WARNING – LONG POST!

I was hoping to get this done last weekend but, other than getting a few more owls made (had some orders last Friday) I didn’t have time for any other crafting – including updating my blog. (blogs take a lot of time!)

The owls I am writing a tutorial for today are these little guys:

parliament

As mentioned in my previous post, I created these owls by looking through the dies that I own to see if I could combine some of them to cut out viable components to make an owl.  I am not good at precision cutting, hate when felt has marker or pen lines left on it when crafting, and, frankly, am too lazy to draw on waxed paper, bring the supplies to my ironing board, iron the paper on to the felt, and cut the pieces out by hand.  This may seem silly but when I have to schlep my projects between multiple rooms of the house the appeal of said project reduces by 100%.

I used the Spellbinders Apple dies (I think I got them for $10 CAD at Winners).  Should you feel compelled to own them, they are available (in Canada) on Amazon – and you can probably still buy them from some scrapbooking stores as well.  I also used 2 circle dies and a heart die to complete my owl.  The main components all use the large apple as I will illustrate…just bear with me…pictures will be provided as I go along.

MATERIALS:

You will need a small piece of white felt for the eyes, a small piece of orange or yellow felt for the beak, plus three colours of felt for the body, belly, and wings of the owl.  I tend to cut one of each of the body/belly/wing pieces from all three colours and then mix and match them to get the components for three separate owls.

You’ll also need embroidery floss/thread in matching colours, a needle, something to use for the eyes – I used beads on some and larger black scrapbook brads for others.  The brads make for faster assembly of the owl – less sewing!  A small amount of fiberfill/stuffing is required and you’ll need something to poke a hole through the felt if you’re using brads for eyes.  I chose to add hangers to my owls and used baker’s twine but you could use string, thread, yarn…whatever you would prefer.

CUTTING THE SHAPES:

Here are the shapes you’ll cut.  I’m showing them first so you can visualize the next lot of text.

owl pieces

NOTE:  When cutting felt, it is important to put a sheet of paper between the felt and the cutting plate (not the die!) so the felt cuts cleanly and does not stick to the plate.  Printer paper is ideal.

The first step is to cut two large apples out of the same colour of felt.  You don’t need to include the stem – you can if you wish, but it will be trimmed off in a later step.

Now cut a half circle of felt using a different colour with the circle die.  I used Spellbinders for this as well.  The die is 3″ in diameter.  This piece is for the belly.  Once you’ve cut the half circle, place it under the stem end of the apple die like this (size does not need to be exact and the stem part will be trimmed later…):

owl belly

Run it through the die cutter to get the apple shape at the bottom of the half circle. (you can see I’ve used my printer paper for 3 cuts.  I have to change it out after two or three cuts if I want to get a clean cut/release of the felt.)

Cut out two small white circles for the eyes.  I used the same Spellbinders circle set that I used for the belly.  It’s approximately 3/4″ in diameter – you can use any small circle die as long as it’s not too small/large to fit on the owl body.

Next is the beak.  I used a heart-shaped die cut from orange felt but you could simply hand-cut a triangle.  Doesn’t have to be fancy – I just wanted all my owls to be consistent.

The last felt pieces are the wings.

Cut two pieces of felt approximately 2″ X 4″.  Now place them at the bottom of the apple die and cut out a shape that looks like the two pieces in the next picture. (forgot to take a picture of a single wing and my dual pink-wing picture did not turn out well for a tutorial so I’m subbing brown wings)  Once you’ve cut both pieces, place them on either side of the apple die like this:

owl wings

Run them through the die cutter again to cut your wings.

Here are all those felt pieces again:

owl pieces

TRIMMING THE SHAPES:

Now you need to do a little bit of trimming on the belly and the body shapes.  I place the two body shapes together and turn them upside down so they mimic my owl shape. (i.e. turn it so it looks like an upside down apple)  I then make a V-cut in the apple bottom (which is now up top) to create the ear shape for the owl. (see picture)  The last step to complete the body is to trim the stem area along the natural curve.

Once the body pieces are trimmed, I match the belly piece alongside the trimmed area of one body piece and trim it to match.

owl pieces prepped

ASSEMBLY:

Now you just need to adhere the belly, wings, beak, and eyes to the front body shape and stitch the two bodies together.  I used a simple running stitch to add the components and a whip-stitch to join my pieces.  (I do not have sewing skills so if I can do this, you can do this)  You can use a blanket stitch if you want but these owls are only about 3.5″ tall and blanket stitch might be a bit overpowering (plus it takes longer).

Step 1:

owl step 1

Step 2:

owl step 2

Step 3:

owl step 3

Step 4 (I used a paper piecer to poke holes through the white felt then pushed a brad through the hole):

owl step 4

Step 5:

You can add a hanger if you like – I used an 11″ piece of bakers twine, threaded it through my needle and ran it through the body felt behind the beak area on the back of the shape.  I then simply tied the two ends of the twine together.  When sewing the two body pieces together, I made sure the knotted end of the twine was INSIDE the body.  I then used embroidery floss the same colour as the body to whip-stitch the owl together – leave about 2 inches at the bottom so you can stuff the owl before continuing to join the rest of the body together. (I did not have a solo picture of the owl above so the next pic is the same stand-in model that posed for the wings):

owl step 5

That’s it!  The tutorial makes it seem like a long process but once you’ve cut the felt pieces, you can easily assemble these little guys while watching a bit of tv in the evenings.