Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hexagon Pom-Pom Coasters

Hexagon Felt Pom Coasters // Benzie Design


Hexagon Trivets // Felt Balls // Benzie Design
You guys, you've seen felt balls before right?! These amazing little round balls of crafty, felted sweetness? Over at Benzie we prefer to call them pom-poms because they are more then just a ball -it's a felt ball of cheer (or a pom-pom)!! We picked up Benzie's smallest size (1cm) and Lifestyle Crafts thin cork and got to work making ourselves a set of cozy coasters.

Felt Ball Coaster DIY

Here are supplies you will need:
-Benzie's Pom-Poms in 1cm size. We used 61 poms per coaster but suggest getting a few more as some poms run large or smaller then 1cm.
-4x12 Cork Adhesive Sheets from Lifestyle Crafts
-Hexagon Nesting Dies from Lifestyle Crafts
-Glue, our all time favorite is a basic, easy hot glue gun but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Hexagon Die Cuts // Lifestyle Crafts // Benzie Design

To make the cork base for the coasters you can cut out a basic hexagon shape with a scissors -but I like using dies cuts makes the process easier and more precise. The nesting dies from Lifestyle Crafts always offer a variety of sizes -but we chose the one with the 1 7/8th sides as a perfect mug size and fit for 1cm poms. But try the largest die and make a trivet too! We used the Evolution Die Cut Machine with our die and cork lined up on the Genius Platform. Cut out two hexagons.

Felt Pom Pom Coasters // Benzie Design

The cork is backed with adhesive -so you have 2 really large stickers. To provide your coaster with a base -you'll want to attach them together -one right on top of the other. Then peel the second hexagon sticker off the top -this sticky side is what you can start placing your poms on. I found that the adhesive really aided me when placing the poms -this will help if you decide to make a pattern or try a different size pom (they won't roll all over!). I started in the middle of the hexagon by placing 9 poms down the center with hot glue. It comes together quickly when making one long strip of glue down the middle and lining up poms one after another.

Felt Ball Coasters Tutorial // Benzie Design

Try different color combos or try making a large one for a trivet! Make this project and tag #benziefelt -I want to see what you're making!

Hexagon Felt Coasters // Benzie Design




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mermaid Tail DIY

I just got my daughter a shirt that read "I'm a mermaid at heart" -and it true -all she ever has wanted to be is a mermaid. And she insists she will grow up to be one. I'm not sure we can promise that -but I can indulge her imagination and creative spirit and create a mermaid's greatest accessory -her tail!

Mermaid Tail Costume
Mermaid Tail Costume
The tail is composed of circles -or scales attached to the base. It comes together very quickly once all the circles are cut! Our tail and measurements are based on a tall 7 year old -you can adjust the measurements to the height of your little mermaid. 

Mermaid Felt // Benzie
Materials used:
-1 1/2 yards of a basic cotton fabric (we wanted to keep the tail light weight) but if you want to go no-sew we suggest using 1 1/2 yards of felt.
-10 12x18" sheets of Benzie Felt. We used our Mermaid Lagoon collection. 
-Sewing machine 
-Approximately 275 2" circles (we used the Nesting Circle die from We R Memory Keepers)
-2 yards of twill tape or ribbon 
-fabric glue
Mermaid Tail Pattern // Benzie
First you will need to make the base of the tail. Take your fabric and lightly freehand a pattern similar to the one you see above. The waist is about 27" wide and the length is 40" long. You will notice that the tail is asymmetrical -I wanted it to wrap around the waist and tie at the side to give the illusion of a more full bodied tail. If you are using felt -you are done -just cut out the shape! For cotton -we cut out two pieces, sewed both sides together and flipped inside out to hide the raw edges. Iron flat.

After you have the base of the tail you will need to sew ribbons on for ties. You can do this with a sewing machine or by hand. We suggest sewing as opposed to glue to make it a strong hold.

Mermaid Scales // Felt // Benzie





Now for all those circles! We have several different options to cut out these circles -from using a scissors, purchasing precut circles from Benzie or using a die cut method. We are going to focus on the Nesting Circles die from We R Memory Keepers -there are several different sized circles in this kit -but we used the 2" size. Here is an explanation of how we use the Evolution manual die cutter. To cut out the circles a bit quicker, we used two 2" dies at the same time. I love how the die cut makes them a perfect circle each and every time. And it's a great way to get your child involved in making their very own costume!

