Tutorial: Julie’s Number Beanbags

Today we have a tutorial from Julie at forestpoppy for a wonderful set of bean bags. I just love this fun little project, from the fussy cutting to the fact that Julie added lavender to make them smell amazing! Read on for the tutorial to make your own. Thanks Julie!

Bean bag tutorial

I’m so happy to be here on Annie’s blog with a quick and simple tutorial for making Number Beanbags.

These beanbags are very straightforward to make, even though they involve appliqué, because they are made with felt as well as fabric. The beauty of felt is that it doesn’t fray and the wool felt that Annie stocks is gorgeously thick and easy to sew with.

Bean bag tutorial

Materials:

To make 10 beanbags in 5 different fabric/felt combinations I used the following::

a) Wool felt in Baby Blue, Blue Bayou, Hydrangea, Cotton Candy and Fuschia
b) Out to Sea fabric by Sarah Jane in My Favourite Ship -Blossom, Ship Wheels – Raspberry, Mermaid Play – Breeze, Sea Flowers – Blossom and Pirate Stripe – Raspberry
c) Glue stick such as Pritt Stick
d) Coordinating thread
e) Beanbag fillings such as lavender, dried beans, cous cous, rice and lentils

When choosing your fabrics it is worth thinking about the scale of the print. The beanbags are cut at 5 inches square so you need to make sure the largest print fits within that size.

[Annie’s note: you can now find a kit for the Free Range Numbered Bean Bags in the shop!]

Bean bag tutorial

Method:

1. Firstly, pair up your felt and fabrics into the prettiest combinations.

Bean bag tutorial

2. Cut two 5 inch squares from each piece of felt and two 5 inch squares from each piece of fabric (10 felt squares and 10 fabric squares in total).

Bean bag tutorial

3. To make the numbers, choose a font that you like and print off numbers 1 to 10 (I like a ‘fat’ font such as Arial Black for appliqué and, for this project, you’ll need a font size of around 100). Or, like I did this time, trace the numbers from a child’s counting book!

4. Cut out your numbers.
5. Now, each paper number needs to be glued onto the remaining felt with two numbers per felt colour. This can seem a little counter-intuitive but you must put the glue on the top (front or right side) of the paper number so that when it is stuck down onto the felt the number is reversed (see the second photo below).

Bean bag tutorial

Bean bag tutorial

6. Cut around the paper to make the felt numbers. Peel off the paper.

Bean bag tutorial

7. Glue one felt number onto each of the ten felt squares making sure you use a good contrasting colour – glue on the side that is already sticky, now the numbers will be the right way round!

Bean bag tutorial

8. Using a short stitch length carefully sew the numbers to your felt squares – sewing just inside the edge of the number. If you take it slowly it should be pretty easy even if you are new to appliqué, the thick felt really helps here. I used a straight stitch since there is no fraying to worry about but you could choose a decorative stitch instead.

Bean bag tutorial

Bean bag tutorial

9. Admire your numbered felt squares!

Bean bag tutorial

10. Place each of your fabric and felt squares right sides together and sew together using a 1/4 inch seam. Remember to leave a gap for turning (the width of about 2 or 3 fingers works well).

11. Clip the corners, turn right sides out and carefully poke out each corner.

Bean bag tutorial

12. Fill your beanbags – I used variety of fillings to give a range of textures. If you are messy like me it is probably worth doing this bit over a tray! I used a spoon but you could use a small funnel too. Don’t make them too full or they won’t be nice and squishy.

Bean bag tutorial

13. Hand sew the gap in each beanbag using a ladder stitch to give a neat finish. There’s an excellent tutorial from Flossie Teacakes here which explains ladder stitching very clearly. (Or, if you prefer video tutorials, this one is good).

14. Finished – enjoy! These Number Beanbags are for my 18 month old. I think she’ll have a lot of fun over the next year or two playing with them, learning to recognise numbers and counting with them – and, in time, we’ll be able to play simple maths games too. But first she’ll need to start talking!

Bean bag tutorial

Bean bag tutorial

Bean bag tutorial

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