DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Stitching up felt veggies has become my newest obsession. They’re easy to make, and so much fun to watch kids play with! Yesterday, I shared PART 1 of this tutorial where we made a garden planter box, tomatoes, strawberries and faux plants for them to ‘grow’ on. Today we’ll be making… you guessed it! More veggies for our play garden!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Materials:

• Felt (pinks, purples, greens, and oranges)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Pipe cleaners
• Velcro
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Helpful Links

PART 1 (Tutorials for the planter box, tomatoes, and strawberries)
Felt Cabbage tutorial by Fairfax
Felt Mushroom tutorial by Fairyfox

A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step One: Beets!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from pink and dark green felt. Thread your needle with pink thread and tie a knot at the end.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Slightly overlap each edge with the one adjacent and whip stitch together (as shown below in photo 1). Repeat on the other three edges until the beet is sewn all the way around (photo 2). Next, use a straight stitch to sew around the outside of the beet (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill and cinch the opening closed and set aside (we will cinch closed completely, tie a knot and tie off later) (photo 4).

Now to sew the beet’s stalk and leaves! Cut a length of pipe cleaner and thread a needle with green thread (photo 6). Place the pipe cleaner on top of the green stem and then place a pink stalk on top of the pipe cleaner. Holding all three pieces together, whip stitch around the entire pink stock with the pipe cleaner enclosed inside. Trim any excess pipe cleaner from the bottom (photo 7). Repeat this process for the second leaf/stalk.

Now all we have to do is connect the stalk/leaves to the beet. Insert the stalks into the center of the beet and cinch closed (around the stalks). Make a few stitches back and forth and around the stalks to secure the beet and the stalks tightly together (photo 8). Tie off and you’re done!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Step Two: Carrots!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided from orange and light green felt. Thread your needle with orange thread and tie a knot at the end (see photo 1 below). Poke your needle into the tip of the orange triangle and pull through (photo 2). Turn the edges together, with them slightly overlapped, whipstitch all the way up to create the shape of a carrot (photo 3). Stuff the carrot with fiberfill (photo 4) and straight stitch around the top. Insert the leaves and cinch the carrot closed. Make a few small stitches around the base of the leaves to secure together and tie off.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

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Step Three: Eggplants!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided, thread your needle with dark color thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap the edges of two purple felt pieces and whip stitch together up one side. Then add the third piece and whipstitch that on so that all three pieces are now connected (photo 2). Next bring the edges together and sew up the last side to create an eggplant shape (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill, stitch closed and tie off (photo 4).

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Finally, add the leaf. Thread your needle with green thread and backstitch down the center of each ‘petal’ of the leaf to secure onto the eggplant (photo 5). Cut a small piece of velcro (the soft ‘loop’ side) and stitch it anywhere near the top of the leaf. Repeat to make as many eggplants as you like! (I made three to grow on one plant).

Step Four: Make the Plant!

Just like with the strawberries and tomatoes, I used faux greenery to make a plant for the eggplants to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your eggplants!
DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 1)

Plant the seeds of joyful gardening and teach your child how to tend to their very own felt vegetable garden! This is a great project that can be turned into the ultimate garden playtime complete with a garden planter box, plants, and ‘pickable’ fruits and veggies. Also, don’t forget the play watering can!

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My twin nieces will be two years old this June and I plan on gifting them their own felt garden to play with. I first had the idea last winter and had originally planned to make this as a Christmas gift but with the craziness of the holiday season, I wasn’t able to start working on it until Christmas day! Since then, my mom and I have spent many evenings stitching up these felt veggies. Not only are they simple to make and impossible to ‘mess up’ (since imperfections in homegrown veggies is part of the magic of gardening), these felt veggies are also addicting! Once you stitch up a strawberry, you’ll be hooked by its utter cuteness and want to make more!

