The words baby-proof and kid-friendly never meant as much as they did the day Beany became mobile. Suddenly all those pretty things that we carefully placed around the house in just the perfect spots had to be put up higher — or put away entirely. Why don’t they make home décor items that look 100 percent like glass, porcelain and the like but are also 100 percent unbreakable? Blurgily. Please, someone, get on that.
As I started pulling out our Halloween decorations, I realized that nearly everything we own would have to be placed a good 3 feet above the ground, so I decided we needed something safe and festive that Beany could call her own. I happened to have gobs of extra orange felt from a Christmas gift I’ve been working on, so a happy felt jack-o-lantern seemed the perfect choice.
This project was entirely freehanded, and I really think that’s part of its charm. Basically it’s an oversized felt pumpkin, about the size of a large platter, with a set of simple felt accessories (i.e. eyes, nose, smile and stem) to match. By attaching the rough side of a Velcro dots to the black accessory pieces, they stick to the orange felt without having to clutter up the pumpkin side with the matching Velcro pieces.
I love that it’s so easy for little hands to maneuver. I also love that I can add more pieces as Beany gets older. Right now, she’s having plenty of fun figuring out the single set of eyes, nose, smile and stem, but next year I might add some other silly smiles and such so she can have fun doing face switcheroos.
What you’ll need:
• ½ to 1 yard of orange felt
• a bit of black felt (either a few felt squares or 1/8 yard from a bolt)
• an even tinier bit of brown felt for the stem
• orange, black and brown thread
• pen or marker
1. On the orange felt, draw out the shape of your pumpkin. Go as big or small as you like; just remember that you’ll need enough orange felt to make another pumpkin piece that same size. Cut out the pumpkin shape.
2. Place the pumpkin piece you just cut out on top of another orange piece of felt of equal size or a bit larger. Sew the pieces together using the orange thread (I used a sewing machine, though you could do it by hand). Once they’re sewn together, trim the edges to match. [Note: I think it’s easiest to do it this way rather than cutting out two equal pumpkin pieces first and then sewing them together. This allows for a bit of bunching and shifting of the felt, and you still end up with nice edges.]
3. To make the pumpkin look more pumpkin-y, I added some curved stitches running vertically along the length of the pumpkin.
4. The black eyes, nose and mouth and the brown stem are made the same way as the pumpkin. Cut out your shapes, sew them to another piece of felt of equal size or larger, then trim the edges.
5. Finally, add the rough side of a few Velcro dot to the back size of each accessory piece. Assemble your jack-o-lantern, and let the baby-friendly Halloween fun begin!
Beany is having a ball with her pumpkin, and I’m already thinking about how we’ll keep the felt love going once Halloween is over. I think a felt tree with ornaments is in order. Maybe a fireplace with a mantel and stockings, too? The possibilities are endless. Felt is pretty nifty stuff.
Have you done any fun DIY projects lately? How do you keep the kiddos safe, happy and entertained with all the wild décor strewn about? Do tell!