Hi crafters! I hope you are keeping well. As it will be Remembrance Day soon in the UK, I thought I would do a tutorial on how to make a felt poppy. The poppy has become the symbol of remembrance for military members that died or suffered in war and the Poppy Appeal helps to raise awareness and funds for the Royal British Legion, a charity that supports past and present service members and their families.
My Grandad, who was in the RAF, made me aware of the history and importance of Remembrance Day from an early age and we could never pass a poppy seller without him handing me his loose change to put in the collection tin. So, for this post I thought I’d try to find a way to show support for Remembrance Day and The Poppy Appeal and to help mark this year being the 100th year anniversary of the end of WW1. Feel free to share this tutorial with clubs, schools and of course feel free to use it for fundraising. The felt poppy is meant to compliment the paper poppies, not replace them, as poppies serve as a great way to raise money for the important work that the British Legion do.
I have made two different tutorials for the poppies, they both look similar and are both made from felt, one is made from cutting and sewing felt sheets, the other is made through the process of needle felting. The poppy made from felt sheets is the easiest one to make and is made from easily obtained materials, it would also be a great project to make with kids. Both poppies can be made from a template like the ones below and turned into brooches, hair clips or added to bags or key rings.
For the Poppy & Leaf template, simply save the image below to your computer, print off and use as a template for both projects:
To make a poppy from felt sheets
You will need:
- 1 felt sheet in red
- 1 felt sheet in green
- A black button
- Needle and thread
- Brooch pin (optional)
- Templates (see above)
First, download and print the templates. Using the template, cut out three petals from the red felt sheet and cut out two leaves from the green felt sheet.
Lay out the petals. Take one petal and overlap it with another one so that all the petals fit nicely together.
Take some thread and stitch the petals together around the centre, with the same thread stitch the leaves onto the back of the poppy. Next, take your button and stitch it onto the centre of the poppy. You can then add on a brooch pin, safety pin, hair clip, etc.
To make the needle felted poppy
Needle felting is the process of taking wool fibres and felting them together by using a barbed needle. As the needle moves in and out of the fibres they become matted or knotted together to form felt. Needle felting can sculpt wool fibres to any shape you desire.
I have some other needle felting tutorials on this blog that you can check out for some more information on needle felting. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to push your needle into the fibre at a slight angle and that you need to pull the needle out in the same angle as you pushed it in this is because the needles are quite fine and can break. Also, the needles are barbed and can hurt if you accidentally prick your finger with one, so a leather finger guard is probably a good idea.
You will need:
- Wool fibres (pre-spun wool also known as wool roving) in red, green and black.
- Needle felting needles
- Needle felting mat/pad
- Leather finger guard
- Brooch pin (optional)
- Templates (see above)
First download and print the poppy making templates. These templates can be used as a guide for forming the shape and size of the poppy petals and leaves. You can check your petal and leaf shapes against the templates as you go.
Take some red wool fibres and create a loose loop with them that roughly fits around the petal template, tuck the ends of that loop around the bottom of the template and up towards the centre of the template. Place the fibres on your mat/pad and use your single needle to start felting the fibres together. Add more fibres to your petal shape as you go, filling in any thinning areas or to ‘pad-out’ your shape. The shape will shrink as you felt the fibres together as the fibres tighten each time you push and pull the needle through. Check the petal shape against the template every now and again. When you’re happy with your first petal repeat the process to make two more.
To make the leaves you need to take some green wool fibres and make a small loop that fits around the tip of your leaf template, take that loop to your mat/pad and start felting just the tip of that loop, leave the rest of the fibres loose. Once you have a rough shape of the tip take it back to your template.
Take another small loop of fibres and lay over one of the loops at the side of the leaf template, this should overlap with the loose fibres under the tip of the leaf. Take it back to your pad and felt this loop into shape and onto the loose fibres under the top of the leaf. When this loop has become roughly shaped and attached to the leaf repeat the loop adding process on the opposite side of the loop you’ve just attached. Once these two points of the leaf are added you will need to repeat the process of creating and adding loops to make the bottom points of the leaf, this will complete the outline of the leaf.
Add wool fibres to ‘fill-in’ the outline. Keep adding fibres as you felt the leaf into shape, this will help give some strength to the shape and make the shape more defined. If you needle felt more in an area those fibres will tighten and can ‘pinch’ the fibres around it, this can help to create points or indents in the shape or surface you are felting.
Once you have needle felted the petals and leaves you will need to felt the pieces together. Take your petals and arrange them with the petals overlapping each other on one side. Take your needle and push it through the bottom of the petals where the petals overlap. As you push and pull the needle through the petals the fibres they will bind together and be secured. Place the leaves under the flower and push your needle through the leaves into the centre of the flower until the leaves are fixed in place.
Don’t worry about making your needle felted pieces perfect or identical, petals and leaves often differ in shape and size, work with the quirkiness and rusticity of this craft rather than against it.
To finish, take some black wool fibres and felt them into a ball for the centre of the poppy. To make a rounded shape keep folding the fibres towards the middle and keep rotating the fibres between needle pushes. Place the ball of felt into the centre of the flower and attach it by pushing your needle through the ball and the centre of the flower, keep felting it into the centre until it’s securely attached. Finish by affixing a brooch pin, safety pin, hair clip etc.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, if you make any poppies please share them below or on the Crafting with Hochanda Facebook Group. Thank you for stopping by. Lore x