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One paper pad, eight easy papercraft projects to try!

We have these totally lovely paper pads available in so many themes and motifs, but what should we make with them? The possibilities are endless but the super talented Laura Howard is here today to show us eight fun and easy papercraft projects you can make at home with just one pad! Take it away Laura!

Craft paper pads

Today I’m sharing some fun and easy ideas for crafting with paper and card.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

This post was inspired by a range of gorgeous paper pads available from the Village Haberdashery’s shop. Each pad includes 30 sheets of co-ordinating paper and card (15 sheets of each), which all have a grid of squares on the back so you can easily cut straight edges.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

I chose to work with the marbled paper pad – aren’t these patterns lovely?

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

As you can see, as well as the detailed marbled designs there are also some plain sheets in soft, ombré colours. You could use the papers for all kinds of fabulous crafty projects, but I’ve put together a few simple ideas to get you started!

1. Greetings Cards

I love sending handmade cards to my friends. Everyone loves a bit of proper post, and there’s nothing quite like a handmade card. Use simple shapes and geometric designs, layering patterns to create some stylish cards. Click here for some Greetings Cards Templates to recreate my designs, or draw your own.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Cut and fold a sheet of card to size (remember if you’re using the card from the pad there will be a grid of squares on the inside) or decorate some ready-made blank cards.

Use the card as a template to cut out a section from one of the ombré pieces. The subtle colour variations make a great backdrop for adding some bold shapes. Stick the paper to the front of the card with a glue stick, lining up the edges neatly.

Then cut out your chosen shapes and stick them in position. You can use layers of the plain paper to create frames for the shapes (like the heart) or just layer the patterned papers on top of each other.

If you want, you can use a fine pen to draw around the shapes to make them really stand out – but make sure you have a steady hand! (Can you spot where mine slipped?)

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

2. Envelopes & Notecards

As an alternative to making handmade cards why not make some handmade envelopes? These are lovely to send but they also make a great gift: make a set of five or six envelopes with co-ordinating notecards, add some plain address labels and tie them up in a bundle with a bit of baker’s twine ready for gifting.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Find an envelope you like the shape of or search online for some printable envelope templates. If you’re going to be making lots of envelopes, I’d recommend gluing the shape to a piece of card (part of a cereal box would be perfect) to make a sturdy template.

Trace the envelope shape onto the back of one of the patterned paper pieces. Cut it out and use a ruler and one blade of a pair of scissors to carefully score along the fold lines. Fold the paper into an envelope shape and use a glue stick to secure the edges. You can use more glue to close the envelopes later when they’re ready to send, or add a couple of strips of narrow double-sided sticky tape to the edges of the flaps.

To make the co-ordinating notecards, just cut rectangular pieces of card slightly smaller than the envelopes so they’ll tuck neatly inside.
Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

3. Gift Wrapping

Pretty craft papers also make lovely wrapping paper! Use them to wrap small, special gifts or cut shapes from leftover scraps to create patterns on plain parcels.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

I used the lid of a glue stick as a template to cut lots of identically sized paper circles, which I glued in a row across the parcel. You could cut different sized circles, glue them in rows or dot them at random, or explore different shapes like stripes and triangles. Get creative and turn a plain package into something fabulous!

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

4. Gift Tags

Another great way to make use of scraps of pretty paper and card is by making gift tags. Cut out lots of different shapes, layer colours and patterns, and see what you come up with!

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Cut out a rectangle from one of the card sheets, punching a hole near the top and adding some string, twine or yarn to create the tag (or just decorate some plain ready-made tags!).

I added bands of plain and patterned paper, cutting them slightly wider than the tag and trimming them neatly to size once I’d glued them in position. I then added some card and paper circles in contrasting patterns to complete the designs, punched the holes and added some string.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

5. Paper Chains

When was the last time you made paper chains? They are such fun to put together and make wonderfully colourful party décor.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Cut several sheets of the decorative paper into strips about 3cm wide (each sheet of paper makes 10 strips). Bend one strip so the two ends meet, securing them with a piece of clear sticky tape. Add a second strip interlinking with the first, and continue to build the chain mixing patterns as you go.

You can use one strip of paper per chain link, or make a chain like the one pictured with two strips placed together so the inside and outside of each loop is patterned.   

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

6. Bunting & Garlands

Bunting is a summer party classic! It’s so easy to whip up a length of bunting or a modern garland to decorate your space… then when the party is over it can be disassembled and the pieces returned to your crafty stash.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Use the Bunting & Garland Templates to cut out lots of bunting flags or circles from paper or card. Use a large, sharp sewing needle to poke two holes in each piece (at the top two points of the triangles or at opposite sides of the circles).

Use the needle to thread the flags or circles onto a long piece of sewing thread, yarn or thin twine. Double up the circles (as they tend to spin when hung up) and double the bunting flags if the back of the bunting will be visible when you hang it.


Eight easy papercraft projects to try

7. Party Food Toppers

Let your guests know what’s in your party treats with these colourful toppers. This is such a simple idea but a practical and pretty one.
Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Using the Food Topper Templates, cut circles from one of the less busily patterned card sheets to create labels for sandwiches, cupcakes and other party foods.

Add the important info in pen, and attach a cocktail stick to the back of each circle with a piece of sticky tape. You could also cut extra paper circles to scatter on the table-top for extra Instagram-ability!

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

8. Gift Boxes

If you’re giving a small gift, make it extra special by making a gift box. These boxes would also be perfect for wedding or party favours. Scrunch up some pretty tissue paper inside the box then add your gift.