After you have cut out your circles attach them to your tail base. You can sew these on -but I love having easy projects that I can do around the rest of the family -so we used fabric glue. Start on the bottom of the tail and attach circles by placing a bit of glue (it doesn't take much) along the top 1/4" of the circle. Go row by row, attaching circles about half way up from the previous row. As you can see with the above photo we spaced somewhat randomly as we accommodated the widening tail.

Mermaid Costume // Benzie
Mermaid Tail DIY // Benzie


Tie the ribbon to the mermaids side -a costume perfect for the little fish in your life!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mini-Garland Topper DIY

Mini felt banner // Benzie

Everything in miniature is just cuter right? Little garlands are no exception -and these are super easy using We R Memory Keepers nesting pennant die -there are two slits right in the die that makes it simple to string ribbon right through!

Succulent favor diy // Benzie

The toppers can be used on cakes, cupcakes -or succulents! We planted succulents in little canning jars - and gave them away as gifts -to teachers, hosts or favors. You will also need the We R Memory Keepers Nesting Pennants die, ribbon (we love this 5/16" twill), skewers (cut to size) and felt of course! The Benzie colors we used are Lilac, Foxglove, Guava, Swan, Pistachio and Sky.

Mini Felt Garland DIY // Benzie

The pennant dies come in several different sizes -we ran the smallest one through our die cut machine until we had all the triangles we needed. Then string the triangles together -when making a long garland I found that I liked using a needle because it went a little faster. We tied the ribbon to the skewers and inserted into our glass jars.

Succulent favor diy // Benzie

And here's a happy little trick for you -see the lid around the jar? It's magnetic -we added a button magnet and used it to hold notes to our recipients. It made the gift really personal and the magnet is something that can be used long after the plant is gone. Happy crafting!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Felt Elephant Mobile // Pattern and Instructions

Elephant Mobile DIY

I love having simple stitching projects around -it's easy to pick up while a child is practicing her reading or while my husband and I have a movie night. These elephants are perfect -you can make just one -or a trio for a garland!

Wool Felt Animal Tutorial

--We used Benzie wool blend felt in Pumpkin, Cantaloupe, Rainstorm, Swan, Zucchini and Fern.
--Benzie's DMC floss in Zucchini, Rainstorm and Pumpkin.
--6mm safety eyes
--needles -we used a embroidery needle to sew the elephants and a long doll needle to make the garland.
--stuffing
--pattern

Felt Elephant Pattern // Benzie


1. Use the pattern to cut and trace your elephant and the ears. We love using freezer paper to trace the pattern. You'll notice that we use three different size circles. The two large ones are for the ears and the small circles accent the garland.

Felt Elephant Pattern // Benzie


2. First sew on the ears (large circle first then the small lighter toned circle) using the applique stitch. Then attach the safety eyes. I love how these little back dots make little animals and dolls come alive! Finally, I used a blanket stitch to connect the sides of the elephant -don't forget to stuff!

Elephant Garland DIY // Benzie

3. We made a wall hanging with these guys -first we lined them up in the color order we liked best.

Elephant Mobile Pattern // Benzie


4. Assemble! We threaded our doll needle with Rainstorm thread and brought the needle through the center of the elephants and dots. We also made a mobile using these 3 elephants, accent circles and an embroidery hoop. But a single little guy would look just as adorable! Happy crafting!

Felt Elephant Ornament Craft // Benzie

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Felt Flower Bouquet DIY

Benzie's very first blog post included some finds of alternate wedding bouquets -some used ribbon and some felt but we inspired you to think differently about the fresh bouquet that traditionally adorns brides. Jen at Something Turquoise did just that -she rocked the felt foliage and pumped out 8 diy's that cumulated in one beautiful bouquet in all its wool felt glory. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

Felt Flower Bouquet DIY

In order to make a single bouquet in the colors pictured -all you need is a 9x12" bundle of 15 sheets in these Benzie wool blend felt colors: Pink (2), Cotton Candy (2), Fern (2), Sage (2), Butter, Parchment or Linen (Jen used Parchment but our new color Linen might be a more creamy fit!), Rainstorm, Oats, Graphite, Rose and Mulberry. If two sheets of the same color are selected (like the Pink) -you will receive it in the larger 12x18" sheet.

Felt Flower Instructions

To get all the crafty details and to view the eight flowers and foliage diy's check out Something Turquoise. And let me know if you make the bouquet or just your favorites -tag with #benziefelt -I would love to see what you create!