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Materials:

• Felt (reds and greens)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Embroidery floss (green and white)
• Velcro (loop and hook)
• Brown felt (for the ‘dirt’)
• Wooden crate
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Step One: Make the planter box

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You’ll need a wooden crate, brown felt (or cotton fabric), and fiberfill. I used a sewing machine to sew the pretend dirt but you could also hand-stitch them together. To create the rows of ‘dirt’, you’ll basically be making four mini bolsters that fit snuggly into the crate.

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Start by cutting two 4 ½” circles (see pattern) and one rectangle 15 1/8” x 11 ¾” in size. Fold the rectangle in half (hamburger style) and sew along the edge leaving approx. 1/2” seem allowance to create a sleeve. Then pin one felt circle to the sleeve with the wrong sides facing out as shown in the photo 2.

Sew all the way around the edge of the circle. Then repeat on the other end, making sure to leave a 2” opening so you can turn the whole thing right side out (see photo 3). Turn right side out and stuff with fiberfill (photo 4). Then hand-stitch the opening closed. Repeat this process to make three more mini bolsters (or however many will fit in your crate).

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A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step Two: Tomatoes!

felt-vegetable-garden-53

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from red and green felt. Thread your needle with red (or pink) thread, and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap two red pieces and whip stitch them together as shown in photo 2. Then repeat with the other two red pieces. Next, whip stitch the two halves together, leaving a small opening to stuff with fiberfill. Then stitch the opening closed and tie off your thread (photo 3).

tomato-tutorial

Thread a length of green embroidery floss (or green thread works too) and back stitch the leaf to the top of the tomato as shown in photo 4.

Finish up the tomato by adding a stem with a Velcro leaf. Start by threading your needle using green thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 5). Then roll the square end of the stem piece together and stitch closed as shown in photos 6 and 7. Cut a small piece of Velcro (the soft/fuzzy ‘loop’ side) and stitch into the inside of the leaf. You can also trim the length of the stem to your desired length (photo 8).

Lastly, stitch the stem onto the tomato and tie off your thread (photo 9). And that’s it! You’ve made your first tomato! Repeat to make as many as you like (I made three to hang on a single plant).

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Step Three: Strawberries!

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Cut out your pieces using the pattern provided. Then thread your needle with red thread and tie a knot at one end (photo 1). Whip stitch the two red pieces together along the rounded edge only (just like you did with the tomatoes). Then straight stitch around the opening, stuff with fiberfill and pull the threads to cinch the opening closed (photo 2). Tie securely with a knot and tie off.

Next add ‘seeds’ to the strawberry using some white embroidery floss. Start by inserting your threaded needle into the top of the strawberry (the knot will soon be covered up by the top leaf) and make small straight stitches all around the berry (photo 3). When finished, poke the needle back up through the top and tie off. Then, thread your needle with green embroidery floss and sew the leaf onto the top of the berry (making sure to cover the white knots) (photo 4).

strawberry-tutorial

Finally stitch a small piece of Velcro (fuzzy ‘loop’ side) onto the top of the strawberry. And you’re done! Repeat to make as many strawberries as you like! I made 4 berries per plant.

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Step Four: Make the plants!

I used faux greenery to make plants for the tomatoes and strawberries to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your berries and tomatoes!

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Additional Links:

Here are links to two great tutorials by Fairy Fox that I used to make both the felt cabbages and mushrooms.

Cabbage tutorial
Felt Mushroom tutorial

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Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for PART 2 of this tutorial where we’ll be making carrots, beets and even eggplants!

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The April DIY Craft Challenge Is “In The Garden”

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! We just love seeing the awesome things you all make and feel so inspired by the ‘bird’ themed submissions we received. Be sure to check out our roundup post of what everyone made here!

Play In The Dirt

Spring is here, the sun is shining, and we’re taking inspiration from our own backyards this month! The theme for April is “In The Garden” so we invite you all to go outside, find inspiration in your surroundings and make something inspired by the seeds you plant, the flowers you pot, and the creativity you grow.

