(Not-so-)Trashy Birthday Gifts

What do you get for a three-going-on-four-year-old who LOVES trash men, trash trucks, and trash cans but already has his own fleet of play trucks and cans? Trash. Well, sort of.

I needle-felted trash using the “Alphabet Soup” recipe from the book “I Stink” as a guideline.

All of the pieces, along with the description card, are held neatly in a (relatively) large garbage bag made of black fabric so there’s a place to put them when they aren’t being used.

Little Butterfly

My grandmother loves purple and butterflies. And I am not very good about thinking up things to give people for their birthdays. Enter this little guy:

A quick, simple little needle-felted butterfly. I used a butterfly-shaped cookie cutter and some plain white wool to create a base, then covered it with a thin layer of the light purple. I tried to make the dots as symmetrical as I could, and also attempted to match them on the top and bottom of each side. Then I wrapped the center in the dark blue to create a body and attached two small strips at the top for antennae.

It made a nice little butterfly to put in the envelope along with her birthday card for a quick birthday present.

Minions Gone Purple

I’ve written before about making minions. The yellow ones are easy. They have a smooth, jelly bean or pill body with overalls that take up about one-third of their bodies. But when they turn evil with the PX-41 in the second movie, it gets more difficult.


Comparison picture from Despicable Me Wiki

They get kind of fuzzy, with crazy hair and wonky teeth. Hmm, fuzzy. You can see where this is going, right?

That’s right, needle-felted Evil Minion. I started with some plain white wool to create the base of the body. Then I mixed two different colors of purple to get the color close and made a second layer around the body.

I made the overalls out of blue, and some teeth out of white. I made a flat piece for the bottom jaw and put the teeth on the inside of the mouth. The eye was a ball of white and a smaller ball of black in the center with a combo of black, white, and light blue for the goggles.

I added long tubes for the arms and legs, then lightly added the fluffy hair.

With those skinny legs, he doesn’t really stand up. But he sits pretty nicely leaned up against something else. Once they’ve been turned evil they aren’t exactly the helpful kind of minion anyway, so it doesn’t matter if he stands up at all. 🙂

Pretty Little Butterfly (A Review)

I had seen a bit about needle felting before, but this video from Bubzbeauty got me really interested. (In fact, I think her Totoro design is going to be the first 3D piece I try next.) I was wandering the aisles of Michael’s with a 50% off coupon one day and saw the Dimensions Feltworks Butterfly “learn needle felting kit”.

The kit comes with pre-printed felt, two colors of roving (unspun wool), yarn and embroidery thread, felting and embroidery needles. The first thing I would suggest is to get something better than the foam block included with the kit to felt on. The foam deflates very quickly, especially as much as you have to stab the needle into the felt to get it to hold. You can buy a special “felting mat”, but I went with a plastic-bristled scrub brush from the cleaning supplies aisle at Target.

The felting instructions are really easy to understand, as are the instructions on how to create the butterfly and use the finished butterfly. The embroidery instructions may be a little difficult to understand if you have never done embroidery before, but there are always great instruction videos on YouTube. All in all, this is a great little kit to get started felting, and a great project for beginning felters. Plus, it’s an adorable butterfly. What more convincing do you need?

Another thing, besides the felting mat I mentioned before, that might make it easier to learn is the Clover Pen-Style Felting Tool. You can use 1, 2, or 3 needles at a time, and it extends to two different lengths. Let me tell you, three needles at a time makes the whole process go a lot faster, at least when you are working flat.