Well I’ve finally started one of my mega-projects. Remember how I said that I want to turn the blank side of J’s Art Activity Center into a felt board? Well, I decided it was time to actually DO it!
So my end goal is to make all of the characters/props from all of the princess stories out of felt so she can reenact it. Ya know, no big deal.
I decided to start with Cinderella.
First I made a list: Cinderella in her rags, Cinderella in her pink dress, Cinderella in her blue dress, glass slippers, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Lucifer, Bruno, 2 birds, Gus, Jaq, the Fairy Godmother, a pumpkin, the coach, the Grand Duke and the Prince. Pssshhh, simple!!!!
I knew my Silhouette was going to play a giant part in this project. I opened up the program and got to work. I’m not going to lie…making all of the templates took FOREVER. And of course I can’t figure out how to upload a Silhouette Studio document on here on the off chance you already own one and are planning on doing something like this. Figures. If you do want my Studio document leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send it to you that way!
I used Continually Creative’s princess template to start. I opened up Cinderella, saved her to my computer and opened the downloaded file in the Silhouette program. I’ve made felt people before for J’s Quiet Books so I already had a felt person (you can find the template for the person I used on Serving Pink Lemonade’s blog here). I resized the body template to what seemed like a good size for a felt board. I moved the Cinderella template on top of it and sized it so it fit well. Then I used the trace feature and ungrouped the tracing so I had the separate pieces of her dress and hair.
I went to Google Images to search for all of the other characters, and then repeated those steps for everyone else.
I spent days and days and days and days and days of nap times (seriously, I’m not exaggerating) recreating everyone in my Silhouette program. Then the easy part: cutting and gluing. If you don’t own a Silhouette (which you really should. Seriously, go buy one immediately!) this part will take you a lot longer since you’ll have to cut it all out by hand.
In Silhouette Studio I took each separate piece of each individual outfit and grouped them next to one another. I colored each shape so I would know what felt color each piece needed, which saved time during the cutting phase. Here’s a screenshot of my computer to give you an idea as to what I’m talking about…After I colored and arranged all of the pieces I used the print and cut feature. If you’re unfamiliar with this feature it’s simple: you load the paper into your printer where it prints out your creation, then you lay it on your cutting mat, load it into the Silhouette and the machine cuts out everything for you! It cut out all of those teeny tiny pieces for me! Amazing!!
Next I filled an entire 8×11 inch page on the Silhouette program with blank people. I picked up some skin tone felt from Michaels (since that’s apparently the one color I don’t have!). In order to cut felt with the Silhouette a bit of prep work is required. You need to purchase some Heat n Bond. I bought 5 yards prepackaged from Walmart since I’m constantly cutting felt and it was the most cost-effective way I found at the time. When I first started out I just purchased the 1.5 yard package from Michaels and used a 40% off coupon to lower the price.
Cut your Heat n Bond to the correct size and iron it to the “wrong” side of the felt (obviously there isn’t a right or wrong side of felt. Basically just pick a side).There are instructions included, but really that’s all there is to it. Then stick the felt onto the cutting mat with the Heat n Bond against the sticky side. Load it into the machine. Set your blade to 10, your speed to 3 and thickness to 33. I usually check the ‘double cut’ box as well.Just like you should have special scissors that are only used for cutting fabric, the same goes for a special Silhouette blade. They do sell fabric blades, but they’re the exact same thing as a normal blade, just in a blue casing so it’s easy to tell it apart from your others. I simply took an extra blade I hadn’t opened yet, wrapped masking tape around it and drew a big ‘F’ on it.
There is a downside to using the Silhouette to cut felt. Because you have to use the Heat n Bond in order to send it through the machine, the side that had the Heat n Bond leaves a shiny “thing” on it. I don’t know how to describe it. Oh–it’d be like if you put clear Scotch tape on the felt. It’s not sticky and it doesn’t peel off or do anything–but felt won’t stick to felt anymore.
In order to get around this situation I made sure to glue the clothing pieces on the wrong side of the felt–the side the Heat n Bond was ironed onto. That way the body will stick to the felt board without any issues at all.
I peeled the clothing pieces off of the cutting mat, focusing on one character/object at a time. They were tiny pieces and I didn’t want to lose any of them. And then since nothing had to be precise, I simply held the template onto the felt with one hand and cut it out with the other. I arranged the pieces onto the body and hot glued everything on.
I used this template for the Prince and Grand Duke, changing what was needed to customize their outfits. I used my Cinderella template for Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia and pink Cinderella.For rags Cinderella I used the templates I had saved for Anna and Elsa (which were next on my list), which can be found here. For the Fairy Godmother, Jaq, Gus and Lucifer I used the stock images from Disney and recreated them as best as I could. It’s been about a month since I’ve made the characters and somehow Jaq has been lost.The birds, dog and pumpkin images were all preloaded onto my Silhouette. For the coach I just cut out two pumpkins (one orange and one white) and then added a window, wheels and a twirly thing to turn it into a coach. Apparently the coach and Bruno are hanging out with Jaq in no man’s land as well. If you want to see Jaq and Bruno just check out the photo of the entire cast below. Fortunately I was smart enough to take a picture immediately after I finished making them–before they could get lost or ruined.