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April DIY Craft Challenge at Adventures-in-making.com

Inspiration Sources

1. Incremental Mini-Garden by No Linde
2. DIY Stamped Spoon Plant Markers by Intimate Weddings
3. Hopscotch Garden Stepping Stones by Garden Therapy
4. Springtime Tic-Tac-Toe by Chicken Scratch NY
5. Ombre Herb Garden Markers by Humble Beads Jewelry
6. DIY Modern Neon Concrete Block Planter by Modernly Wed
7. Illustration by Sanna Mander
8. Chalkboard Clay Pot Herb Garden by The Robin’s Nest
9. Herb Embroidery by Onoe Megumi
10. Moss Hearts by Alissa Burke
11. Pansy Shortbread Cookies by The Cafe Sucre Farine
12. DIY River Rock Garden Markers by West Valley Moms Blog

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1st and ends on April 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

Have a great weekend! We’ll be back on Monday with our own “Garden” themed projects to share 🙂

MARCH DIY Challenge Roundup

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.. We’re excited to share the submissions for the March #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE. There are some really great projects here, and I love the variety of medium and method.

As always, we want to thank those who contributed for taking the time to share your creations with us and the rest of the team. You’re an inspiration!

If you haven’t contributed yet, think about joining us next month. It’s such a great way to get your creative neurons firing.


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Cintia from Córdoba, Argentina is the founder and designer of Sol de Noche {deco crochet}.

I love crocheting amigurumis and home decor. I’ve always wanted to design a dreamcatcher and your theme has given me the motivation I needed.

Her dreamcatcher features amazing crocheted peacock feathers. You can see more of her creations on her blog, Sol de Noche.


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Maura of the messy brunette shared this awesome jar she decorated with a folk  art painting technique.

I have been practising folk art painting & learning how to do the comma stroke. So in order to paint the little birds on the jar I had to get this right …. Getting there as you can see…


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Claire lives in Bedford, England and loves to craft with materials she has lying around.

The birdcage was made out of 2 old wire coat hangers bent into shape taped together and then covered in strips of scrap fabric. This was a really quick and easy fun craft to make.

 For step by step instructions, check out her blog post on PillarBoxBlue.

 


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I recently returned from a vacation to Northern California where I visited Bodega Bay (made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film, The Birds), and was inspired to make my talisman necklaces with bird images from vintage dictionaries.

Christine Stoll shared a few of her gorgeous found-bauble and resin mounted pieces. You can grab a necklace for yourself at christinestoll.com.


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I was thinking about redecorating our fireplace mantle for spring and decided I needed some sweet little birds sitting on a branch to complete my design. I made my birds out of polymer clay, using stamps and household items to form and decorate them. Once they were complete, I glued them to a real branch to sit on my mantle.

There’s a whole flock of  adorable birdies and step-by-step instructions at Donna Herron’s blog.


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Colleen McGinty used stencils, scrapbook paper and watercolor ground to create these little love birds.

I love to use watercolor ground with a variety of different coloring mediums for a soft look and feel. When dry, I added color with gelato & pastel pencils, gently rubbing for the desired color.


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I used this project to brush up on old origami skills adding the challenge ofworking on a very small scale. I’ve been wanting to try this since my husband gave me a couple pairs for our first anniversary.  

Anna made these tiny, amazing, paper crane earrings for the challenge. You can follow along with her at her blog, 64 Color Box.


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Danita sent in this wool appliqué illustration of two sweet chicks hatching out of tulips. She embellished it with buttons and decorative stitches.

You know Spring is coming when birds hatch and flowers bloom, so why not put them together!


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I was inspired by the extreme cold and blustery snow we were having when I thought about making a baby snow owl.

You can can find a clever DIY to make your  very own floofy owl out of basic materials at Gail’s blog, Purple Hues and Me.


Rachel and I both have a soft spot for birds, so this was a fun month for us. I hope this amazing roundup will inspire the rest of you to play along next month by sending your theme inspired projects to alison@adventures-in-making.com. Remember, we welcome all kinds of creative adventures, and they can even be loosely inspired by the theme. April’s will be….

announced tomorrow! (Did I getcha?)

