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Family Craft Ideas

with Leah

I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!

The Best 5-Minute, 5-Step Felt Flower Tutorial

Categories: felt, no-sew

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Nobody says “February showers bring March flowers,” but maybe they will if we all make this quick and easy and oh-so-fancy little craft the next time we’re stuck inside because of rain (or snow). It poured here yesterday, which is why I’m now the proud owner of a handful of lovely little felt blooms that will help brighten those gray weeks of early spring.


Do you love these? You won’t believe how simple the process is. And they’re like the potato chips of crafting: you won’t be able to make just one. So let’s get going.

What you’ll need:

  • felt (or other non-fraying material)
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun (recommended) or fabric or craft glue
  • pin back (optional)

  • At my local craft store, a 9″ x 12″ sheet of felt is only $.29, and at my favorite dollar store they sell felt in rolls of 25″ x 25″ for $1.50, so there’s really no excuse not to have all the colors, right? Pick your favorite, grab your scissors and your glue gun, and now get ready to impress yo’self with your mad crafting skillz.

    Step 1. Cut a strip of felt a few inches (about 2″ to 3″) wide and any length upwards of 9 inches (because if it’s shorter than that, you won’t have much of a flower). You don’t need to measure anything exactly or even use a straight edge to cut the strip. Perfectionists, take the night off!


    The two things to keep in mind here are that your finished flower will be as tall as half the width of your strip, and that a longer strip will make a bigger flower with more compact petals. The measurements below show how long my original strips of felt were.


    Step 2. Glue your felt strip in half lengthwise, putting glue only near the cut edge, leaving the folded end open to form a long tunnel. I recommend using a hot glue gun for this project because it sets instantly and you certainly don’t need to spend precious minutes of your day watching glue dry. If you’re doing this project with a glue gun and kids, please take the proper precautions to make sure no one gets burned or glues her eyelids shut or something.


    Step 3. Make evenly spaced slits down the side of the felt strip that is not glued, a.k.a. the side where your fold is. Don’t cut all the way through the strip, but cut deep enough that your petals will have some room to open up. Again, you can just eyeball this step; no need to measure anything out. This is a craft that forgives imprecision, which makes it GREAT for kids, who aren’t always the most exacting creatures out there. Imagine: This project could be the hit of your next tween girl slumber party.


    Step 4. Start at one end and roll your strip into a spiral, securing it with glue along the solid edge as you go. (This is where using hot glue has its biggest advantage over craft or fabric glue, since it lets you move quickly and it keeps the felt from sliding around and getting all gooey.)



    Step 5. Okay, so I lied. There isn’t really a Step 5, because you’re already done! I guess we could say Step 5 is “Stand back and admire your awesome work because you just made a five-minute felt flower! Ooohh. Aaahh.”



    A few notes about variations:

    Variation 1: To make a flower that has pointy petals like a dahlia instead of rounded petals like a mum, make your slits on the diagonal like so:


    When you go with this variation, you’ll want to make sure you roll the strip starting from the end of the strip that the petals point away from. (This is confusing, so see the photos below.) If you start rolling it from the other end, the petals get all wonky and the flower will look like a jumble.



    Variation 2: You don’t have to use felt! Any fabric that doesn’t fray will work (although if you like the frayed look, that’s cool too). Just keep in mind that if your material doesn’t have at least some stiffness to it, your flower is going to look a bit droopy and floppy (which, again, is fine if that’s what you’re going for). Here’s a flower I made from a scrap of remnant suede, and using the Variation 1 technique for cutting pointy petals.


    I loooooove it.

    And get this: I made one from duct tape too, but my son ran off with it before I could get a photo.

    The most common use I see for these fabulous felt flowers is as lapel pins on coats, blazers, and cardigans. If that’s what you want to do with yours, finish off the back with a circle of matching felt and then glue on a pin back.

    I’m not much of a pin girl myself (especially not with a grabby infant in tow), but I can think of literally dozens of ways to use these for everything from fashion to home decor to entertaining to gifts, and you can put money on it that I’ll be back with a gallery of ideas to share on the topic. Until then, have fun making your flowers and experimenting with different techniques and materials. As always, I’d love to see photos of what you come up with!


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