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Use the diagrams provided as a guide to drawing the box templates (one for the box itself, and one for the lid). If you’re just making one box, you can draw the template directly onto the back of the decorative card. If you’re planning on making lots of boxes you’ll save time by making some re-usable templates you can quickly draw around.

Draw and cut out one box and one box lid. I’ve designed the templates so both shapes will fit onto one sheet of card, but you can mix and match the patterns as you like.

Use a ruler and one blade of a pair of scissors to carefully score along the fold lines. Crease all the folds then use a glue stick to add glue to the four flaps (on the patterned/colourful side of the card) and carefully assemble the box and its lid.  

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

Thanks so much for these great ideas Laura! 

Eight easy papercraft projects to try

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A Year of Wreaths: June Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

It’s time for the June wreath in our Year of Wreaths series with Laura Howard! Read on for her beautiful butterflies tutorial and pick up a kit here. Take it away, Laura!

Felt Butterflies Wreath

This month’s wreath is an ode to two of summer’s great joys – clear blue skies, and beautiful butterflies!

The wreath is wrapped in some gorgeous sky blue yarn and decorated with butterflies made from wool blend felt. For an extra special wreath, you could use embroidery thread to decorate the butterflies’ wings or add sequins for a bit of sparkle. You can also use the butterfly template sheet for other crafty projects: cushions, greetings cards, hair clips, etc.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

All the supplies you’ll need to make the wreath are available from the Village Haberdashery shop – follow the links below for individual items or click here for the June wreath kit.

You will need:
*The template sheet provided (Click here to download the PDF templates)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Wool blend felt in Hallows Eve, Fuchsia, Wisteria, Cotton Candy and Banana Cream.
*Matching sewing threads: orange, bright pink, purple, pink, and yellow.
*One skein of Manos del Uruguay Maxima – Status.
*Sewing scissors (embroidery scissors are great for cutting out small shapes!)
*Sewing needles and pins
*Glue gun and glue
*A heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*Optional: co-ordinating ribbon

1. Decorate the wreath base with the Manos del Uruguay Maxima – Status. Secure the yarn with a knot at what will become the back of your wreath. Begin wrapping the yarn around the wreath base, passing the ball of yarn through the hole in the centre of the wreath as you wrap the yarn around the outside. Hide the loose yarn end under the yarn as you wrap, and make sure that you’re not leaving any gaps where the white wreath base shows through. Continue wrapping, gradually covering the whole of the wreath base. Wrapping the wreath takes a while, so I highly recommend wrapping your wreath while watching a film or some episodes of your favourite TV show.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

Once the whole wreath base has been covered with yarn, tie a knot securely at the back and carefully trim the loose end so it won’t be visible when the wreath is hung up.

2. Use the templates provided to cut out the butterfly pieces. Each butterfly is made up of a top wing piece (marked A), a bottom wing piece (marked B) and a body piece (marked C). For each butterfly, cut two of each wing piece (flipping the templates over when cutting the second pieces) and two body pieces.

Butterfly 1 = yellow and bright pink. Butterfly 2 = pink. Butterfly 3 = purple and yellow. Butterfly 4 = bright pink. Butterfly 5 = orange. Butterfly 6 = purple, orange and pink.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

3. Sew the butterfly pieces together, using sewing thread to match the felt. Use whip stitch to join the two body pieces – hide the knot between the two layers and finish your stitching neatly at the back.

Then arrange the wing pieces so they overlap slightly, with the top (A) pieces overlapping the bottom (B) pieces. Join the pieces together with a line of small stitches where they overlap. On the smallest butterflies you’ll just need a couple of stitches to join the pieces together.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

4. Arrange the butterfly pieces on the wreath, using the photos as a guide. Leave a small gap between the wings for the body pieces. When you’re happy with the arrangement, use pins to hold the wing pieces in position and set the body pieces aside.

Tip: you may find it helpful to line up the body pieces in the order they’ll be needed on the wreath so you can make sure to match the correct body to each butterfly.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

5. Glue the wing pieces to the wreath. One by one, remove a wing and turn it over. Add a dab of glue in the middle of the wing then carefully place the shape back in position and press it onto the wreath.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper or other scrap paper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.

Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

6. Add the remaining butterfly pieces. One by one pick up a body piece, add a small dab of glue in the correct spot, and then very carefully press the felt piece in place on top.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

7. Your wreath is now finished! Add a length of yarn or co-ordinating ribbon for hanging the wreath, or hang it directly from a hook or nail.

A Year of Wreaths: June – Felt Butterflies Wreath by Laura Howard

Thanks for another great tutorial Laura!

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A Year of Wreaths: May Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

It’s time for the May wreath in our Year of Wreaths series with Laura Howard! Read on for her beautiful Felt Foxglove Wreath tutorial and pick up a kit here. Take it away, Laura!

Felt Foxgloves Wreath by Laura Howard

When I think of May, I always think of flowers and especially of foxgloves. They are such beautiful, striking flowers and it was a lot of fun making a felt version for this month’s tutorial.

The felt foxgloves will take you a bit of time to make, but they don’t need any advanced sewing skills just some patience. I hope you’ll agree that the end result is worth it!

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

All the supplies you’ll need to make the felt foxgloves wreath are available from the Village Haberdashery shop – follow the links below for individual items or click here for the May wreath kit.

