dimensional flowers by forming the flowers around a felt ball using a little hot glue! This die has a lot of possibilities!

Easy die cut felt flowers

You'll be making full felt bouquets (or bows or garlands or animal friends) in no time at all with a few time saving tools! Happy crafting friends! 

Get Started Needle Felting

Posted by Renae Bradley on 15 May, 2017 0 comments

Learn how to Needle Felt

Needle felting is one of those overlooked crafts -supplies are non-existent or hidden away in a back aisle and the actual process can sound a little strange and tedius... A sharp needle? Sheep's wool? But I can't have you missing out on your next favorite past time -so let's break it down and start with the basics. 

Beginner Needle Felting

What is needle felting? Felting occurs when wool fibers are agitated together with a special felting needle. Continually jabbing the roving back and forth will condense and form the fibers into any shape you would like. It's like soft sculpture! Felting can be one dimensional or three dimensional too. And the best part? You only need three items to get started! 

Wool Roving for Needle Felting

What do I need to get started? Number one -wool! In needle felting -you will need sheep's wool that has been combed and carded. There are different types of wool based on how the fibers have been prepared and can be called tops, roving, sliver or batting. Tops have the longest fiber length and run a single direction while batting has the smallest fiber length and runs amok. This may be a little too much information so for the beginner so let's just focus on roving for now. The term 'roving' has become an overall term to cover any wool used for felting but it is important to note that there are differences.

When I was looking for a roving to add to our shop -I fell in love with Corriedale Sliver. It comes from Corriedale sheep and is technically called a sliver. I love it because its length works great for spinning, weaving, wet felting and needle felting -really, it's an all purpose fiber! I know how crafters like to dabble and try out new techniques and a sliver is workable for all. 

Needle Felting Needles

The second item you will need is a needle felting needle. This is not like a sewing needle but includes tiny barbs or notches up and down the sides of a needle -these barbs agitate the roving in such a way that binds the fibers together. The higher the number of the needle the finer the detail but a great starter number is around a 38. Don't let a number stress you out though -this needle felting pen has just what you need. You can use the needles individually or together in a pen (it makes the felting process faster!). Needles are somewhat fragile -have a backup in case they break! 

Needle Felting Foam

And lastly -you need a cushion. Always needle felt on a soft surface such as a foam pad. It is essential to the safety of your lap and your fingers! And speaking of fingers -always keep an eye out on the location of your fingers to your needle -jabbing your finger hurts! 

How do I start? An inexpensive way to get started is to find a needle felting kit you love; our cactus kits include all the tools you need. Or try these if you are an animal lover! We also have loads of fun free tutorials on our Pinterest board! You can purchase the supplies in the shop.

Needle felt a cactus.

But let's start out felting a ball. I suggest beginning with something simple so you can get a feel of how wool felts.  Let's start with a basic sphere -like the one I used for the Desert Rose cactus above! 

To start any needle felting project you will need to first divide the roving fibers. To separate, gently pull to separate the fibers -you may need to spread your hands further apart to get the fibers to separate. Never use a scissors -the raw edges needle felt better.

How to Needle Felt

Then roll the roving into a very tight ball -the tighter you roll -the less felting you will need to do! Continue to felt by rotating the ball and jabbing with the felting needle until a nice sphere is created. Get comfy -it takes a little bit of of time! And watch those fingers! I find the most comfortable position is to hold the cushion in my lap and felt from there. The more you felt the smaller, more dense and smooth it will become. You can see the progress of the ball above!

It's sometime hard for beginners to get the roving firm enough -you want it pretty firm! It may take some time to get it this way but don't give up! You don't want it to feel (or look like) cotton candy -but more like a chewy sugar cookie! If you find your finished piece extra fuzzy -I have some tips: 1) Gently scrape the surface with your felting needle -it helps to hide the dimples. 2) Use a little bit of additional roving to cover the surface and lightly needle felt into place. 3). Use a scissors to give the finished piece a trim! But you may not have to do anything at all! 

Think outside the box -you don't have to use all roving either! For larger dimensional designs, use styrofoam ball as the base or add details like Benzie's felt or embroider with floss! Congratulations on learning a learning a new skill, have fun!  

Poppy Headband Tutorial

Posted by Renae Bradley on 30 January, 2017 4 comments

Poppy Headband TutorialSing, dance and hug like a sweet happy troll in our new DIY Poppy headband! 

Supplies for Trolls Party
Supplies to make 2 headbands:
12x18" sheet of Clover Felt
9x12" sheet in Peacock Felt 
A sharp Scissors
Optional: Freezer Paper & iron
Not shown: Sewing machine or embroidery thread

Pattern for Flower Headband

Step One: First make the base of the headband using a this tutorial. We used a sewing machine but we also offer a no-sew option too! 

Step Two: Print off your pattern. You can use basic copy paper and pin the paper to the felt and cut out around the pattern. We really like using freezer paper as it is printable and gives a smoother cut! To use print just like printer paper and lightly iron to felt (waxy side down). You can even reuse the pattern by ironing again! The Clover Felt we used for accent greenery and the Peacock felt for the flowers.
Crafts for Troll Party
Step Three: Cut out six flowers total. We layered two flower cut-outs together to give the headband a bit of dimension. 
Poppy Troll Felt Flowers
Step Four: 
Sandwich the green accent pieces between the flowers. Here you can decide to glue or sew the flowers together.  (Sewing tip: we like to mark the exact center with a disappearing pen -it helps us to sew more even lines!). Attach to the headband with glue and you're ready to be Princess Poppy!
Poppy Troll Costume diy