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushie With spring beginning to bloom, my friends’ chickens are starting to lay more eggs. I love visiting them and watching the chickens peck and strut their way around the yard. Feeling a little ‘chicken’ inspired and wanting to work on a new sewing project, I decided to make up a few Spring Chicken Plushies to give as gifts to my friends who have and love their chickens! (I also secretly hope they will trade me a cute plushie for a fresh egg!)

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This is a fairly straightforward tutorial that can be done using a sewing machine or sewn completely by hand. I love coming up with ways to use up fabric scraps and this project is perfect for that since the all the pieces are quite small.

Materials:

  • Cotton fabric (quilter’s fabric works great)
  • Red and yellow felt (use scraps if you have them on hand)
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Craft scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Fiberfill
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Dried lemon balm (optional)
  • Free pattern (click to download)

Download the free pattern, then print and cut out the pieces using craft scissors. Press your fabric and cut out the pattern pieces using fabric scissors. Remember not to mix up your scissors! You don’t want to dull the blade of your fabric only scissors by using them to cut paper.

Use a cotton fabric of your choice to cut out pattern pieces A + B. Then choose a coordinating cotton fabric to cut out pattern piece C. Use red felt to cut out pattern piece D and yellow felt to cut out E (as shown below).

chicken-plushies-1

Once you have your pieces cut, lay the first pattern piece A (with right side facing up) onto your work surface. Place the felt pieces D + E on top as shown below. Then place pattern piece B (right side facing down) as shown and secure with a pin.

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Sew along the edge to secure the felt pieces and pattern piece B into place.

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Next place the second pattern piece A directly on top (right side facing down). Pin in place and then flip over.
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Flip up the bottom (sewn side) of piece B and pin the un-sewn side into place as shown in the photo below.

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Sew all the way around the outside leaving about a ½” opening near the top or neck of the bird. Make small cuts in the fabric (making sure not to cut through your stitches) as shown below.

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

Then cut a few notches where indicated on the pattern (this will prevent the fabric from puckering once we turn the fabric right side out).

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Now you’re ready to turn the fabric right side out and stuff with fiberfill. Use the end of a pencil to turn out completely and stuff.

OPTIONAL: Add with a few tablespoons of dried lemon balm then stuff the rest of the way with fiberfill for a scented sachet option.

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Use a needle and thread to whip stitch the opening closed. Set the bird body aside.

Now it’s time to sew the wings. Place two pattern piece C’s together (right sides face in). Sew around leaving a small opening. Turn right side out and whip stitch the opening closed. Repeat for the second wing.

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Thread your needle with a matching thread and stitch the wings onto the body of the bird as shown in the photo below.chicken-plushies-11

Cut a length of embroidery floss. Divide the strands into 3 plys and thread onto a needle. Poke your needle behind a wing (to hide your knot) and come up near the top where you want to start your first eye. Use a straight stitch to add a U shape eye on one side of the bird. Then poke your needle through to the other side and stitch the second eye. Hide the end of your thread by poking your needle back through the bird and coming out farther down near a seam. Cut off excess thread with scissors.

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And you’re done! Make a few to decorate your home this spring or gift them to your chicken-loving friends and family this Easter!

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Click Here for a tutorial on how to make the Felt Cacti featured in the photos above!

 

 

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather (For Beginners)

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Can you believe it’s almost spring? Here in Portland, the rain clouds have been taking more frequent breaks to let the sun shine and people are preparing their gardens for the new year. One rainy afternoon I felt the urge to get out my watercolors and play. I had fun experimenting with a favorite subject (one that fits our DIY Craft Challenge theme this month), FEATHERS and decided to share a few of my favorite ways to paint one.

This is a great project for those who are just learning how to use watercolors. Be sure to check out my other posts on Watercolor Basic Supplies & Techniques and 8 Watercolor Techniques For Beginners.