You will need:

*The template sheet provided (click here to download and print the PDF)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Wool blend felt in Fuchsia, Cotton Candy and Pea Soup
*Sewing thread to match the felt (bright pink, light pink and green)
*Two paper covered floral wires
*Sewing scissors
*Embroidery scissors
*Sewing needle and pins
*A black permanent marker pen
*A glue gun and glue
*A heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*A small amount of toy stuffing
*An orange stick or other narrow tool for adding the stuffing

To make the wreath

1. Use the template provided to cut the felt strips for wrapping the wreath: cut eight strips from each felt colour.

2. Lay the strips on top of the wreath in colour order (bright pink, light pink, green), overlapping them slightly so that none of the polystyrene ring base will show through at the edges of the wreath. When you’ve added all the pieces and are happy with the arrangement, insert pins to hold the felt in position then turn the wreath over. One by one, wrap the felt pieces around the wreath inserting pins to hold the felt in place.

The back of your wreath will now look something like this:

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

3. Use a glue gun to secure the ends of the felt at the back of the wreath. Work on one piece of felt at a time, removing the pin(s) holding it in place and folding the felt back slightly. Carefully add a dab or two of hot glue to the wreath base then very carefully press the felt down into position.

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper or other scrap paper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.

Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

Once the glue has dried, turn the wreath over and remove the pins from the front. The front of your wreath will now look something like this:

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

4. Use the templates provided to cut out the foxglove pieces. Cut six buds, nine large flowers and three small flowers from bright pink felt. Cut six buds and nine small flowers from light pink felt. Then cut 27 caps from green felt.

Tip: embroidery scissors are perfect for cutting out small felt shapes!

5. Add a random pattern of dots to all the flower pieces (the large and small pink pieces, but not the pink buds) using a black permanent marker pen. Test out the pen on a piece of scrap felt before you start decorating the flowers. The ink may soak through the felt, so place a piece of paper under the flowers as you work to protect your table.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

6. Now it’s time to start sewing the flowers. Each small and large flower is sewn the same way, using matching sewing threads. Begin by folding the flower so that the dots are on the outside, as shown. Sew along the straight edge with whip stitch in matching pink sewing thread. Start at the top and work down, leaving large gaps between the stitches.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Then sew back up again, sewing between the gaps and finishing your stitching at the top. Take care not to sew your stitches too tightly!

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Then carefully turn the flower the right side out, flattening the seam to make a trumpet-like flower shape.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

7. Thread your needle with green sewing thread, and pass it up through the centre of one of the green cap pieces. Place the cap over the hole at the top end of the flower (so the knot is underneath the cap).

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Sew down through the centre of the cap, then up through the flower and cap as shown below.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Make a small stitch holding the “leaf” of the cap in place, then pass the needle back up through the centre of the cap.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Repeat this process for the other three “leaves” of the cap, sewing it in place around the end of the flower. You will need to pinch the end of the flower slightly (especially with the small flowers) to get the cap to fit neatly around it. Finish your stitching neatly at the top of the cap.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

8. To sew the buds, use whip stitch and matching sewing thread to join two bud pieces together. Begin sewing from the top, stuffing the shape with small pieces of toy stuffing as you sew up the second side.

Tip: Adding the toy stuffing can be a bit fiddly as the buds are quite small. Use something narrow like an orange stick (the ones used for manicures) to poke the stuffing into the bud.

Once you’ve sewn and stuffed each bud, add a cap piece to the top following the same method as in step 7.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

9. When all the flowers and buds are finished, use the stalk templates to cut two stalk pieces from green felt: one long and one short.

Fold the long stalk piece in half and join the edges with whip stitch and matching green sewing thread, leaving one end unstitched as shown. Bend one of the floral wires, folding it in half. Insert the wire into the stalk and sew up the bottom edge with more whip stitches.

Repeat this process to make the short stalk, this time folding the wire in thirds.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

10. Time to attach the flowers and buds to the stalks! This can be a bit fiddly, so take your time and do your best to keep the front of the foxgloves free from glue. Before you glue each piece, position it and look at the points of contact – i.e. where the piece you’re adding will touch what you’re gluing it to. Then remove the piece and add glue to those points, either on the piece you’re adding or where you’re attaching it (whichever is easiest at the time!).

Start by arranging the central flowers along the stalk, as pictured. For the large foxglove add three large flowers then a small flower on top. For the small foxglove, add three small flowers. Glue the flowers in position one by one, working upwards.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Then add the other two flowers in each row.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

Finally, add the three buds to the top of the foxglove.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

The finished foxgloves should look something like this:

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

11. Once the foxgloves have fully dried, position them on the wreath. When you’re happy with their placement, use the glue gun to attach them – adding a dab of glue at the top and bottom of the stalk where it will touch the wreath.

A Year of Wreaths: May – Felt Foxgloves Wreath By Laura Howard

 

Thanks for another great tutorial Laura!

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A Year of Wreaths: February Valentine’s Heart Wreath by Laura Howard

It’s time for the February wreath in our Year of Wreaths series with Laura Howard! Read on for her Valentine’s Heart Wreath tutorial and pick up a kit here. Take it away, Laura!

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

My monthly wreath project continues with a heart-themed wreath to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and to spread a little love and happiness!

This month’s wreath features embroidered felt hearts, pretty ricrac and some gorgeous purple yarn. All the supplies you’ll need are available from the Village Haberdashery shop – follow the links below for individual items or click here for the February wreath kit.