Monday, July 21, 2014

DIY Felt Bows in Minutes

DIY felt hair bow in minutes // Benzie
I recently taught my 7 year old daughter how to die cut felt -and one of our favorites are felt hair bows -just because they are so quick!! We worked as a team -she ran the felt through the die-cutter while I glued and we had a whole set in no time at all!

Supplies:
--Bow die cut, there a a couple of really cute bow dies in this set (it's a must have!)
--Evolution die cut machine (instructions here)
--Benzie Felt, we used Rose, Ochre and Blue Spruce -and check out the image above to see how we laid out the die -we are able to make 3 bows out of just one 6x9" sheet of felt (that's 3 bows for less than $1!)
--Hair Clips
--Glue

How to make a felt die cut bow // Benzie
After you run your felt through your die cut machine -just fold and glue as shown above. Feel free to use whatever hair clip works for your hair. I made some for me using french clips just last week -I loved how I could make a hair accessory in just minutes!

Hair clip packaging // Benzie
And then we went extra fancy and packaged up the bows -we were giving these in addition to a birthday gift -but wouldn't these make great favors? We used We R Memory Keepers "Captured" set. Can I tell you how much I love all the Albums Made Easy card collections? I always have some laying around -they are great for writing notes, keeping lists or crafting with -and so pretty too! 

Hair bow packaging // Benzie
I grabbed one of the large cards and used my x-acto to cut vertical slits to match up where I wanted to clip the bows. Then I attached a coordinating card and taped it to the back using Sticky Thumb and finished the design with some ribbon and an eyelet. After that was all set up I slipped the hair clips in the precut slot. Perfect little gift right? And easy -the best combo! 

We R Memory Keepers felt hair bow by Benzie

Monday, June 30, 2014

Can I wash wool blend felt?

Felt Star Shirt DIY // Benzie


This is a craft question that I get asked quite often -can I wash wool blend felt? And as you can see from the felt star appliqué -yes you can! But before we get to care instructions let's talk first about fiber content.

Our felt contains both wool, ranging from 20-35%, and rayon. Rayon, or known as viscose, is made from wood pulp -a renewable source too! Most of us know what happened to our adult sized wool sweater when we tried to wash it -it shrunk down to a child's size! Wool should be treated with much care or it will shrink. We suggest dry cleaning or spot cleaning to keep our wool blend felt in its original condition. It's easy and already looks great!

But there are times that a toy or a t-shirt just needs be washer friendly. Before cutting into your design or appliqué -the felt must first be washed. Prewash in a sink of hot running water -immersing the felt completely. We use soap and gently squeeze the felt into a ball, rinsing and repeating until the water runs clear. This process does two things to the felt. First the hot water gets any excess dye out. Not all colors bleed -but this bright Carmine did! Second, the combination of hot water, soap and gentle squeezing is further felting the fabric -binding the fibers even closer together and causing the felt to shrink. Lay flat to dry -or use a blow dryer to speed things up. A washing machine on the delicate cycle is a great alternative to prep large batches.

Can I wash wool felt? // Benzie

In the image above you can see the difference between our original felt and felt that has been pre-washed. The washed felt is bubbly or wrinkled -and is thicker then its un-washed partner (this can be flattened by ironing though). Also it has shrunk. The 6x6" square shrunk to about 5 3/4x 5 1/2". Now you're ready to craft!

DIY Felt Applique // Benzie

Grab a t-shirt and your favorite color of Benzie's felt. To make cutting ultra easy we used the Nesting Star die from Lifestyle crafts -but old fashioned pattern and scissors will work just as well. We also found that we really liked Wonder Under's fusible adhesive. It's didn't make the felt appliqué stiff and it made a permanent bond to the fabric.

Felt Applique T-Shirt  // Benzie

But before you do any of these steps -your felt and your shirt must be prewashed! Follow the washing instructions for felt above.

1) After the felt has dried -iron your fusible adhesive to your felt.
2). Use your favorite die to cut a shape our of the felt -adhesive side up. We love the Evolution and explain how to use it here.
3. Peel off the top layer of your fusible adhesive -you can see the transparent paper star in the above photo (throw that away), carefully place your star where you want it and iron down. Iron from both the front and back of the shirt to ensure a permanent bond.

Can I wash felt? // Benzie

It's not necessary -but I think the added machine stitch adds detail and helps the star to stand out among the stripes. To care for your felt appliqué shirt and prevent further felting we suggest washing inside out, cold and delicate with a gentle dry.

4th of July applique shirt // Benzie

I want to see what you are making too -hashtag #benziefelt and have a Happy Independence Day!


 
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