Thursday, February 7, 2013

Felt bowtie pasta

I have these elaborate plans to make my daughter a lot of felt food for her (soon to be created) play kitchen.  These best intentions have so far not led to much of anything except a small pile of bowtie pasta.  Especially as I had plans to give her the play kitchen for... well... Christmas. 

But it turns out that bowtie pasta is really easy to make and looks very very realistic.

Felt in the desired pasta color
Pinking Shears
Thread in color to match pasta
needle and thread or sewing machine


1. Use the pinking shears to cut your felt into strips the width you want for your pasta 
2. Use the scissors to cut your pasta.

3. Fold it in half, and then fold the cut edges up to the middle fold. 

4. Use needle and thread or your sewing machine to sew it together at the fold.  I used the setting on my sewing machine that you can use to sew on buttons, basically you can just do a zig zag stitch with a  zero length or with the fabric feeds disengaged.  or you can just hand sew a tack, but I found sewing through four layers of felt more difficult than it was worth.  The tack runs perpendicular to the fold.

5. Cut the threads.  I found for extra security it was helpful to tie the strings together with small knots before snipping the excess thread, just to be 100% sure it would not come undone.

6. Voila!  Bowtie Pasta!

I gave her the pasta and she immediatly decided the best thing to do with it was to roll them in paint and then use them like small sponge paintbrushes.  So, now we have slightly deformed and very colorful play pasta.  Toddlers will be toddlers.  Gave me a good idea for a homemade "paintbrush" though.  Maybe I'll work on that after I finish this play kitchen. :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cardboard armchair "how to"

I'm back and slowly catching up on some ancient posts that I've been meaning to complete for a while!  I've taken a very sad hiaitus for creating much lately, and even more from blogging about what I have managed to do... but here are some instructions (and probably not enough pictures) for making a cardboard armchair for toddlers.

What you'll need:
Box big enough to be an entire armchair.
Something to put in the armchair to support weight.  I used two yoga bricks.  The height of what you choose will be the height of your seat and should be shorter than the box.
Duct tape
A few scrap pieces of cardboard.
cutting implement (such as x-acto knife or box cutter)

  • Remove the side flaps from the top and then tape shut along center and sides.
  • Sit your weight supports outside of the box and mark how high up they will go.  
  • Score a line along that height as long as you would like your seat to be.
  • Cut through the box UP from each end of that line to the top edge of the box.
  • Mark how far back you want your seat to go (seat depth).
  • Score a line along that depth as long as you did the line on the front.  These score lines should be parallel to each other and placed the same distance away from the box edges.
  • Cut through the box from each end of the line to the edge of the box to match the cuts you made for the front.
  • Open the box
  • Bend the cutout you just made inwards to form a seat.  You may need to score a line on the inside of the box where the bottom and back of the chair meet.  It probably won't be where the front flaps of the box are taped together.
  • Tape the weight support to the seat bottom.  This ensures that when your toddler sits in the chair it does not collapse.  I used a scrap piece of cardboard so that the duct tape would not make my yoga blocks sticky when I go to reclaim them.  I did not bother filling the rest of the box with anything because I didn't expect it to bear weight, but you could stuff it with pretty much anything to make it heavier if you wanted.  The important part is that you put something under the seat strong enough to hold the weight of whatever or whomever is going to sit in it. 
  • Cut to size and tape the cardboard scraps in to the sides of the armchair where there is a gap between the seat part and the top rest of the box.
  • At this point you should have something looking roughly like this:

  •  Close and tape the bottom of the box shut
  •  Flip it over and add more duct tape to protect and strengthen the seams.  I decided it looked best to just cover the whole seat area with duct tape, so I did that. 
  • Voila!

  •  Put it into your cardboard mansion, or you know, wherever you want to put it.
  • Enjoy!

We have had this box chair and the cardboard house it's in sitting in a main room of the house for about six months now, and aside from becoming more "decorated" with crayons and stickers, it is holding up beautifully!