Clothespin Doll Mermaid

Posted by Renae Bradley on 12 July, 2018 2 comments

Mermaid clothespin doll

We really love mermaids (check out this sparkly banner or our beautiful costume tail) and had to make up some dolls too! Utilizing basic wood pieces, Benzie felt and beginner needle felting techniques -you'll have a gorgeous collection of 'maids and 'men in no time! 

felt supplies for dolls

Supplies needed, click to buy at www.benziedesign.com

Wool Blend Felt -we used colors Pink, Rose, Swan, Sky and Lilac
Wool Roving -we used the colors Rose, Peacock, Nightingale, Vineyard and Thistle
Wood Clothespins and heads
Needle felting pad
Needle felting needle
Fabric Marker (we like that this one doesn't bleed on the wood!)
Ink -we used Chambray, Plumeria, Dark Peony and Spa
Tacky Glue
Pattern, PDF or SVG

clothespin mermaid

Step One:
Print off your pattern and cut out your felt shapes! You can do this by printing on regular printer paper, pin to your felt and cut out the shapes but we find the freezer paper method our favorite way! And for those of you who have a Cricut Maker -we included the cvg file -note that the smaller shapes can get a little choppy on the Maker and may need to be cleaned up with scissors!

Mermaid doll craft

Step Two:
Gluing part! Grab your clothespin, fill the head up with glue and attach. Then take your coordinating tails (note there is a front and a back, and a straight and a curved tail). Glue the tails onto the doll making sure the fins line up. You don't need a lot of glue -just enough for the perimeter. Then add tail details such as the scallop top. Feel free to cut down the tail for a merman! 

Mermaid hair crafts

Step Three:
Take out your roving! If you have never needle felted before you may want to read this beginner tutorial -but playing with this mermaid hair is perfect for someone wanting to get a taste of roving! We suggest using the felting tool to form the hair but you can always forgo this step too! Gently pull apart about a 1 1/2 x 12" inch piece of roving. You can make it any length you want but I think mermaids look best in long hair! I also added small wisps of other colors of roving at this time as mermaids love long and colorful hair!

clothespin mermaid hair

Fold the length of roving in half. Using the doll head, form the roving to the head.

how to style mermaid doll hair

Remove roving from the head and use the needle felting needle and foam pad to style the hair in place. I love felting in a side part! You will form the mermaids wig prior to attaching it.

mermaid peg doll instructions

Place glue on the head and place the mermaid hair over the top. Finish styling the hair in place added details such as stars or flowers. 

mermaid peg doll

Step Four:
Finish off the doll by adding eyes with this marker (it doesn't bleed on the wood!) and gluing on felt cheeks cheeks! We also applied a little ink in to their tails -it adds a bit of depth to the felt! Alternately you can use a q-tip to blush up their cheeks with the ink. 

merman doll

To make a merman I used Benzie's Ginger felt to make a crown and added a beard! 

mermaid doll kids craft

Make a swim school of magical mermaids for yourself or with your favorite ocean princess -kids will love this! Share what you make with #benziefelt on Facebook or Instagram!

Easy Felt Monstera Leaf

Posted by Renae Bradley on 23 May, 2018 3 comments

DIY Monstera leaf

This big leaves from the Monstera plant are so easy to make! Cut out a single large leaf for simple accents or make yourself a whole vase of them! They will brighten up any corner in your house! 
 monstera leaf making

Things you will need:

Wool Blend Felt from Benzie Design is perfect for this project -I used 12x18" sheets in Kelly and Emerald. But feel free to use yards for really big leaves!

Freezer Paper (or regular paper) & Scissors (or use the Cricut Maker)

Spray stiffener 

Glue (tacky or hot glue will work)

Florist wire, 18 gauge 

PDF Pattern or SVG Pattern -scale as needed.

 felt monstera leaf directions

First -get your pattern ready. We provided a couple of different sizes but feel free to scale the print to the size you want. The most basic way to transfer the pattern to the felt is to print the pattern on basic copy paper to the size you would like, cut out, pin pattern to the felt then cut out. You can also use freezer paper to transfer the pattern (read about that here) or the Cricut Maker. Save your felt scraps -we will use them later!

How to make felt stiff

Grab your spray stiffener and spray down your leaves over some scrap paper or cardboard. The more you spray -the more stiff the leaves will be. If you want more floppy leaves -spray less. Wait till dry. We talk more about spray stiffener here

how to make tropical leaves

Cut out oblong vein shape out of your leftover felt.

diy tropical leaves

Use the vein to glue the florist wire in place. To make extra long stems -twist two wires together. 

how to make tropical leaves

Arrange in a vase! You can a few leaves or make a whole leafy plant! Add in a few poms to hold them in place. Happy Crafting!

How to stiffen felt




Magnolia Flower Wreath

Posted by Renae Bradley on 19 April, 2018 1 comment

 magnolia flower diy

We all love the magnolia - here is our favorite leafy wreath! Today we are going to focus on the blossom, the petals fold out to full blooms to create a circular wreath or garland that seems full of the scent of magnolia!

Felt Flower Supplies

Supplies needed:

How to cut out felt for flowers

First, get started by cutting out petals and leaves! Using our pattern as a guide free hand cut or trace out using freezer paper. You will want a variety of sizes of magnolia petals and a few leaves as well. Second, we love to accent our petals with just a bit of pink ink -it makes them so lifelike! Gently ink to build up the color you would like your petals to be.  And third -form your flat petals into cupped beauties! To do this hot glue the two bottom notches together. To cup the top part of the flower add the smallest amount of glue (you will want a narrow tipped glue gun for this!) to the top and center of the petal and use your fingers to pinch together. This will result in a fold of the felt, use your scissors to smooth out the fold. 

how to make a felt flower

I start a bloom by taking 3 small petals and gluing the bases together in triangle like shape then finish it off by attaching a felt pom. Try out different colored poms -I would love to see this in our light butter yellow color or orchid pink! This is your base for all of the magnolia flowers. 

felt flowers diy

Continue to add petals to the base. Add more for a full blossomed bloom -or less for those littlest flowers. Our fullest flower includes 9 petals and uses a medium sized pom. Our medium flower includes 6 petals. Our closed bloom includes just 3 petals and uses a small size pom. 

magnolia flower diy

These large felt petals can get floppy and flat. To help the flower lay as they would in nature I used my glue gun to carefully 'tack' petals to each other enhancing the lay and fold of each bloom. 

how to make a wreath for felt flowers

Once all your flowers are made and some petals cut use your coiled wire to make a wreath. This wreath is 12" wide -I wrapped the wired twig four times around to give it it's width. I intentionally left the ends run free to give the wreath a more natural appearance. You can also use this wired twig for making a garland. 

 flower wreath diy

Arrange the finished flowers on the wreath using hot glue to adhere. Place the leaves on as accents. Use the wire twigs that we left sticking out of the wreath as places to add small bloom or leaves. When forming the wreath -I bended in a few more wild twigs as I love the natural free style look!

how to secure flowers to wreaths

To make the large flowers extra secure attached some felt ovals with hot glue to the back of the wreath. 

diy anemone wreath

magnolia wreath

I made two different wreaths. The top one is more full and includes 2 large, 2 medium and 5 small blooms. The second one is more simple and includes 1 large, 1 medium and 2 small blooms. You can make them however you want to fit your style and decor! Be sure to check out our leafy magnolia wreath too! 

felt flower tutorials

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 3 comments

 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

Printed felt (or just cut hearts out of solid colored felt!)
Tacky Glue

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
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
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?