Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Love is Sweet! Felt Heart Garland Project

For someone who loves pink and girly things, I don't have a lot of Valentine's Day decor. I browsed Pinterest for some different ideas for Valentine's Day crafts (I talked about that here), and decided to start with a felt heart garland. Since we were expecting a snow storm last weekend, I stopped off at the craft store on my way home from school on Friday to pick up some supplies.

I love to have a good project to work on while watching a movie or catching up on DVR, so it was a perfect opportunity to play around with my new pinking shears and some pink and white felt.

While I was at it, I picked up some pink berry sprays with half-completed wreath in mind. I actually started working on it about a year ago, and had never settled on a purpose for it. Who knows? Maybe I can turn it into another Valentine's Day project.

Anyway, I got working, cutting out some hearts in all of the different colors, using both regular and pinking scissors. I folded the felt in half and cut the teardrop-like shape of half a heart. This ensures that they are symmetrical, but I did need to touch them up sometimes. If you aren't comfortable eyeballing it, you could certainly trace a stencil with chalk or marker, and then flip them over so you couldn't see the outline. I went with about 3" across in size, but it is totally up to your preference.

I wasn't too worried about perfection, I really just planned out which type of heart it would be before cutting them. I wanted some with the pinked edges and some with straight edges, some with both. I made some all one color and most two colors. As I went along, I tried to use each color equally, for both the center and border colors. Again, I didn't feel like it needed to be perfectly scientific, but I did count the times each color was used to ensure balance. In total, I made 16 hearts, but not for any specific reason. Follow your heart (see what I did there?) and make as many as you want.

Before I put everything away, I laid them all out on the floor and tried to make sure I had enough of every color, and not too many or few of one color in particular. At this point, I wasn't sure if I would make two smaller or one larger garland, but it was helpful just to see them all laid out.

The next step was to sew the hearts together. You could do this in many different ways. I don't have a sewing machine and wanted the look of more handmade, large stitching in a contrast color, so I went that route. I used embroidery floss and ended up spitting it in half to thread through my needle. The thread I bought had 6 individual strands, so I just cut the length I wanted and split it in half, saving the other half to use for another heart. I just chose a color that contrasted well, and got to work, sewing around the smaller heart to make a stitched border.

I'm by no means a seamstress, but this was easy enough. Start and end in the back, tie it off and trim off any excess. I tried keep the border the same width and stitches evenly placed. Some are better than others, and I hope that none of you will be pulling out your rulers to measure. If you are, though, well... sorrynotsorry

The next thing to do was to determine what I would string the hearts onto. I have tons of pink bakers' twine leftover from wedding crafting, so I decided to use that. I think there are a few ways to complete this step, and depending on what you are using to hang them on, some ways might work better than others. I had contemplated using some pink polka dot ribbon that I had on hand, but I wondered about the one-sided ribbon laying flat, and how I would attach it. I think hot glue would have worked, but I'm not sure how it would have looked. Let me know if you try it!

I laid the hearts out in the order I wanted to go with, and measured the length of twine I'd need. I used a needle to thread the hearts onto the twine, which seemed to work okay. You'll need a needle with a bigger eye, since the twine is definitely thicker than traditional thread. I ended up using another needle to bend open the eye a bit more, but maybe you have a needle that will work.

It's important to thread the twine at the top of the heart, so that they hang nicely. I did the first couple through the middle, and they kind of flipped around and hung off kilter when I held up the twine to look at it. Fortunately, they're easy to take off, and redo. I ended up trying to string them as close to the top as I could, but below the stitching line (pictured above). Since I only threaded through the back heart, I didn't want to see the thread coming across the top where it was only one layer.

Since the hearts will slide easily on the thread, don't worry about spacing as you go. The twine is thick enough that the hearts will stay put where you place them, without needing to secure them by sewing them or gluing them in one spot. I just threaded them all on and then slide them into place, evenly spaced. That made this step pretty quick.

The last step is to hang them! I tried both layering two together and hanging them separately, and liked the look of both options.

I left one hanging on the hutch base that was my grandparents'. It also has these LOVE blocks on top.

I decided to hang the other on a dresser in the living room. This holds board games, DVDs and BluRays, and Rich's PS3 games. It's also home to my chalkboard canvas.

I have tons of felt leftover, so I may make another one or two, since I loved the layered look. For now, I decided to spread them out in two different spaces. I'm really happy with how they turned out! This was a pretty simple project that was done over the course of a few sittings. I'd say it took a couple of hours total.

Here's what you need to make your own!
-Coloful felt (1 sheet of 4 colors made 16 approximately 3" hearts)
-Scissors (and pinking shears- the kind meant for fabric, not paper- if you want some zigzag edges)
-Needle and embroidery floss (one bundle of floss would certainly be enough for the project, but I chose three different colors for variety)
-Bakers' twine, more embroidery floss, or ribbon for stringing or hanging hearts

Cost breakdown:
- Felt: $1.36 total, $0.34 per sheet (I used 4 sheets)
- Embroidery Floss: $1.20 total, $0.40 per bundle (I bought three)
Total estimated cost of this project: $2.56

Note: I purchased pinking shears for this, but since I will use them for plenty of other projects, I didn't count them toward my cost. I believe that I paid around $10 for them, using a coupon.

Helpful Hint: Use smartphone apps for your craft stores for coupons, and if you're a teacher like me, apply and use a Teacher Rewards Card (both of the craft stores I shop at offer 15% total purchase, every day) It's a great way to save!

I hope you give this a try, and let me know how it goes!


  1. Love your photos! Love your blog! :)
    Check it out. Maybe you can give me some tips.:)

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for reading, and commenting, too! I'd love to check out your blog- thanks! :)

    2. So cute! You may have just inspired a weekend craft!

    3. Thanks, Shannon! It was fun to make! I may make a couple more this weekend, too. :)


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