If there’s one thing that I can confidently say my kids might love even more than crafting, it’s reading. Needless to say, I’m thrilled and very proud about those facts! I often like to combine their love for crafting with other things they enjoy in order to keep them feeling motivated and excited about DIY, so I’ve long been thinking about helping them make some cool homemade bookmarks. I’ve also, however, been thinking about teaching them the basics of hand stitching so that they might eventually be interested in learning how to sew. Then I had the idea of combining all of those elements into one project and that’s how these fun little sequinned felt bird bookmarks came to be!
Before I’d even shown anyone what we made, I had a sneaking suspicion that other crafty parents would want to know how these were done, and I was right. Luckily, my hunch lead me to document the process of the bookmark I made alongside the kids in order to make a tutorial! Look at the post below this to find written instructions with photos for each step, or skip to the bottom of the post to watch the video tutorial if you’re more of a visual learner.
For this project, you’ll need:
- Template (which you can download here)
- Paper clips
- Felt (blue and pink)
Gather your materials! I printed out my template first things first.
Cut all of the pieces out of your template. You’ll use these as guides to trace and cut the right shapes in the right sizes onto and out of your felt sheets in each colour. You’ll see when you’re done that you actually have two of each shape. This is because you’re going to make two of each piece; one for each side of the flat bird so it looks great from any direction. You might use the same piece twice, but some people prefer to keep things separated by size when they work with templates, so this one provides you with the doubles.
Place each piece onto whichever colour of felt sheet you want to make that part of the bird out of and use your marker to trace around the paper template onto the fabric below. Remember that you need two of each shape, or one outline of each individual paper piece (depending on your preferences). I made the tiny rounded eyes from black felt, the little triangular beaks from purple felt, the two wings from blue felt, and the two sides of the bird’s body from pink felt. When it comes to doing your second version of each piece, flip it so it mirrors your first traced shape; you’re going to be putting the pieces against each other, so you want them to fit like even opposites. Use your scissors to cut each piece out, trimming off as much of your marker trace lines as possible.
Thread your needle and knot the ends so you can’t pull them clear through the front of the felt. Put your needle through the felt from the back to the front of your first blue wing, anchoring the knotted ends lightly against against the back. Pick up a sequin and put the tip of your needle through the hole, then slide the sequin all the way down the needle and the thread to rest flat against the felt at the base of where your thread came through. Bring your needle back down, lift the sequin slightly, and put the needle through the felt right underneath the sequin, near where you started. Pull the needle through and to the back, pulling the thread through too and carefully tightening it around the edge of the sequin. Be careful not to pull the needle and thread too tightly, or the felt will buckle and the sequin will stick up at an odd angle instead of laying flat. Poke your needle back through to the front from the back in a different spot and repeat the process. You’ll do this all over the wing, changing your needle position each time to scatter the sequins all the way across. After your last sequin, turn the wing over and use the needle to make a knot in the thread, tightened all the way to the thread’s base, against the back of the felt piece. Use your scissors to trim your excess and free your needle. Re-thread your needle if you need to here and then repeat the entire sequin stitching process on the second wing! Then set your wings aside for the moment.
Choose one side of your bird’s body and pick which side you and to be the outside and which you’d like to make the inside. Usually, the outside (which is the side that will show) is the side you like better or that looks neater. Turn the felt piece so that the nicer side you want to show off is face down on the table. On the inner side (the one that won’t show), apply a dot of hot glue near the top edge. Here, you’ll stick down the end of your paper clip that only has one curved piece face in that direction (not the open pinching end that has two curved pieces facing in the opposite direction). Once your paper clip is in place, apply hot glue around its stuck down end, all over the rest of the inside of the bird. Carefully line up the other bird piece that will make up the other side and stick it down with its edges evenly matched to the first side all the way around, covering the glued end of your paper clip. The base of your bookmark is now finished and ready to embellish.
Pick up the wing that fits the side of the bird that’s facing you (with its thicker rounded end towards the bird’s head and its tapered tip towards the bird’s tail). Turn the wing over so the side that has no sequins is facing you and apply glue all over. Turn the wing back over and stick it down into place. Repeat this process on the other side with the second wing, flipping the bird over to work with the opposite side.
Glue on the birds eye and beak on the side facing you, then flip the bird over and glue them in the corresponding spots on the other side as well to finish the bookmark off.
You now have a sparkly little felt bird! Slide the open end of the paper clip onto the top edge of your page to mark your place. As usual, you can always get creative with other colour choices than what I’ve done here. If you’d like to see each of the steps in more action, check out this video tutorial!