Materials Needed:

• Watercolor paper
• Watercolor paints
• Small + medium size brushes
• Black fine tip pen (I use 0.3 Copic Multi Liner)
• Pencil
• White gouache
• Sea salt
• Feathers (for inspiration)

Prep Your Paper & Sketch

Start by cutting your watercolor paper to three pieces of equal size (I cut mine to be 4″ x 6″). OR you can simply paint all three feathers onto the same page. Then lightly sketch a feather shape with pencil. To do this, first draw an elongated oval shape. Then sketch a straight line down the middle (this will be the stem).
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather

METHOD #1: Color Wash + Black Pen

Start by creating a color wash within the feather shape. To do this, first paint your feather shape with a thin layer of clear water only.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
Then prep a few colors by wetting the pigment with water. While the feather shape is still wet, use your brush to drop color randomly onto the wetted surface (I like to use two or three colors for this). Allow the paint to flow together. You can even lift your paper slightly to help it run together.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Wait a minute or two, and while the paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt over the top. Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt from the paper.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once dry you can decide whether or not you want to do a second color wash layer. I chose to add some more red/orange paint to the bottom of my feather to achieve a darker, more vibrant hue. Don’t forget to paint a stem!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next get out a fine tipped black felt pen. I use a 0.3 Copic Multi Liner. First draw two lines down the center. You want the lines to come to a point near the top of the feather to create the stem. Next you can begin drawing lines from the stem starting and at the top of the feather and working your way down.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Experiment with leaving space between the lines at different intervals. You could also try different mark making techniques like dots, dashed lines, or even illustrated patterns.

TIP: If drawing with pen directly onto your watercolor feather is too nerve-wrecking, you can lightly sketch your lines with pencil first and then go over with pen.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #2: Color Wash + Watercolor Details

Start by sketching your feather shape. I chose to sketch my stem in an arc/curve shape this time. Then create a light color wash by first painting the feather shape with a thin layer of clear water and then dropping paint at random onto the wetted surface.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

TIP: To paint a lighter shade color wash, all you have to do as add more water to your paint to dilute the pigment.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Because I like texture, I chose to sprinkle some sea salt over the color wash (just like in Method #1). Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next create a second layer with feathery details. First choose a darker color (I chose a dark green) to paint the stem.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Using a small brush, begin to paint whispy lines starting at the stem going out to the edge of your color wash. Experiment by using a few different colors of the same hue.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once you complete your second whispy layer, you can continue to add more color or detail (while the paint is still wet) until you achieve a look you like. Once finished, let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #3: Color Wash + Gouache Details

Sketch your feather. This time I chose to create a slightly more detailed sketch. Start with the basic feather shape and then using your actual feather as inspiration, lightly draw ‘more wild’ feather shape.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Fill the feather shape with a color wash the same way we did in the last two methods. Paint the shape with clear water and then use your brush to drop in color at random.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then while the paint is till wet, choose a darker color and add in some stripes. Do this by dropping in the dark color in intervals, leaving gaps in between each ‘stripe’. You can keep adding color until you get a look you like. Then let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then add some white gouache to your palette and using a fine tip brush, paint a line down the center of the feather and add in some white dots. Let dry and you’re done!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Three ways To Paint A Feather

DIY: Paper Maché Birdy Penny Bank

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My friend Tara is a paper maché inspiration. A couple of years ago she made a couple of piggy banks that were so amazing I decided I needed to make a bank of my very own. A birdy bank.

I love that papier maché gives you the opportunity to make basically anything out of recycled materials. This is a great project for kids and adults alike- just be ready to take it in shifts over a couple of days so that the form has time to dry between each coat.
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Basic Supplies and Tools

  • A table cloth or paper cover and an apron. This is a wonderfully messy project!
  • A balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Flour and water (to make paste)
  • A piece of chipboard (like scrap from a cracker box)
  • This template for the feet, beak, wings and tailfeathers (which you will cut from chipboard.)
  • Masking Tape
  • Glue – Hot glue works great, but other thick glues work in a pinch
  • Scissors and craft knife

Finishing Supplies

  • Sand paper or sanding block
  • Acrylic paint
  • ‘ glue or similar
  • Brush

 

Step One: Starting the Paper Maché and Form

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Blow up one balloon about 5.5″ in diameter, and crumple up a piece of paper to make a head about 2.5″ in diameter. Tape the “head” to the balloon*, roughly the opposite side from the tied end.  (If you would prefer the inside of the birdy to be smooth, cover the balloon with a layer of paper maché before attaching the head.)

