Friday, September 6, 2013

Project: Fabric Alphabet Magnets

I just finished a very easy project that I'm already pretty proud of, as it turned out better than I expected- fabric alphabet magnets! Right now Bugga is 21 months old, and we are focusing on her learning her letters. This project was perfect. I found a couple links to blogs via Pinterest for some DIY magnet letters using felt and even to links on Etsy that were selling a similar style. I decided to use regular fabric for mine - see below for the directions!

Fabric Alphabet Magnets

What You Will Need:

  • Fabric that you like (I used part of a Hobby Lobby pack of whimsical quilting squares that I picked up a year ago with the primary intention to stuff them into a tissue box for Bugga to pull out over and over again. She still enjoys this; fortunately this project only used about a third of the fabric squares.)
  • Coordinating cross-stitch thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Quilt batting, cut into 1" strips, and then lengths relevant to your letter sizes (by some miracle I had some lying around from my one attempt at making a quilt)
  • Computer with a printer/paper
  • Magnets (I picked up a pack of 50 from Michael's)
  • Elmer's (or any basic) glue
  • Pencil
How to Make the Letters:
  1. Determine what you want your letters to look like by finding a font in any basic program (Word, Publisher, etc.). Size the letters in your software program so they are big enough for your liking, then print out each letter you would like to create. I did the entire alphabet, but you could also make numbers, extra vowels, etc. Tip: When thinking about what size you want your letters, consider the size of your magnets. Depending on where they are placed inside your fabric, the letters need to be big enough for the fabric to be sewn around them. Print all of the letters/numbers and cut out each one.
  2. Trace the letters using a pencil onto the back side of the fabric. You will need two of each letter/number to serve as the front and back. If your fabric is the same on both sides, then this is not as important. Mine was not, so I was careful to just leave pencil marks on what would serve as the inside of the letter. Tip: To save cutting time, and to help with lining everything up when you sew, you can fold the fabric in half and cut the fabric along the folded edge so you don't need to have two separate pieces.

  3. Lay out your fabric letters and divide the magnets up between each one. Because fabric is not as thick as felt, not as much magnetic strength is needed, so I used 1-2 magnets for each letter, depending on the size (I only used 1 magnet for letters like "I", "J" and "Y"). Use the glue to affix the magnets to the fabric letters, being careful to glue the magnets to the inside of the back piece of the fabric. Let the glue dry.
  4. Start sewing! I used half of each piece of cross-stitch thread (3 of the 6 pieces) to do my sewing. I found that I have zero skill in guestimating how long my thread should be for each letter, but due to how they are sewn, it doesn't matter if you run out and need to start up with new thread. As advised on the blog mentioned above, I also used the Blanket stitch, which worked great, and was very easy for me (and I don't sew all that much). Personally, if a letter had an inner area (like "A", "B", "R", etc.) I would stitch this first, which helped keep the two pieces of fabric aligned. I also stitched all the way around the letters for consistency, even if one of the edges was part of the original fold of the fabric.

  5. As each part of the letter being stitched is enclosed, use a pencil to stuff the strips of quilt batting inside the letter. Be careful to work around the magnets.
  6. That's it! Start the fun! For more info on the process I went through to decide on a magnetic board for these magnets, click here!

    Fabric Alphabet Magnets in Action!

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