Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tutorial! Felt Advent Wreath

My family is observing advent for the first time this year
(And I figured out an affordable, yet still beautiful diy wreath to use before we decide on the style we want to purchase for a permanent wreath.
Just take a bundt pan you already own, get some small pillar candles, and cranberries. Mine has about 1 and half bags of cranberries (the excess will be used to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving). And there you have it.)

My dilema came when I realized I have two daughters, 3 1/2 year old and 19 month old, who would love to participate but really shouldn't be playing with fire. I saw a felt wreath online, reasonably priced, but with a few bad reviews. Then it occurred to me I could very easily make a wreath. So I did. And for less that $7!

You will need:
Felt: 2 sheets green (1 sheet is for the base, 1 sheet is for the holly leaves)
        1 sheet red
        1 sheet gold
        1 sheet pink
        1 sheet purple 
  The green is the only piece you will use most of. 
Scraps of quilt batting (or additional layer of felt, which would use up some of that excess felt)
   4 - 3" x 2 1/2" (bigger or smaller if you use a different size dowel) rectangles, plus 5 1/2" square
Wooden dowel - Mine was 5/8" diameter, cut Four 3" pieces, sand down the edges
8 super strong magnets
Coordinating thread or embroidery floss
Embroidery needle
Sewing machine (though all of this can be done by hand, the only part I used my machine for was the leaves)
Something firm to use inside the base. I used scraps of plasticard that my husband had. Cardboard, cereal box, Chinet paper plates, etc. would work. You just want something that will keep it stable.

Now get to work:

Prep your base.
The outside diameter is 5 1/2". The interior diameter is 3 1/2". As we used scraps they are overlapped and glued together with super glue.

Next attach 4 of your magnets to the bottom of your base, using super glue, evenly spaced at the 4 "corners". (Sorry missed a photo of this.)
While you're gluing magnets, glue the other 4 magnets to the bottom of your wooden dowels. Be sure that you place your magnets properly on both the base and the dowels so that you won't have any polarization issues. 
Now get to work cutting all your felt. 
For the candles: 3 purple and 1 pink 4" x 2 7/8" rectangles 
3 purple and 1 pink circle slightly larger than the dowel (the one pictured is actually too large, I ended up trimming it down)
To sew the circle onto the side, line up the center of the circle with the bottom edge of the rectangle. Using a coordinating thread/embroidery floss start stitching along the matching edge with a whip stitch. only allow for about 1/8" seem allowance. (And pardon my chipped finger nail polish. *See note at end of tutorial*)
You will need to readjust the alignment of the circle with the rectangle every few stitches to ensure you get a properly curved bottom. 
Continue working your way around the circle. You should end up with about 1/4" overlap, just stitch to the end of the circle and leave that overlap hanging for now. Unthread your needle, but leave the excess length of thread there because you will use in later to stitch the side closed. 

Repeat with the 3 other circles and rectangles. 

Now take your rectangle of batting and wrap it around the dowel. It should fit perfectly. Thread your needle with whatever you wish (some of mine were pink inside, some purple. I think one was even yellow), and take big whip stitches to cinch the batting together around the dowel.  Pull it tight and knot it at the top.
Now insert the dowel, magnet side to the bottom into your prepared felt "pouches".
Rethread your needle onto the loose bit of thread you left from sewing on the circle. Tuck the inside edge of the candle base under the overlap, pushing/pulling as tightly as you can, and do a whip stitch up the side of the candle. 
When you get to the top of the dowel, but NOT the top of the piece of felt, stop stitching, and again leave your excess thread dangling (I apparently used a really long piece of embroidery floss!), and repeat with the other 3 candles. 