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To make your simple paper maché paste, mix one part flour with one part water. (You can change this ratio if you prefer a more watery or thicker paste. Practice makes perfect.) Stir the paste with your finger until it is smooth.

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Tear your newspaper into small strips and pieces and begin to coat your body form with a layer of newspaper. Dip each strip into the paste, and pull it through your fingers to remove excess paste and moisture.

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Overlap the pieces of newspaper on your form, and cover all but the tied end. It may be helpful to set the balloon on a cup or bowl to lift it off of your surface.

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When you have completely covered the form with one layer of newspaper, set it aside to dry. If you have a fan or space heater, set this little guy in front of that and it will dry faster. Make sure to let it dry almost completely before moving to the next layer of material, or you will have a soppy mess. At least wait a few hours.

Step Two: Adding more Detail

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Since your bird looks nothing like a bird yet, it’s time to add some appendages. Download and print this template and cut each of the pieces from a piece of chipboard.

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To build the birdy legs, cut into one side of the chipboard as shown, and roll the other end into a cylinder. Secure the roll with a couple of pieces of tape.

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Then tape across the foot to attach it to the leg. The flap left at the end of the leg will be glued to the base of your balloon form.

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Roll the beak to form a cone shape, and tape it in shape. Stuff a little piece of paper into the open end of the cone to make it easier to attach to your birdy head.

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Glue works best to secure the wings, legs, beak, and tail feathers to your form. Hold them in place until the glue is holding firmly. When everything is in place, begin to add another layer of papier maché,  covering all the new parts of your bird in addition to adding another layer to the main form you’ve already covered.

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As you add paper, make sure to leave the end of the balloon visible; this is where you’ll be breaking the balloon and pulling it out. Paper maché is very forgiving and it’s easy to cover up this hole.

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When you’ve covered the form with one or two layers of paper, let it dry again. You may find that you have to stop before you’ve completed covering the whole thing because life gets in the way of your messy fun, or your messy fun become a little too messy. No worries! Just make sure that your paper is as smooth as you can make it, and let the bird rest.

Step Three: Removing the Balloon and Making this Guy a Bank

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Yes. It looks silly. That’s okay, the best things are silly. When your form is completely dry, you’re ready to remove your balloon. Gently grip the balloon’s knot, and pierce the balloon to let the air out. As it shrinks, it should pull away from your paper. If it sticks in a spot, gently pull it out of the hole.

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No bank is complete without a place to put the money. Mark a line down the back of your bird, between the wings, about 1/4″ wide and 1.5″ long. Use a craft knife to carefully trim out the piece you’ve marked.

To finish the bottom of the bank, you have a couple of options. You can either add an access hole for money to be removed or go with the ol’ piñata method– keep the money inside until it’s time to smash! (Which is definitely satisfying.)

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If you’d like to make your bank reusable, find a small lid or something else that would work as a plug. Trace around the shape and cut any extra paper. It you’re having trouble keeping the cover in, trace it onto a scrap of chipboard and make a ring the perfect size, then glue that on top of your form and cover it with paper. The chipboard with provide a little extra stability. (Yes, I know this all looks kinda amusing. Giggles are allowed.)

Step Four: The last of the Papier Maché

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If your form is feeling pretty secure, it’s time to start adding the last layer of papier maché. The paint will not completely cover the paper (unless you want it to) so this is a great time to start having fun with your paper color and prints. Save gold and orange colored paper for the beak, cover the wings and head in dark colors, and use white newsprint for the breast. When you’re happy with the way it looks, let it all dry overnight!

Step Five: Sanding and Painting

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If you’re anything like me, your form will need a little sanding. USe sand paper or a sanding block to smooth off any edges of paper, clumps of paste, or rough edges- making sure not to sand below your papier mache layers.

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To make a transparent paint layer, mix equal parts glue and white acrylic paint with a little water.  (Add more glue for more transparency, or more paint to cover the paper more opaquely.)

