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Thursday, March 10, 2011

{Tutorial}: Felt Labels

I love to label things.  Well, I guess I should make myself more clear...I love to organize things. From all my canned goods' labels facing forward {I know, I know....} to everything having its own place, I strive for organization in our home.  Admittedly, I don't always prevail.  But, alas, a girl can try, right? :)

So this past week I decided to make some labels.  I had originally made some of these a few years ago, when my son was born, in an effort to organize some of his toys.  I used them on his baskets of blocks then, and I'm still using them for this now.  Although, of course, these could be used for multitudes of things - from boxes of pictures to drinks with "name tags," these are handy to have around.  The best part?  Once you make them, you can keep them forever because they're made to be interchangeable.  As in, you can swap out the label and put in a  new one.

So anyway, I decided to redo my son's labels {just because I wanted them in a different color!}, and thought, "Hey! I gotta put this on the blog so that everyone can have some of these!"  So here we are. :)

What You Need:
*felt {1/4 yard...more if you want more squares, of course}
*cardstock {one piece of paper will do}
*sewing machine {or needle and thread}
*scissors {one for paper-cutting, and one for fabric-cutting}
*twine {or ribbon}
*stencil {optional}

Cut your felt into 8 pieces that are 4x4 inches each. Cut your cardstock into one square that's 4x4 inches.

So now you need to decide on what shape of an opening you're going to put on each label.  You could just do circles, ovals or hearts, for example.  For mine, I chose stars.  {You want to keep the shape/design simple, because it's just a silhouette}.  Now, I could have gone online to search for a "star silhouette" in Google images, but since these are for my son's room, I decided to just freehand them and make them appear more child-like.  Once you know what shape you're doing, go ahead and draw {or trace if you're using a template} it onto your piece of cardstock.

Take your scissors, and poke a hole through the center of your design. Cut out the shape. {NOTE: for shapes with lots of points {like my star!}, it's easiest to cut out toward each point with your scissors first.  Then cut out the whole shape.

Take your cut-out shape and pin it, centered, onto one of your felt squares.
Fold the felt square in half, and use your scissors to cut a small slit in the middle.

Now, using the same technique I referred to earlier, cut out the star shape from your felt square.

Repeat these step on 3 of your other squares, so that you have 4 squares with stars {or whatever shape/design you're doing} cut out of the centers.

Take your remaining 4 squares and cut 1/2" off one of the sides of each of them.  Then take one felt square with a star and pin it to one felt square without a star.  Be sure the felt piece with the one shorter side now is matched up to the top of your felt design.
{front and back of how it looks when your pieces are pinned together properly}
Sew your 2 felt squares that are pinned together. Use about a 1/4" seam, and be sure you backstitch when you start and stop to secure your seams.  **NOTE: You are going to sew along the BIGGER square, that is, NOT the one we cut down an extra 1/2 inch.  {If you sew along the edge of the one we cut down, you'll end up sewing your square shut and won't be able to put your label inside}.

Repeat this last step you did with all your squares (Pin them all together, and sew them all together).  Once sewn together, take your scissors and trim off any excess felt on the sides that may have slid around and isn't perfectly aligned any more {this will just even up all the sides}.

Cut two little slits near the top of each your completed squares, just below your stitchline. {These are for threading through your twine to hang your label}.  One slit will be just to the right of the center of your label, and the other, just to the left of your labels.  Each slit needs to be only about 1/4" - 1/2" in length. {It's easiest to fold over the fabric a bit to make your slit - see below}.
Go ahead and slide your 4x4 inch squares into each label's pocket.
Write whatever label you want on each of your pieces of paper.
Cut your twine - you'll need one for each label, of course.  Cut them anywhere from about 5-10 inches in length each.  Then thread each one through your slits you cut earlier.  Start poking the twine through from the front of your square. Then go around the back and poke from the back up through to the front again. 
Tie them onto your item you label, knot it, and you're set!

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