Now prep the flames. (I apologize I do not have any templates for anything, as I slightly destroyed them when using them to cut out my pieces. Also I cannot draw worth anything, so my husband drew a flame and a holy leaf for me *shhh*, so just come up with the best you can, or borrow a friend who is capable of drawing a flame and holly leave, lol.)
I used 2 layers of felt for this, and stitched them together with a running stitch about 1/8" in. I was going to get all fancy and do another interior stitch in orange, but decided I'd rather just finish the thing than make it super decorative. Plus I can still go back and do that now if I really wanted to.
At my husband's suggestion I rounded the bottom, and it tucks so wonderfully into the tip of the candle and sits on the dowel. (I love that there is a crafter hidden inside of him and that he helps me out with these things.)
But wait! BEFORE you put the flame into the tip of the candle, take a running stitch around the top of the felt. You may want to trim about 1/8" off the top of the felt so it doesn't extend up too high on your flame, that is up to you. I didn't on one of them, see if you can tell which one it is. DO NOT PULL ON YOUR RUNNING STITCH. After you have stitched all the way around, tuck your flame inside, as pictured above. 
Now you can pull your running stitch tightly, cinching the top of your candle closed. 
Then if you have a bunch of extra floss/thread still, you can wrap it around the tip a time or two, still pulling very rightly. Then run some stitches through the top so that you secure your flame on the inside, because, lets face it, it is inevitable that children will pull on them. Then tie off your thread and finally trip off the excess. And repeat with the other 3 candles. 
Now onto the base.

I apologize, I am seriously lacking in photos in this section. I took a break for dinner and getting the kiddos to bead and moved to the living room and forgot to bring the camera with me. 

You will need to cut 2 felt circles about 1/4" larger than your base insert, and trim out the middle with about 1/4" seam allowance as well. 
I also put a piece of batting on the bottom to better protect surfaces from the magnets. It should also be noted that I put the magnets on the bottom of the plasticard so that when the candles are pulled off it would not stretch the felt in that spot (my husbands recommendation again. Such a helpful guy!).

I embroidered a little yellow X on the top piece so the girls would know where the candles should be placed, and so I would remember to leave space for the candles when sewing on the leaves.
Now you need to cut out a whole bunch of holly leaves. And again I apologize for my lack of template for you. Mine are about 2" tall and just over 1" wide. I cut 36 of them and doubled them up.
I used my sewing machine and stitched down the center of the leaves to connect the 2 together, and also used my machine to sew them in place on the top layer of the base. Make sure you do not stitch within 1/4" of the edge of the base so that you will be able to sew it to the bottom base (on the outside AND inside). Just workout whatever placement looks good to you. I didn't stitch the full length again when sewing them to the base, just make sure they are sewn on enough, with some good backstitching so little hands won't pull them off. Mine is already missing a leaf. 
Next cut out some little circles and stitch the holly berries in place. I just did a little star X stitch with embroidery floss. 

And the final step is assembling the base. I used double stick tape inside of mine to get all the layers to stay put while I was stitching. Make sure that your top portion is lined up properly with your magnets otherwise those little X's are going to be pointless. 
So take your top layer with the holy leaves, then the hard interior, followed by the batting and then the bottom piece of felt. I just used the same whip stitch to stitch the layers together, fairly close together and knotting at the end. 

And there you have it. A kid friendly advent wreath. Now I am off to figure out how we actually celebrate advent. =)

**For personal use only.**

*Note about my fingernails and a cool tip from Pinterest. Paint your nails in a light color, mine are white, then dip them in rubbing alcohol. While they are still wet you can apply a small piece of newspaper or scrapbook paper to them and the design or words will transfer to your nails. I put a light coat of glitter over the top because I was lacking in clear coat. Now if I could just get a pain job to last more than 2 days.


  1. Awesome! Thanks for posting this! :) I'm also following you on GFC!

  2. You're so crafty, I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. So crafty and cute!

    Just found you through the Preparing for Jesus link-up and am excited to "meet" you. Also, Also, I wanted to invite you to participate in our weekly Sunday link-up anytime you would like: http://traininghappyhearts.blogspot.com/search/label/Training%20Happy%20Hearts%20in%20Young%20Children

    Happy Advent!

  4. Hi, there! Love your tutorial, and having a great time exploring your blog!

    Can you tell me what magnets you used? Mine are fighting each other, despite double and triple checking the polarity.


  5. I used the rare earth type magnets from Hobby Lobby. My husband had the job of making sure the magnets were facing right way, I think he ended up marking one side of each with a permanent marker so he'd know which side was which. Good luck!

  6. Brilliant!!! I've linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip:


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