You will need:
*The template sheet provided (click here to download and print the PDF)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Wool blend felt in Red, Wisteria, Cotton Candy and Fuchsia
*2 balls of Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran in Berry
*80cm purple ric rac
*1 skein of white embroidery thread
*Red sewing thread
*Sewing scissors
*Embroidery scissors
*Pinking shears
*Sewing needles and pins
*A large, sharp needle
*A glue gun and glue
*A heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*Optional: an air-erasable fabric marker

To make the wreath:

1. Decorate the wreath base with Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran in Berry.

Secure the yarn with a knot at what will become the back of your wreath. Begin wrapping the yarn around the wreath base, passing the ball of yarn through the hole in the centre of the wreath as you wrap the yarn around the outside. Hide the loose yarn end under the yarn as you wrap, and make sure that you’re not leaving any gaps where the white wreath base shows through. Continue wrapping, gradually covering the whole of the wreath base, and switch to a second ball as needed. Wrapping the wreath takes a while, so I highly recommend wrapping your wreath while watching a film or some episodes of your favourite TV show.

Once the whole wreath base has been covered with yarn, tie a knot securely at the back and carefully trim the loose end so it won’t be visible when the wreath is hung up.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
2. Use the templates provided to cut out the following felt pieces: 2 x Heart A in red, 1 x Heart A in wisteria, 1 x Heart B in red, and 2 x Heart B in wisteria.

Tip: embroidery scissors are perfect for cutting out small felt shapes!

3. Place one of the smaller hearts in the centre of a contrasting larger heart. Cut a length of white embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so, just use 3 of the 6 strands). Hold the heart in position or secure it with a few tacking stitches of sewing thread.

Use the embroidery thread to backstitch around the inside of the smaller heart, sewing through both layers of felt. Then use more half strands of thread to sew a pattern of single stitches around the edge of the heart, varying the size of your stitches to fill the available space.

Tip: smaller backstitches will help you sew a smoother curve. If you’re having difficulty sewing neatly freehand, use an air-erasable fabric marker to draw your stitching line(s).

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
Remove any tacking threads (if you’ve used them) then repeat this step to decorate the other two pairs of hearts.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
4. Use the templates provided to cut out one each of the following pieces: Heart A in red, Heart B in wisteria, Heart C in fuchsia, Heart D in cotton candy and Heart E in red. Arrange the heart shapes as shown.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
5. Hold all the layers together, or secure them with a few small tacking stitches of sewing thread in the centre. Use half strands of white embroidery thread to backstitch around the inside of the central heart, sewing through all the layers of felt. Remove the tacking stitches if you’ve used them.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
6. Decorate the rest of the layers with more white embroidery thread – alternating between backstitch and single radiating stitches, as shown.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
7. Use the Heart E template to cut a backing piece of red felt for the embroidered heart. Cut a 50cm length of the yarn you used to wrap the wreath. Thread a large, sharp needle with one end of yarn and tie a large knot in the other end. Then sew up the centre of the felt heart, as shown.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
8. Place the decorated large heart and the plain backing heart together, so the knot of the yarn is hidden between the layers. Hold or pin them together and join the edges with red sewing thread. I used blanket stitch for this because it creates a lovely neat edge, but you could use whip stitch if you prefer. Make sure the yarn end sticks straight up from the top of the heart as you sew around it, and finish your stitching neatly at the back.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
9. Use the Felt Strip template to cut out 4 pieces of cotton candy felt. Also use the template as a guide to cut 4 pieces of purple ricrac and 4 wider pieces of fuchsia felt. Layer the pieces, as shown.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
10. Use half strands of white embroidery thread to backstitch a straight line down the centre, sewing through all the layers. Repeat for all the ricrac and felt pieces, creating four decorated strips.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
11. Trim the fuchsia felt with pinking shears to create a decorative zigzag edging. If you don’t have any pinking shears, just trim the felt with ordinary sewing scissors to create a narrow border.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
12. Hang the large embroidered heart from the top of the wreath. Adjust the height of the heart until you’re happy with it and wait for the yarn to stop spinning so you can make sure the heart will hang straight. Once you’re happy with the position of the heart, knot the yarn securely and trim the excess yarn.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
13. Position the felt pieces around the top of the wreath, as shown, pinning each shape in place. This is also a good time to add a length of yarn for hanging the wreath, if needed (i.e. if you’re not planning to hang the wreath directly on a hook or nail).

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

14. Turn the wreath over and use a glue gun to secure the ends of the decorated strips to the back of the wreath. Work on one strip of felt at a time, removing one pin and folding the end of the strip back slightly. Carefully add a dab or two of hot glue to the wreath base then very carefully press the felt down into position. Then remove the pin from the other end of the strip and glue that in place. Repeat until you’ve removed all the pins and all four strips have been glued in position.

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper or other scrap paper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.
Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard
15. Once the glue has dried, turn the wreath over and begin gluing the four hearts in place. One by one, remove a pin and turn the heart over. Add two or three dabs of glue to the back of the heart then carefully press it back in position on the wreath.

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

Valentine's Heart Wreath Tutorial by Laura Howard

To see all of the tutorials in our A Year of Wreaths series, click here.

Valentine's Heart Wreath tutorial by Laura Howard

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A Year of Wreaths: January Rainbow Wreath by Laura Howard

We’re practically giddy about our new blog series with Laura Howard: A Year of Wreaths! I dreamed up the idea while sadly putting away our Christmas wreath and wishing I had something new to put up – but it’s not super common to put up a wreath in January. And why not? Wreaths are the best! And Laura’s ideas are so much fun. This happy wreath now hangs proudly on our shop door.

Read on for her January tutorial and if you’d like to take a class with Laura at our West Hampstead shop, you can sign up for her Felt Weather Mobile class on 28 January! Take it away, Laura!

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

Every month this year I’ll be sharing a tutorial for making a seasonal wreath. First up: a bright and cheerful rainbow wreath to banish the January blues!

