Mix Felt and Paper for Easy Bird Ornaments

17 Oct 2012

Felt is one of the most versatile art and craft fabrics. You can glue it or stitch it, and because it doesn't fray you don't have to worry about turning in any edges.

felt and paper bird ornaments gross
I keep pieces of craft felt and wool felt in my stash. I have also tried my hand at felting techniques, like wet felting, hand needle felting, and machine needle felting. I love them all.

I like to cut out shapes from my felt, and that means I always have small bits of felt lying around. The wool and handmade felt pieces are just too pretty to toss, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them in another project.

While sneaking a peek at the November/December 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, I noticed a little bird ornament project by Sharon Gross that uses felt for the wings and beaks. Sharon makes the bird bodies out of her own hand-printed or hand-painted papers. In the article, she shows how to make the handmade papers and then explains how to assemble the birds.

Here are the directions for putting together the birds, adapted from the article.

Mixed-Media Bird Ornaments
By Sharon Gross

Note: You must sew on all body parts and decorative pieces before sewing the main body pieces together.

1. Using a marker, trace the main body pattern onto the printed paper and then cut them out.

2. Cut 2 wings and 2 eyes from felt. Use embroidery floss and the needle to whipstitch the wings and eyes to the body pieces.

felt and paper bird ornament how to
Sharon prints her own papers, adds felt details,
then stitches and stuffs the birds.
3. Cut small shapes from the felt and use the embroidery floss and needle to cross-stitch these pieces to the body. Add sequins, buttons, etc., with cross-stitches as desired.

4. Place the front and back body sections wrong sides together. Whipstitch the body pieces together using embroidery floss and the needle. Begin at the bottom of the bird, inserting the needle ¼" from the edge and continue sewing toward the head.

5. For the beak, fold the beak triangle in half and insert a threaded needle into the tip of the beak. Sew the beak together with a whipstitch. Place the beak between the front and back parts of the body, centered on the face, and secure it firmly with a few stitches.

6. Continue sewing the front and back together, leaving an opening at the bottom of the body for stuffing. Fill the body with fiberfill and then whipstitch the opening closed. Knot and trim the thread, and dab the knot with glue, securing it to edge of the body

7. Insert a length of cord through a stitch in the middle of the top of the body, make a loop for hanging and knot the cord.

I could see making the entire bird out of felt, or using handmade felt to create the wings and beaks. But I love the mix of paper, felt, and hand stitching in Sharon's whimsical birds.

There are more felting projects and techniques in the November/December 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, including Extreme Needle Felting by Rebekah Meier and Resist-Dyed Wool Book Covers by Joan Ragan Kallay. Plus, a gallery of results from the Felted Wonders Reader Challenge. Order your print copy now or download it today.

P.S. Why do we like bird motifs so much? Discuss below.

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Magazine Single Issue

Say hello to the holidays with this warm and cozy issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Discover fun mixed-media art techniques for sparkling chandeliers, lovely lanterns, bright ornaments, and more!


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mjr4 wrote
on 17 Oct 2012 12:30 PM

I think using birds in our art is a symbol of our need for freedom: freedom from restrictions; freedom to allow our imaginations to soar; freedom to have something beautiful, fragile and yet strong into our lives.

Katie Storer wrote
on 17 Oct 2012 3:48 PM

Most birds are exquisitely beautiful.  Most people like birds...there are exceptions, of course, to everything.  On top of that, most can sing delightful songs (while there are quite a few that just make a lot of noise).  They are small creatures loved the world over.  They can sing the most beautiful songs..and music is supposed to be the common language world-wide.  Even the most plain birds are lovely, if you look closely enough.  Why would an artist want to make birds?  My question is why would an artist NOT want to make birds?  They are always lovely subjects to use in our art!  Thanks for the ideas.  

on 20 Oct 2012 4:27 AM

I absolutely love birds on all soughts of art works

They represent freedom to me. Watching the birds in my garden I get a sense of playfullness and this is why I love them in my artwork.

windycindy wrote
on 20 Oct 2012 10:45 AM

I am not the best seamstress, but my friend and I are looking

for a unique Christmas gift for our stamping group friends.

It would be wonderful to make a garland of these adorable

birds for each member/friend...

Again,  thanks so much!



kattfive wrote
on 20 Oct 2012 2:01 PM

The birds are very cute.  Great idea.  The birds are a symbol of freedom and tranquility.

kfordwalters wrote
on 20 Oct 2012 2:33 PM

I just love the birds.  I use a lot of birds too.  Will have to try them with felt.

tamjay5 wrote
on 20 Oct 2012 3:13 PM

When I think of birds, I think of their happy chirping and pretty songs.  They remind me of a warm morning when the sun is shining, and birds are flying about.  For me, I think birds are a symbol of this happy feeling.

joanvanc wrote
on 21 Oct 2012 7:16 AM

Love the birds. I never heard of wool felt. This would be a fun project for the winter. Thanks for sharing.

NancyL1980 wrote
on 21 Oct 2012 7:22 PM

WindyCindy has the right idea!

NancyL1980 wrote
on 21 Oct 2012 7:25 PM

Windycindy has the right idea!

I wish we could of had the bird pattern with the article!

DebbieW wrote
on 17 Nov 2012 11:58 AM

cloth.paper scissors is rocking this week. These would make terrific tree ornaments. Sooo happy. : )

on 26 Jul 2013 6:00 PM

This is when the gift-making season goes into high gear, so I thought I would round up some of my favorite easy gifts to make from around the Cloth Paper Scissors community. There's sure to be something here that you would like to make for your friends