Because most of my cookie cutters are vintage, I’m still protective of them and am not interested in altering or damaging them; yet their simple & charming shapes seem to beckon to be put to use more often then just to make sweet treats.
I’d long been thinking that cookie cutters would make great templates for simple crafts for kids. So I put it to the test with Destiny, my (then) 12 year old, making felt ornaments. (With the various shapes, these can be used for nearly any holiday decorations.)
#1 Trace the cookie cutter onto felt with a pen — twice.
(Note: If using patterned felt that’s only got the pattern printed on one side, you’ll need to cut out one piece, then flip it over and trace it onto the patterned felt; otherwise the pieces won’t both be patterned on the ‘outside’.)
#2 Cut out the shapes.
#3 Match up the shapes, then sew them together with embroidery floss using the whip stitch. Start stitching between the two layers of felt, hiding the knot; and stop before stitching all the way around, leaving an opening for the stuffing.
(The whip stitch was a new stitch for Destiny — but she picked it up really fast!)
#4 Stuff with cotton balls (as well as felt scraps from cutting & trimming and left over bits of thread).
#5 Finish sewing & then decorate. Children can make the eyes & other details by sewing on other bits of felt, using knots &/or other sewing stitches, or gluing on ‘google eyes’, pipe cleaners, and whatever other crafty bits you have around the house.
Voila! You have handmade family heirlooms!
Destiny had so much fun, she kept making more of them — for 4 hours. And she plans to continue to make more. (Rather amazing as I had great trouble getting her to finish her latch-hook rug. I think the fact that one of these ornaments can be completed comparatively fast, giving her a sense of satisfaction quickly.)
Other ideas: These do not need to only be Christmas tree ornaments or holiday decorations. They can be shade pulls, key rings, jacket pulls, cellphone &/or purse decorations. If made with just one piece of felt, glue magnets onto the backs and use them to hold up notes and more kids’ art on the refrigerator. The felt shapes also can be used as appliques for patches on clothing, to make pins, or for more complicated sewing projects. Who knows what ideas you and your kids will come up with?
It’s inexpensive too. Felt pieces are (currently at Hobby Lobby) 5 pieces for $1 for solid colors and 2 for $1 for patterned pieces; embroidery floss runs between $1-$2. Everything else (scissors, cotton balls, needle etc.) can be found in the home.
It’s a great simple and inexpensive way to have children make gifts for family and friends, keep them busy and creative on days off from school (and away from video games etc.) as well as to teach them to sew.