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Gently apply a layer of paint and glue to the whole form and let it dry.

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When it dries you will still be able to see a lot of your newspaper pattern. If you like, add another layer of white paint, or start to add more colors to bring out details. To keep some of the transparency, you can water down your colored paints and streak them across your form.

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Let it all dry, and get ready to fill it with money!

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Using this balloon method you can make pretty much any animal you want! I’d love to see!

DIY: MARCH Embroidered Bird Journal Kit

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Whenever we come up with a monthly theme, we always seem to have a couple of images floating around in our minds- a couple of things we’d like to tackle. Ever since last month, I wanted a chance to play around with stitching on paper, and I decided this little bird was just asking for it.

I had so much fun making this journal, I thought I would share the experience with you! This kit includes a bound journal of found papers, a black band, embroidery floss, a needle, and basic instructions. You can pick up a kit for yourself at our Adventures in Making Etsy Shop.

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March Journal Kit Includes:

  • One staple bound journal (~3.5 inches)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Sewing template (if you’re reproducing this design exactly.)

Additional tools needed

  • Scissors
  •  Pencil

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Paper Stitching Tips

  • Pre-pierce with a needle or awl. Paper is less forgiving than fabric; every hole you poke will show through. To minimize the damage to your paper, poke all your holes before you start stitching.
  • Pull your thread in the direction of the paper. When you tighten up your stitches, pull your needle parallel to the paper surface. If you pull away from the paper you’ll strain you paper and make the hole larger.
  • Use half a strand of floss for a flatter piece of art. A full strand of floss was a little too thick for any of the stitches in this journal.
  • Make lots of knots, even though knots are tedious sometimes.

 

Step One: Draw Template Lines

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With the band in place, trace a pencil line gently along each edge. You will not put any stitches directly under the band.

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This kind of paper-stitching is kind of like 3-d doodling, so let your imagination take you away! Trace circular items, use a ruler or free-hand lines you want to use.

(If you want to reproduce my design instead of making your own, you can skip the drawing step and use the template to pierce holes. Instructions in the next step.)

Step Two: Pierce the Paper

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Use your needle to poke small holes along each of your curved lines, about 1/4 – 1/2″ apart. You can use fewer holes for straight lines, just make sure to have a hole at each end. (If you’re using the birdy template to recreate our circular pattern, line it up on the front cover of your journal and press your needle through at each red dot. Put the template to the side, and use the colored lines as a reference to connect the dots!)

Step Three: Adding Stitches

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You can try any embroidery stitch you want to connect your dots. Rachel’s embroidery sampler is a great reference for stitches. The back stitch is especially useful.

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Check out the sampler post for more stitches to try on your journal!

Step Four: Finishing Up

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When you’re all done stitching, and want to hide the back of your work, pull the adhesive strip backing from the front cover…

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Then partially close the book and wrap the cover flap over the cream-colored end page. Run your finger along the flap to adhere it.

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If you have any remaining pencil lines, gently erase them, and you’re all done!

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Each journal was made with vintage papers, so there’s lots to inspire art journaling or collage. You can even embroider inside!

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The March DIY Craft Challenge Theme Is BIRDS!

First I want to say thank you again to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! If you missed our roundup of submissions yesterday, be sure to check it out. We are truly blown away by the creative projects that everyone made and shared with us!

Put A Bird On It

With spring just around the corner we are drawing inspiration from our winged friends, the birds! There are endless ways to create something with this theme whether it be the eggs you dye this Easter, the bird feeder you make for your backyard, or the feathers you collect on your afternoon walk. We hope you’ll find some feathery inspiration this month and use it as an opportunity to revisit a project you had forgotten about, experiment with a new technique or skill, or simply treat yourself to an afternoon of making something you enjoy.

