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

felt-vegetable-garden-48

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

felt-vegetable-garden-57

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!

SHOW + TELL: Gift Card Mosaic Letters

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With one week before our March DIY Challenge deadline, we thought we’d throw a little more inspiration your way! This letter project incorporates a bunch of our favorite things – thriftiness, recycling, bright colors, and kiddos! Here’s what Deb shared…

Hi. I’m Deb DiSalvo and I live in Dublin, Ohio. I’m excited to share with you a letter project that I taught with a group of elementary school kids. I was teaching a recycled arts and crafts class after school with kids in the 3rd and 4th grade. Over the years, I had accumulated hundreds of used gift cards. I am an avid Starbucks coffee drinker and loved the designs on their gift cards. I started saving them and had friends and co-workers saving their used gift cards for me as well. I came up with the idea of having each child cut out the letter of their first name. I helped with this part and cut the letters using heavy cardboard for the base of this project. I, along with the kids, cut up the used gift cards in various shapes and sizes and then glued the shapes onto the letter to create a mosaic look. It was such a good way to use the colorful gift cards and the kids had a great time coming up with their own style mosaic letter.
The kids are so excited that I submitted this project. They are so proud of their work and should be!

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I bought the thickest cardboard I could find in the art section of the craft store (Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s sell this), drew the letters and cut them out using an xacto knife.

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We used heavy duty craft scissors to cut the gift cards.

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We used turbo tacky glue to glue the cut up gift cards to the cardboard. Double sided mounting tape works as well.

 

 

Well, we’ve been working on Letter projects all month, and now we’re inspired to do more! How about you?

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors #thanksgiving #kids

Are you ready for Turkey Day? This year for Thanksgiving I wanted to try making up these cute Cornucopia Candy favors to give to everyone at our family thanksgiving. They are fun and easy to put together and the perfect project to do with your kids. They could even take them to school to give out to classmates!

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors #thanksgiving #kids

WHAT YOU NEED:

• Waffle ice cream cones
• Candy (I chose Autumn M&Ms and Pumpkin Candy Corns)
• Rubber bands
• Plastic sandwich bags
• Raffia or ribbon
• Favor tags (optional)
• Scissors

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors #thanksgiving #kids

The first step is to curl the ends of each waffle cone so they look just like mini cornucopia baskets. To do this- soak the end of the waffle cone in warm water for about 30 seconds. Then place it in the microwave for 20 seconds. This will soften the tip of the cone enough for you to carefully bend and curl the end. You can use a clean pencil to wrap the cone around or just use your hands to form a nice curl. Let cones dry completely.

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors #thanksgiving #kids

Next, cut out small squares of plastic. I used plastic sandwich bags and cut them to size with scissors. Then fill your cone with candy, cover with a plastic square and secure with a rubber band.
Finally, tie a piece of raffia or ribbon around the cone (to cover the rubber band).

DIY: Cornucopia Candy Favors #thanksgiving #kids

Scallop favor tags courtesy of Evermine.com.

DIY: Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book!

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #bug

Making your own crayons is a popular craft and a great activity you can do with your kids. I used a mini cupcake mold to make our crayons, but you could also try using a fun shaped silicon mold as well. Get your kids involved and help them make their own party favors for their friends! Plus we’ve got a free printable coloring book (illustrated by me) for everyone to have fun coloring in.

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #favor

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #favor

DIY Crayon Favors

• Old, broken crayons
• Mini cupcake tray (or other oven-proof mold)

First you want to peel the paper off all the crayons. You can soak them in water to make them easier to peel.

Next, break them up into small pieces and place them into the mold. You’ll want to be careful not to fill them too full. You don’t want to overflow the pan.

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #favor

Preheat oven to its lowest setting. I set mine for 170 degrees. Bake the crayons in oven for approx. 30 minutes, or until they are completely melted. Let cool completely (about 1 hour) and pop the crayons out of the mold. I used an x-acto knife to loosen any crayons that did not come out easily.

Package crayons in hand-stamped muslin drawstring gift bags and a cute custom favor tag from Evermine.com

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #favor

Click here to download the free printable coloring book!

To assemble, print pages 2-3 back to back. Fold all pages in half and saddle stitch (staple) together to form a book.

DIY Crayons + Free Printable Coloring Book #craft #kids #printable #favor