These happy colours are perfect for brightening up dull winter days and I’ve added a bit of sparkle too. All the supplies you’ll need are available from The Village Haberdashery – follow the links below for individual items or click here for the January wreath kit.

You will need:
The template sheet provided (click here to download and print the PDF)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Wool blend felt in seven rainbow colours: Red, Hallows Eve, Banana Cream, Chartreuse, Blue Bayou, Wisteria and Cotton Candy
*Black and White wool blend felt
*Gutermann Metallic Effect Thread #41
*Sewing scissors
*Embroidery scissors
*Sewing needles and pins
*Glue gun and glue
*A heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*Optional: a piece of string or co-ordinating ribbon for hanging the wreath

To make the wreath:
1. Use the templates provided to cut out 7 small felt circles (one of each rainbow colour), 7 large black felt circles and 7 white felt letters spelling out the word “welcome”.

Tip: embroidery scissors are perfect for cutting out small felt shapes!

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

2. One by one, sew each small circle to a backing large circle. Use Gutermann Metallic Effect thread and whip stitch, keeping your stitches as even as possible.

Tip: this metallic thread is easy to sew with, but I’d recommend cutting a shorter length of thread than you’d usually work with to make sure it doesn’t tangle.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
3. Add one letter to each circle in colour order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink. Use more of the metallic thread to sew each letter in place, sewing around the inside of the letters with backstitch as shown.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

4. Use the templates provided to cut the felt strips for wrapping the wreath. Cut 4 standard strips and 1 wide strip from red felt. Then cut 5 standard strips from each of the other 6 rainbow colours.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
5. Beginning with the wide red strip, position the felt pieces on top of the wreath base as shown. Add the pieces in colour order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink), overlapping them slightly so that none of the polystyrene ring base will show through at the edges of the wreath.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
6. When you’ve added all the pieces and are happy with the arrangement, insert pins to hold the felt in position.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
7. Turn the wreath over. One by one, wrap the felt pieces around the wreath and pin the ends in place.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
The back of your wreath will now look something like this:

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
8. Use a glue gun to secure the ends of the felt at the back of the wreath. Work on one piece of felt at a time, removing the pin(s) holding it in place and folding the felt back slightly. Carefully add a dab or two of hot glue to the wreath base, then very carefully press the felt down into position,.

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper or other scrap paper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.

Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
9. Once the glue has dried, turn the wreath over and remove the pins from the front. The front of your wreath will now look something like this:

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
10. Arrange the felt circles on the wreath as shown, spelling out the word “welcome”. The edges of the circles should touch but not overlap each other. When you’re happy with the layout, pin the circles in place.

Tip: position the circles so they help hide the join where you started and finished wrapping the wreath.

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
11. Use the glue gun to attach the circles to the wreath. One by one, remove a pin and set aside a circle. Add two or three dabs of glue on the wreath then carefully press the circle back in place. Make sure to keep the letters neatly aligned as you glue them in place!

Rainbow Felt Wreath Tutorial by Laura "Lupin" Howard of Bugs & Fishes
12. If needed, cut a length of string or co-ordinating ribbon and knot it securely around the top of the wreath. Use this to hang the wreath in your chosen spot.

january-felt-rainbow-wreath-tutorial-18

 

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Tutorial! Felt Christmas Baubles by Laura Howard

We’re thrilled that Laura Howard is back with a tutorial for her lovely vintage-style felt Christmas baubles! Read on for the tutorial and if you’d like to take one of Laura’s classes you can find them here.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

Sew a set of felt ornaments for your Christmas tree or to give as gifts this season! These decorations were inspired by pretty vintage glass baubles and are so much fun to sew.

Make them in classic red and greens, retro pink, turquoise and lilac, or any colour combo that takes your fancy. Mix and match the colours across the set, and decorate them with co-ordinating embroidery thread, ribbons and trims, plus sequins and beads to add some festive sparkle. You could also use things like mini buttons and mini pompoms, or even strips of festive fabric cut with pinking shears.

You will need:

The template sheet provided (click here to download and print the PDF)

*Three co-ordinating shades of wool felt for the baubles
*Light grey felt for the bauble caps
*Sewing thread to match all the felt colours
*Embroidery thread in co-ordinating colours
*Narrow ribbon for hanging the baubles (approx. 7 inches per bauble)
*Assorted co-ordinating ribbons, ric-rac, sequins and seed beads for decorating the baubles
*Sewing scissors
*Embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out small shapes!)
*Sewing needles and pins
*Optional: air erasable fabric marker, a ruler, toy stuffing, and pinking shears

To make each bauble:

  1. Use the templates provided to cut two matching bauble pieces from your chosen shade of felt, and two cap pieces from light grey felt. Pin or hold the paper templates onto the felt as you cut around them.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Use pinking shears to cut a contrasting strip of felt to sit in the middle of the bauble. You can cut this by eye, or use a ruler and an air erasable fabric marker to draw guide lines to cut along. You can make this felt strip as wide or narrow as you like, but it must be long enough to overhang each side of the bauble as shown.

Don’t have a pair of pinking shears? Just cut a straight edge with your sewing scissors instead.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Pin the felt strip to one of the bauble pieces and trim it to size. Using running stitch and matching sewing thread sew along the top and bottom edge, then remove the pin.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

Now comes the fun part: decorating the bauble! You can use the photos in this post as inspiration, or get creative and come up with your own bauble designs. The basic design principle to follow is to add the embellishments in rows, keeping things as symmetrical as possible.

