Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Polar fleece cushions

My husband recently made polar fleece cushions with the boys' group from church.  Because polar fleece doesn't fray, you can cut it and use it for a range of crafts that don't require sewing.  So if you are looking for an easy craft for primary-aged kids, here is my polar fleece cushion tutorial.

Begin by cutting out two pieces of polar fleece to the same size.  A contrasting colour adds interest when you knot the edges.  Here I’ve used pieces approximately 50 cm square but size and shape are up to you.

Create some kind of guide for your cutting.  I placed a square of pins which will serve as a guide for the boys to cut up to and also hold the two pieces together and limit the chaos.  Little fingers find it hard to tie knots.  So if you are making up the craft for younger children, leave a big margin for the fringes so that they won’t be too short for little hands to knot.  I got a couple of pieces of off-cuts and played around with knotting the fabric until I found a length that I thought would be do-able for the boys.  Then I used that as my guide for the pins.

Cut off the corners.

Along one side, cut through both pieces of fabric at once to create the strips for knotting.  They need to be about 1.5 to 2 cm wide.  Any wider and they’ll be hard to knot.  Any thinner and the kids will probably cut too thin and cut them right off. If you are doing this with a large group of kids, check that the scissors you have for craft will actually cut through two thicknesses of polar fleece (and borrow some pairs of sewing scissors if they don’t).

Once you have one side of the cushion cut, tie a knot with each matching pair of fringe pieces. It’s a good idea to have the kids knot one side of the cushion at a time, before they cut the next side.  They’ll need to take the pins out before knotting and if you take all the pins out at once, the boys will probably struggle to match up the fringes with the correct partner and end up in a muddle.  It’s also good to give them a break from cutting as little hands find cutting thick fabric very tiring.

When you get about half-way through knotting the final side, stuff the cushion with either a pre-made cushion insert or hobby-filler stuffing.  Then knot the last few ties and you’re done!

Obviously you can vary the shape and size and, if you use a cushion insert, you can easily unknot half a row, slip out the cushion, and chuck the cover in the washing machine when it gets grubby. You can also use the same knotting technique to make a double-thickness lap blanket or baby's rug.  It's also makes a good gift for an older sibling to create for a younger sibling's birthday or Christmas present.


Suz said...

I'm trying to read the rest of this, bit am struggling to get past the first sentence.

Suz said...

Eg, i'm laughing :D seriously, now that I've read on, it sounds like a great activity. I might try it out with my kids. Thanks Deb.

Deb said...

And your comment gave me a good belly laugh this morning while trying to get the kids out the door for school. :D

Meredith said...

This lucky boys' group seems to get to do pretty good craft! After your brainwave with the sand art brownies to actually let kids do it I have started saving big jars to do this with the Sunday School kids at the end of the year. But please keep these good ideas coming. For one who seems to have to run craft activities but struggles, I am finding your ideas immensely helpful. And they are just a little bit different too which is great.

Deb said...

Awwww, thanks Meredith! The boys do have a pretty good time. They have cooking and science activities as well as craft. Although my husband takes the activities, I do a fair bit of the prep work beforehand. I try to think of myself as his glamorous assistant.