Friday, August 13, 2010

A Tutorial for Counting Sheep Bean Bags

How to Make Counting Sheep Bean Bags

This herd of fleecy cuteness can be used for your traditional bean bag games (tosses, juggling, what have you)  or a rousing game of Hide and Sheep.  You can also use them to practice counting (by 1's, 2's, etc.) or for recognizing odd and even numbers.  With the addition of math symbols and a few extra numbers you can lay them out to make simple math problems, too! 

*See the original Counting Sheep Bean Bags post for more photos.

Supplies You'll Need
Template for sheep body parts (you can download mine or make your own)
Template for proportionately-sized numbers (you can download mine or make your own)
Large pieces of fleece or felt - two 7" x 6" (approx.) pieces for each sheep body
Scraps of fleece or felt for the heads, legs, ears, and numbers
Marker, fabric pen, or chalk (for dark colors) to trace the shapes onto your fleece or felt
Quick-drying craft glue (I used Fabri-Tac)
A stuffing medium (rice, popcorn kernels, dry beans, small scraps of fabric, polyfil, etc.)
A small funnel (optional)

Trace and Cut Your Pieces:
Trace the sheep's body onto a piece of fleece.  I had to use chalk for tracing onto the black fleece and was able to use a Sharpie for the other colors. 

Pin this fleece (with the traced shape) on top of another piece of fleece.  Now you have a double layer of fleece to cut through.  This saves time and helps to ensure that the front and back body pieces match up.

Cut inside of the traced line so that there are no markings on the finished pieces. 

The head, ear, and legs can also be traced onto the fleece and then cut out inside of the lines.  Or you can do what I did, which I think is faster and easier.  I pinned the template piece onto the fleece and used my super-sharp scissors (the ones with the swan handle that I usually use for embroidery) to snip around the shapes. 

Unpin and use the scissors to sculpt any rough edges. 

You'll also find that since the legs are just a basic rectangle that you can snip strips of fleece instead of using the template for a guide. 

When you're finished cutting out all of your pieces you should have 2 main body pieces, 1 head, 1 ear and 2 legs.  You'll also need a paper number and a scrap of fleece that's just slightly larger than the number.

Number Your Sheep:
Your sheep body has two pieces and from here on out we'll be refering to them as the front piece and the back piece.  With that said, flip your front piece over and flip your paper number over.  Pin the number to the center of the fleece. 

Trace around the number (and any center shapes it may have, too).  Unpin the paper and use some super-sharp scissors to cut inside the lines so your tracing marks don't show up on the finished product.  If you're doing a number that has extra center pieces (0, 4,6, 8, 9) be sure to cut out those pieces and save them.

Still working with the sheep piece flipped over, apply a line of glue around the number shape.

Place your scrap of fleece (if it has a right or wrong side, be sure the wrong side is facing up towards you) over the glue.  Let it dry for a couple of minutes (or more depending on your glue) before moving on to the next step. 

Flip the body piece over so the right side is facing up and glue on any center shapes.

Trim off the excess fleece to reduce one wants a bulky sheep.

Attach the Appendages:
Set the front body piece aside because now it's time to work with the back body piece.  The head and the legs are going to be sandwiched between the two body pieces on your finished sheep.  To make sure they don't budge while you're sewing and stuffing we're going to use small glue dots to hold them in place.  Position the legs and head where you want them to be and glue them to the back sheep piece (on what's technically the wrong side of it - aka the side that won't be visible on the finished product).

Set the back sheep piece aside to dry while you work on the ear.  Put a small glue dot near the flat end of the ear.

Pinch the two long sides of the ear together. 

It's helpful to let a heavy object do the pinching for you so you don't have to hold it until the glue dries.

Sandwich Time:
Pin the two wrong sides of the sheep body pieces together.  You'll  want to line/match everything up because this is exaclty how the finished product will look.  No, I didn't forget about the ear...don't attach it yet.

Now you're going to sew about 1/4-1/2" seam along the edge of the sheep - leaving a 1" opening for stuffing. (You may want to leave a bigger opening if you're using fabric scraps or polyfil or if you don't have a funnel.)  I wanted my opening to be at the bottom of the sheep, kind of between the legs.

After you've sewn and you've got your opening, you can attach the ear. Just hold it in place and sew back and forth along the flat end a couple of times.

Stuffed Mutton:
Use a funnel (if you've got one) to stuff your sheep.  How full you stuff him is a personal preference.  Just make sure that he's not too full to be sewn closed.

After he's sufficiently stuffed, line up the edges of the opening and sew it closed.

Snip any dangling threads and you've completed your first sheep! 

I hope ewe had fun making him and that ewe don't stay up pasture bedtime creating a whole herd of bean bag sheep....they're kind of addictive like that! 

Please feel free to share with me what you create using this tutorial.  There's a good chance that I'll feature it on my blog!  Also, I'd love any constructive criticism you have to offer (does something not make sense?  are there any spelling errors? etc.).

oneprettything  SweetCharli

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  1. these are very cute! I think I might try some!

  2. Love your blog, Megan! Just wanted to let you know that I just awarded you the Versatile Blogger. :)

  3. LOVE THESE. Now I just need a sewing machine. I'm linking to this post on my blog today.

  4. These are so sweet! My daughters would love them. I'll have to make a set. Just found your blog through Skip to my Lou. Very nice.

  5. Found this through Sumo's Sweet Stuff, and I love, love, LOVE this idea! I am SO making these for my nephew!

  6. These sheep are so stinkin' cute! Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

  7. Those are the cutest little sheep ever! Love it!

  8. different sizes and soft materials. You must surely take your kid along with you while you are purchasing a bean bag for them. Some attractive options that can be purchased for your child are mentioned below.

    Outdoor Bean Bags

  9. I love your blog! I just wanted to let you know that I've added you to my blog roll:

    Amy Senter


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