  1. Start by adding ribbon and/or ric-rac. To add each piece, cut a length slightly wider than the bauble (so it overhangs the edges by 1-2 cm at each side). Pin or hold the ribbon/ric-rac in place and sew along it with matching sewing thread. You can use running stitch, or sew tiny whip stitches along the edges. Fold the ends of the ribbon / ric-rac over and secure it at the back of the bauble shape with a few whip stitches, sewing into the felt but not through it.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

You could add one piece of ribbon or add several pieces (as shown above). Create contrast and detail by sewing a narrow ribbon on top of a wider one, or by sewing a piece of ric-rac onto a second strip of contrasting felt (add this felt strip using the same method as in steps 2 and 3, but without the pinked edges).

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Next, add some embroidery. Use co-ordinating embroidery thread, separate half the strands (so for six-stranded embroidery thread, just use three strands at a time) and switch to a larger sewing needle if necessary.

If you’re an embroidery whizz you can add any stitches you fancy. I decorated my baubles with lines of running stitch and simple patterns of Xs and Vs, each sewn from pairs of stitches.

To help keep your designs symmetrical, sew outwards from the centre of each row then fill in the second half with the same number of stitches.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard
Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

Tip: If you have trouble keeping your stitched lines straight, use an air-erasable marker and a ruler to mark guide lines to sew along.

  1. To finish the decoration, add a selection of sequins and small beads. Use matching sewing thread to sew each embellishment in place – I used thread to match the felt / ribbon I was sewing onto, but you could match your thread to the embellishments themselves if you prefer.

Sew each seed bead with a double thickness of thread, using one stitch per bead. Secure each sequin with two or three stitches, depending on the size and shape of your chosen sequins. I used two stitches for the round sequins, and three for the stars.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Turn over the undecorated bauble piece. Position the two cap pieces on the top of the bauble pieces (which will become the front and back of the bauble) and sew them in place with two stitches each: one between each scallop.

You’ll see that the cap pieces are larger than the cap shape on the top of the bauble – this is so that when you sew the grey felt caps together the bright felt of the bauble tops will be completely hidden inside the grey caps.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Turn the back bauble piece over again, and add a ribbon loop to the top. Cut a length of narrow ribbon about 7 inches long, fold it in half to form a loop and sew the ends in place with whip stitch and matching sewing thread. Take care to sew into the felt, not through it.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

  1. Place the two layers of the bauble together and begin joining the edges. Start with the cap, sewing around it with whip stitch and matching grey sewing thread.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

If you want to stuff the baubles, add a very small piece of toy stuffing to the cap.

Then start sewing around the edge of the bauble, using whip stitch and matching sewing thread. If you’re leaving the bauble unstuffed, sew all the way round the bauble and finish your stitching neatly at the back.

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

If you’re adding stuffing, sew most of the way round then stuff the bauble evenly with small pieces of toy stuffing and sew up the gap.

Tip: When sewing the long bauble, I’d recommend stuffing it gradually as you sew up the second side.

 

Vintage-style felt Christmas Baubles tutorial by Laura Howard

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Laura’s Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial

The super talented Laura Howard designed this beautiful autumn wreath for a class for our West Hampstead shop and now she is sharing a tutorial for all of you to make at home! If you’d like to take one of Laura’s classes you can find them here.

We love this wreath so much, but if you don’t fancy making the whole wreath the templates can be used to make a toadstool brooch or you can add ribbon loops to turn the toadstools into Christmas ornaments!

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath

You will need:

*The template sheet (opens as a pdf in a new page to print)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Chunky yarn in an autumnal shade
*Red, white and dark brown wool or wool-blend felt
*Matching red, white and dark brown sewing thread
*Assorted autumnal shades of felt for the leaves. Laura used Pumpkin Spice, Butternut Squash, Old Gold, Barn Red and Copper Kettle
*Red, orange and light brown embroidery thread
*Toy stuffing
*Sewing scissors
*Embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out felt shapes!)
*Sewing needles and pins
*Glue gun and glue
*Heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*Optional: air-erasable fabric marker pen, a pencil

To make the toadstools:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out the toadstool pieces (as marked on the template sheet). Pin each paper template onto the correct felt colour, cut around it carefully with embroidery scissors then remove the pin. Don’t throw away any scraps of white felt as you’ll need them to decorate the toadstools. Both sizes of toadstool (large and small) are constructed in the same way.

2. Place the two white toadstool pieces together. Starting near the top of the cap, begin sewing the edges together with whip stitch and white sewing thread. Sew down the stalk then up the other side, stuffing it gradually with small pieces of toy stuffing. Continue sewing up around the cap, leaving a small gap at the top. Stuff the cap with more toy stuffing then sew up the gap with more whip stitches.

Tip: use the closed blades of your embroidery scissors or the point of a pencil to gently poke the stuffing into all the corners of the toadstool so it’s evenly stuffed.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
3. Use embroidery scissors to cut out an assortment of small circles from the white felt scraps. You could cut these freehand (they don’t need to be perfect circles!) or use an air-erasable marker pen to draw circles on the felt and cut them out. Arrange the circles on one of the red cap pieces. For a natural-looking toadstool, make sure your arrangement isn’t symmetrical. One by one, sew each circle in place with white sewing thread and an X of two stitches.
Tip: don’t position the circles too close to the edge of the cap – remember you’ll need to sew around the edge of the cap in the next step.
Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
4. Sandwich the stuffed toadstool shape between the two matching red cap pieces. Start stitching where the cap and stalk meet, sewing up and around the cap until you reach the top of the stalk again. Use whip stitch and matching red sewing thread, joining the edges of the red felt so the white felt cap is completely hidden inside.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
5. Continue whip stitching across the bottom of the red cap, sewing through all the layers of felt and stuffing and pulling each stitch tight. Turn the toadstool back and forth as you sew, so you can make sure your red stitches aren’t overlapping onto the white of the stalk. Finish your stitching neatly at the back.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
Variations: for a slightly different look, you could use whip stitch to attach each felt circle instead of an X of two stitches. You could also use white seed beads, white sequins or even small white buttons to decorate the toadstool caps instead of using felt circles.

