This week I am posting in response to several email questions that I received awhile back and more recently, as well as a recent discussion on one of my Facebook groups. So ~ instead of a felt set for a book or rhyme, I am sharing a few Felt Cutting Tricks that I have learned from several different sources.
The questions were mainly about how I cut my felt pieces ~ especially the smaller detailed ones.
The best answer to "how do you cut such intricate, small details?" is a very good pair of scissors.
My Mom was a seamstress in her spare time while being a wonderful mother to seven children. She taught each of us to use scissors at a very young age. One of the most important tricks she taught us was to only use sharp scissors. (Oh, my! Little children with sharp scissors?!??!!? As long as there is appropriate supervision, young children truly benefit from using sharp scissors. Cutting is less frustrating for them so they learn the skill much quicker and with less fuss! Just don't leave your child unattended with a pair of sharp scissors. Commom sense!)
My own scissors are extremely sharp!
My Mom also taught us to choose the right pair of scissors for the job at hand. If the job is small then don't use big, clunky scissors!
My go-to scissors for my felt projects ~ especially the smaller, more detailed cuts ~ are a small pair of Fiskars (see picture below). I bought them at WalMart about 7 years ago and they are still going strong. Well worth the cost!
The next tricks I want to share are about the actual cutting. Since I need some lettering for an upcoming project, I thought I would use the letters as my examples.
The first thing I do is find a font that I like and print it out in the size that I want to use. I then cut the individual letters a part.
This next step is one that I learned from a fellow Flannel Friday-er. (If you are the person I am referring to, please let me know so I can link to your blog post. Thanks!)
It has made cutting felt so much easier for me! It is magically easy!
The magically easy step is to simply position your pattern on your felt and then tape it down with clear scotch tape. Believe me, this will make your felt-cutting experience a lot less frustrating!
The tape holds the pattern in place and it makes it easier for you to move the felt and pattern around as you cut the details.
I usually trim off the excess felt before cutting close to the pattern. This also makes it easier to maneuver the felt to get right into each little nook and cranny.
There you have it ~ every librarian's favorite two letters!
My next trick has to do with cutting from the middle of a pattern. Below is a step-by-step collage for cutting out the center of a lowercase A. I tried to make the pictures as large as possible. If you click on the picture it will get larger. :o) Hopefully, you will be able to see exactly what I am talking about.
Step by Step:
First, I poke a hole in the center of the area being cut out.
Next, I cut out a circle that is smaller than the area that needs to be removed.
This allows more room to move the scissors around without stretching the felt too much.
Next, I slowly cut around the actual line ~ usually I get a little spiral as I cut the circle.
Finally, I trim any little fuzzies left inside the circle from the felt. For this I usually bring my scissors up from the bottom and through the hole rather than angling down from the top. This helps you see better and control the smaller movements needed to do the clean-up of your cut-out area.
I hope these tricks are helpful to you. I enjoy cutting felt so much more when I take the time to collect the appropriate tools and take the time to set up each step rather than rush to just get it cut out.
Below is a picture that is made completely out of felt (except for the black and green border and
the "~ Storytime Fun ~" caption at the bottom.)
This was my banner for a past Storytime Prop Swap. The Swap was based on the Summer Reading Program that many libraries used this past summer. The theme was "Dig into Reading" and I used a character from one of the books shared last summer.
This is Mole from Jane and Will Hillenbrand's book, What a Treasure! It is a cute book that I flannelize-ed. Mole is sharing a found treasure with Bird! Aren't they cute?
In celebration of my Blast from the Past post, is anyone interested in a second annual Storytime Prop Swap? I can easily set one up! If you are interested ~ even just a little bit! ~ just let me know in the comments below or by emailing me at email@example.com with "Storytime Prop Swap" in the subject line.
This post is being shared this week on the Flannel Friday Round-Up (where I am the host this week!) and the Storytimes and More Saturday Share (where you can join in by sharing your own ideas each week). Be sure to check out both for more awesome ideas to bring learning and fun into your own storytimes.
~ HAPPY READING TOGETHER ~