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think. – Rumi

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March DIY Craft Challenge by Adventures In Making

Inspiration Sources:

1. Curly Paper Bird by Paper Craft Square
2. Wise Owl Pincushions by Quilt Magazine
3. Washi Tape Bird On A Branch by SuWolf
4. Birdseed Heart by Intimate Weddings
5. Paper Mache Birds by Ann Wood
6. Watercolor Feather by Lucy Akins
7. Peep Hot Chocolate by Needles And A Pen
8. Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Nests by Lovely Little Kitchen
9. Bird Sketches by Drawing The Motmot
10. Lego Bird Feeder by Gary Mueller
11. Painted Feathers by Free People Blog
12. Bird Garland by Art Bar Blog
13. Bird Costume by Probably Actually
14. Ombre Dyed Easter Eggs by The Crafted Life

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, March 1st and ends on March 29th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on March 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?
Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

February DIY Challenge Roundup!

We want to thank everyone who participated in the February DIY Craft Challenge. We were so inspired by your creations it’s had to move on to the next theme, but with this amazing collection of projects we’re excited to see what you’ll do next.

A few of you had questions about what kinds of projects we accept as submissions for the challenge, and we wanted to tell you that you to let your imaginations run free! Use the theme for inspiration to try something you’ve always wanted to, revisit an old favorite, or go crazy. We like it all.

Without further ado, here’s what some of you have been up to!


 

20160131_163450-01-01~2 I make States and Countries pillows for my shop, Mod’s Best Friend. The challenge inspired me to try something new for Valentine’s, incorporating California into the word LOVE for a really fun applique.

You can find some of Jennifer’s creations at www.modsbestfriend.com, and on instagram (@modsbestfriend).

I recently decided to try my hand at embroidery and hope to share this little adventure with you. Your theme is perfect for me as its given me the push to get started.  I had a kit sitting there for ages, looking all sad and lonely. 

Maura is an Irish blogger with and interest in crafty things, especially crochet and upcycling furniture. Follow along at themessybrunette.com and on instagram (@TheMessyBrunette) and Pinterest (@messybrunette)

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Although I don’t sew much, I thought that an Altoids tin would make the perfect base for a charming little pincushion.  Two things I like about this pincushion, (1) the tin offers some handy little storage under the cushion for needles, buttons, and notions, and (2) I used a little bit of netting from a vegetable bag to create the floral embroidery that decorates my pincushion.

Check out the tutorial for Donna Herron’s kit here, and her other great projects at hubpages.com/@purl3agony

In August 2015 my sister-in-law was diagnosed with myelofibrosis which quickly turned into leukemia. To keep her warm, I made the beanie in the attached photo.

Rebekah Burr-Siegal stitched this E. E. Cummings poem with a back stitch and chain stitch, and it’s absolutely amazing.

Stitches and threads are my main medium (along with felt) so I knew I had to enter the challenge. All my dimensional felt flowers are hand-stitched. I also love to add stitched details to the the flat flowers as well. 

Cathy is a freelance social media manager/writer/photographer in the Pacific Northwest and makes all sorts of awesome felt creations for her shop Catshy Crafts. Follow her on Instagram (@catshycrafts) and her site catshycrafts.com

Stitches and Threads inspired me to try different stitches and colors to create a sweet heart. I enjoy stitching, knitting, crocheting, quilting, mixed-media journaling, painting, poetry, gelli printing, collage, ….

Uli Day shared this lovely Valentine’s heart with us. You can see her other fun adventures at her site, uliday.blogspot.com.

So glad the challenge is back! I went with a super simple crocheted chain stitch scarf/necklace thing that I really love.

Sarah White shared instructions for this fiber project at her site, ourdailycraft.com.

I’m Dani from California. Each year my New Year Goal is to learn something new every year. This year I chose needlework, and I love it! I’m learning different stitches and mixed media is addicting. 

Dani from California made this sweet little stitched piece from a printable and some needle felting, fabric and buttons for a friend undergoing cancer treatment.

I have been wanting to try paper embroidery for some time now and this challenge provided the push I needed to just go for it. I can’t wait to try another project.

Anna lives in Florida, and is a “teacher by day and sewist, baker, and crafter by all other hours.” She has an amazing step-by-step description of her project at her site, check it out!

Those last two projects are the perfect teaser to March’s theme. Can you guess what it is?