To make the mushroom:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out the mushroom pieces (as marked on the template sheet). Pin each paper template onto the correct felt colour, cut around it carefully with embroidery scissors then remove the pin.

2. Sew and stuff the two white mushroom pieces, using the method described in step 2 of the toadstool instructions (above).

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
3. Position the brown mushroom cap piece (A) on the white mushroom cap piece (B) and pin it in place. Use dark brown sewing thread and whip stitch to sew along the bottom edge of the brown felt shape. Remove the pin. Turn the cap pieces over and carefully trim the excess white felt above the line of stitching, as shown below right.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
4. Place the white stalk piece on the cap pieces as pictured below, so the top of the stalk slightly overlaps the bottom of the mushroom cap. Hold or pin the layers of felt together and whip stitch along the top of the stalk with white sewing thread.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
5. Cut a piece of light brown embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so, for six-stranded thread use three strands). Switch to a larger needle if necessary and backstitch around the top of the stalk, sewing flush with the edge of the felt. Then use an air-erasable fabric marker pen to draw several lines radiating from the top of the stalk. Sew along each line with backstitch and more half strands of light brown embroidery thread. Don’t sew all the way to the edge of the white felt – leave a small gap at each end of the lines, as shown below.

If you don’t have an air-erasable pen just sew the lines freehand using the photo as a guide.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
6. Place the embroidered mushroom on the stuffed mushroom shape, lining up the stalks. Starting at the top of the stalk, sew down the stalk and around it using white sewing thread and whip stitch to join the pieces together. Then add the brown mushroom cap piece (B) at the back and begin stitching up around the cap. Start with white thread, switch to brown as you sew around the brown felt, and then switch back to white again on the other side of the cap.
Finally, sew along the bottom edge of the cap at the back of the mushroom (don’t stitch through all the layers as in step 5 of the toadstool instructions) then finish your stitching neatly.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
Variation: instead of making a mushroom and three toadstools to decorate the wreath, you could use the “mushroom” and “mushroom cap B” templates to make a third red and white toadstool.

To make the leaves:

1. Use the leaf templates provided to cut out 24 felt leaves in assorted autumnal colours (12 large and 12 small). Pin each paper template onto your chosen felt colour, cut around it with sewing scissors then remove the pin. I used six felt colours, cutting two large and two small leaves of each colour.

2. Add detail to your leaves with half strands of contrasting embroidery thread (i.e. for six-stranded embroidery thread just use three strands). Sew a line of running stitches down the centre of each leaf then finish your stitching at the back and trim any excess threads.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
Variation: keep the leaves unstitched for a simpler look, or mix and match stitched and unstitched leaves.

To wrap the wreath base:

Chunky yarn is perfect for wrapping the wreath! I chose brown yarn, which goes well with the autumnal colours of the wreath but allows the leaves and toadstools to stand out. Grey or black would also look great, as would an autumnal shade like burnt orange or mustard yellow to match your leaf colours.

Tip: if you’re using thinner yarn, use two balls of matching yarn and wrap with two strands at once (one from each ball) to save time.

1. Secure the yarn with a knot at what will become the back of your wreath. Begin wrapping the yarn around the wreath base, passing the skein/ball of yarn through the hole in the centre of the wreath as you wrap the yarn around the outside.

2. Hide the loose yarn end under the yarn as you wrap, and make sure that you’re not leaving any gaps where the white wreath base shows through. Continue wrapping, gradually covering the whole of the wreath base with your chosen yarn. This can take a while, so I highly recommend wrapping your wreath while watching a film or an episode of your favourite TV show.

3. Once the whole wreath base has been covered with yarn, tie a knot securely at the back and carefully trim the loose end so it won’t be visible when the wreath is hung up.

To assemble the wreath:

1. Arrange the leaves on the yarn-wrapped wreath base, using the photo below as a guide. When you’re happy with the arrangement pin each leaf in place, inserting the pin at the bottom of each leaf.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
2. Heat up your glue gun then use it to attach the leaves to the wreath. Work inwards, holding the leaf back and applying a small dab of glue to the wreath then lightly pressing the outer/top half of the leaf down so it sticks in place. Then remove the pin from the bottom of the leaf and glue the lower half.

When you reach the central cluster of leaves, glue all the outer/top halves of the leaves then remove the central pins and glue the inner/bottom halves of the leaves one by one.

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.

Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

3. Arrange the mushroom and two toadstools on the leaves. When you’re happy with their position, glue them in place one by one. Apply several dabs of glue to the back of each mushroom/toadstool where it will lie against the leaves, then place it in position and press firmly.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath Tutorial
4. Finally, cut a length of yarn or co-ordinating ribbon and knot it securely around the top of the wreath. Use this to hang the wreath in your chosen spot.

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath

Laura Howard's Autumn Felt Wreath

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Meet our teachers: Laura “Lupin” Howard of Bugs & Fishes, sewing with felt

We are delighted to have Laura Howard on our teaching team this autumn! Her hand-sewn felt projects often grace the covers of craft bible Mollie Makes and she is the author of two books, Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals and a contributor to many more. We are crazy about her style, which is both whimsical and modern and always fresh and fun! Read on to find out more about Laura and browse all of her upcoming classes here.

