Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birds and Bees!

It's time for the i {heart} papers design team challenge, and this month we're playing with one of our favorite new finds from CHA, 100% wool felt!  What a fun medium!  It comes in a rainbow of colors, and small swatches of it can be dyed with Copic blender solution and re-inker for a custom color or to add some shading to your design.

Looking for ideas, I did a couple of searches for felt projects on Pinterest and Flickr and turned up the amazing work of Canadian artist Odile Gova and her Etsy shop, Wooly-Fabulous.  There are pages and pages and pages of her beautiful felt and zipper creations on Flickr.  I decided to try to CASE a couple of small "simple" pieces, and after my humble bumble attempt I am in even more awe of her work!  Mine are so primitive in comparison to hers that I'm sorta embarrassed to share them.  I can't wait until her tutorial is finished and I can try again with step-by-step instructions from the master!  :)

I learned a lot in my experimenting but I found that the heavy-duty zippers I used were cumbersome and not very flexible...they probably would work great for larger flowers, etc., but I will definitely look for some zippers that are softer and more supple for my next felt project!

First, I drew a simple paper template then used those patterns to cut the shapes in wool felt of various colors.  Each shape was outlined with zipper edging using hot glue to adhere.  Thank goodness the glue gun was set on low-temp, because I got hot glue all over my fingers!  That part was not so fun, but I think this project would have been very difficult to do with a slower-drying glue.

Once the individual sections were outlined and attached to each other and a few single zipper teeth were added for feet, I adhered a backing of black felt cut to cover all of the zipper tape edges.  I used some black floss to attach a small black bead for the bee's eye, and finished it with a pin backing so that it can be worn on a lapel.

My little bee could have been presented as a gift attached to a card front, but I wanted to make it look as though it were at home inside a little compartment of honeycomb, so I paper-crafted a little hexagon box to hold it.  The sides of the box are held upright by a ruffly little "belly band" constructed of paper and ribbon...this design was inspired by a beautiful exploding carousel box (with a tutorial! yay!) that I found while blog browsing.  I like this light, open version much better than the closed-sided one I had previously made!  Thank you for the inspiration, Sarah Youde!

I also tried my hand at one of Odile's pretty cardinals!  I think I got the basic shape right, but I haven't added any of the intricate details other than a black bead for its eye.  I will need a thimble to get a needle through these heavy-duty zippers and all that glue!  I also need to go back and get rid of the stray bits of hot glue on both of these projects...I made such a mess!  Sure was fun though!

glue gun, glue sticks
100% wool felt 
Copic marker refill (YR31), blender solution
Tim Holtz tea dye distress ink
Scor buddy
ruffle edge elastic trim
May Arts narrow black velvet ribbon
black thread
black seed beads

Please visit my design team mates' blogs to see what they've done with this wonderful wool...if you are inspired to join us for this challenge, make a project using felt and upload it to your online gallery using keyword ihp0412.


  1. So. Freakin'. Ca-YOOT!! Everything turned out amazingly fantastic, my friend!! You ROCK!! :)

  2. What a fabulous project, Deb. That Bee is amazing....great job with your wool felt...so creative.

  3. Holy Macaroni Deb!! These are so creative and fabulous!! I want that little cardinal- I'll have to try my hand at one. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!

  4. Yikes! You blow me away! Zippers -- who'd of thunk?!!

  5. Oh my I have never seen these before they are just darling, I would say you did a fabulous job on them, like the little box you made for the bee too, very cute!

  6. Wow, how cool is this?!?! Love the idea of the zipper around the edge. It's such a great contrast to the felt.

  7. Shut up!! You made this?!! How freakin' cute and clever is that?!! I think I have that same picture pinned on Pinterest - you've taken inspiration from it brilliantly, Deb!! I adore every detail!!

  8. These are amazing, Deb! What a fun idea for using felt!