I’ve started working on the rest of my ornaments for the “Animals and Alphabet” tree, and these will probably take the longest to make.  Additional supply costs for these I’m counting is $7, the cost of the embroidery thread.  Technically, I purchased it for another project (see Whimsykins!), but I can’t really call it scrap.  It was a large bag of embroidery thread.  The poly-fill, however, is scrap leftovers.  That brings my total to $14.  Yikes.  Better make some magic soon!

Today I started on my felt animals.  These are very primitive looking – they remind me of some really old ornaments my mother used to have – so they aren’t very complicated to make.  However, they would make an excellent kids craft project for a child interested in learning how to sew.  Part of their charm is that they aren’t perfect.

Materials needed:

  • Animal outlines / stencils / etc.
  • Felt squares
  • Marker
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle
  • Poly-fill
  • Any extra decorations to spruce them up

I started by scouring the net for stencil patterns, since those would be basic outlines.  I found some great ones over at spraypaintstencils.com, like this cute kitty we’re going to be using.

Step 1: Cut out your animal outline.  Since these are online, you can easily print them out on copy paper and cut them out.

I chose orange felt for our little kitty cat.

Step 2: Trace your animal outline onto the felt using a marker.  If your felt is thin craft felt like mine, you can fold it over so you’re only doing this once.

I already trimmed the felt down to size.

Step 3: Remove your paper cutout.

Yay for red marker.

Step 4: Cut out your felt in your animal shape.  Be extra careful if you’re cutting through two layers.

Ta da! An orange cat!

Step 5: If you’re using some kind of permanent marker and you have remnants of it showing on your felt, turn it towards the inside.  Otherwise, take your embroidery thread and needle and begin stitching around the shape, leaving about an 1/8th of an inch to the edge.  Don’t worry about making your stitches perfectly even – this is most of the fun!

I like orange and blue. I'm weird.

Step 6: Stitch around the edge, but make sure you leave a section open so you can stuff the ornament.  I try and leave the most solid sections open so it’s easier to distribute the poly-fill as evenly as possible.

Now we're gonna stuff the cat.

Step 7: Using small bits of poly-fill, gently stuff the ornament.  A handy tip I picked up from another website is using a chopstick to get the stuffing down into those tiny places, like this guy’s tail.  You don’t want it too puffy; just give it a nice fluffy shape.

It looks like he's exploding, but he's really not.

Step 8: Once you’ve stuffed the ornament to your liking, continue sewing up the hole with your thread.  Tie off the stitch and clip the ends when your finished.

Make sure he never explodes again.

Step 9: Tie off the stitch and clip the ends when your finished.

All better!

Step 10: Sew one extra loop stitch in the top of the ornament (don’t pull the thread taut) and knot both ends.  Clip the extra thread.  And you’re done!  Here’s the bear I made earlier too.

I promise, the bear will not eat the cat.

From here, you could decorate it them anyway you want.  Maybe painting on some faces or accessorizing with ribbons or bows – it’s entirely up to you.  I’m leaving mine plain for now unless inspiration strikes me because these are pretty harmless for a 16-month-old to chew on, which is exactly what’s going to happen.  More ornaments to come!