Laura Lupin Howard

Have you always been crafty or did you discover your love of making things as an adult?

I was definitely a crafty kid! I was very much an “indoor child” and loved reading and drawing and making stuff. I had a big box in the bottom of my wardrobe that I filled with anything interesting I came across that I thought might be useful for making things – empty matchboxes, scraps of fabric, bits of shiny paper, etc – and spent many, many happy hours crafting.

Later, as a teenager and a student, I discovered the joys of knitting, started an ugly (and still un-finished) patchwork quilt, and made lots of cards for birthdays and Christmas (everyone loves a handmade card!).

Laura Lupin Howard loves felt

You describe yourself as ‘completely obsessed with felt’. What drew you to felt and how do you keep coming up with new projects for it?

I first started making things with felt when I was a kid. My mum bought me a little sewing machine but it sat gathering dust as I much preferred hand sewing. Because the edges don’t fray you can just cut out a shape and go, which makes it easy and quick to work with but also easy to use to design things. I loved using it to make things like little outfits for my sisters’ Sylvanian Families.

I got back into felt crafting in 2006, after University. I was looking for things to make for my friends and neighbours for Christmas and thought “ooh, I could make some felt ornaments!” I went online and found that people were making some really wonderful things from felt – it was very inspiring.

It turns out that nowadays you can buy so many different types of felt, and in so many gorgeous colours. It’s a material people often associate with bright primary colours and simple kids crafts, but you can get some really subtle shades and the possibilities for what you can make with it are pretty much endless.

If something exists (even just as an idea in your head) you can probably make a little felt version of it. I find coming up with new ideas less of a problem than finding time to make them all!

Mollie Makes Cassette Tape iPhone Case by Laura Lupin Howard

Laura’s retro iPhone case was featured on the cover of Mollie Makes issue 41

You’ve been blogging since the very early days of blogs! What was it like to start a craft blog nearly a decade ago?

My New Year’s resolution in 2007 was to open an Etsy shop and see how it went, and it turned out that lots of people on Etsy had blogs so I thought “oh, I should start one of those too!”. I’d never really read a craft blog before and definitely didn’t know what I was going to do with mine, so I just sort of made it up as I went along. I definitely didn’t expect to still be blogging (and loving it) almost 10 years later.

There was such a wonderful blogging community in those early days. Everyone read everyone else’s blogs, commented regularly and had a list of links to their friends and their fave reads in their blog sidebar so it was easy to find new bloggers to follow. All over the world, people who had previously just been making things in the privacy of their own home could connect with all these people who loved to make things, share their projects with them, get inspired by what other people were making, get tips and advice and find tutorials to try. It was very exciting!

Felt Autumn Wreath

Learn to make an autumn wreath out of felt with Laura on Sunday, 30 October

When and how did you go about turning making things from a hobby into a full-time job?

I was picked to be a “Featured Seller” on Etsy in October of 2007. After just selling a few things a month, suddenly my shop was on the front page of Etsy and I had a huge flurry of sales. The exposure boosted my sales in the run up to Christmas, too, and made me wonder if I could turn my shop into a proper, full-time business.

I eventually became a full time crafty lady in the spring of 2009. To get there I designed loads of new things and tested them out in my shop to see which would be popular, gradually expanding my range of brooches, ornaments and masks. I hung out in the Etsy forums to pick up tips and read as many craft-business-related blogs as I could (though there weren’t that many in those days!). I sold my work on Etsy, Folksy and DaWanda (with listings translated into German by my kind sister!) and set up a shop on my own website. I worked to improve my photos and my packaging, and to always have the best possible customer service. I blogged a lot and sold ads on my blog to supplement my income. I also expanded my business into selling craft supplies (felt squares and other crafty things) and designing things for craft books and magazines.

Running an online shop solo – and hand stitching so many things to keep it stocked – was fun but kind of intense, especially in the months running up to Christmas. I relied on my then-boyfriend to help out in the busy times, taking things to the Post Office for me or cooking dinner every night when I was busy sewing and packing parcels.

When I was single again I realised that I couldn’t continue to juggle making and selling and designing and writing and still have a sensible work/life balance so I decided to re-focus. I sold off my stock and shuttered some of my online shops, and now mostly design things for craft books and magazines. I’m also currently working on some printable patterns, which I’m very excited about – the first ones will be added to my Etsy shop this autumn/winter.

Baby Weather Mobile

Make a weather baby mobile with Laura on Saturday, 29 October

How much of your days do you get to spend making things, as opposed to other parts of running your business?

It depends! Some weeks are all about the making, and others are filled with things like emailing and photo editing and blogging. There is a LOT of “other stuff” you have to do than just craft if you want to have a crafty business.

I try to write focused To Do lists and to work as efficiently as possible. For example, social media is really important when you’re running a business but it can eat into your day. I schedule lots of my Facebook and Twitter posts in advance and use apps to auto-post on multiple accounts to save time. I also try to have a “no internet after 7pm” rule which I don’t always manage to stick too, but which helps keep my evenings just for me… which means I have time to work on my personal crafty projects.

Make vintage-style felt Christmas ornaments with Laura on Saturday, 26 November

Any advice for makers who want to turn their hobby into a career?

Work hard, be nice to people, be original, pay attention to the money side of things, connect with your peers, read as much as you can about running a crafty business (there are so many great resources out there and there’s always more to learn), and no matter how busy you are don’t forget to eat lunch.

Laura sells her work and patterns online on Etsy, blogs regularly at Bugs & Fishes and fills up our IG feed with colourful things at @lauralupinhoward.

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