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DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Eco Friendly Crafts

Thank you to Andrew with the onlinefabricstore.com for sharing this article with us! 
(Used with permission)


Arts And Crafts For Kids with Recycled, Eco and Wool Felt Fabric

Craft projects provide children a wonderful opportunity to learn, interact and create.  Now, thanks to new, environmentally friendly craft materials, they can also deliver messages of responsibility and environmental awareness, too.

One of the most popular craft materials is environmentally friendly felt, and the choices are not only diverse, but affordable.

Craft felt (both eco-friendly and traditional felt) is produced in three types: synthetic, 100% wool felt fabric, and synthetic/wool felt blends.

Synthetic Felt

Eco-fi felt, formerly known as Eco-spun, is a synthetic felt made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.  For each pound of Eco-fi fiber that’s manufactured, 10 plastic bottles are used, which means that the use of this product can help to reduce the plastic population that clutters our landfills.

Wool felt

100% wool felt fabric, while more expensive, remains the most eco-friendly felt choice on the market.  An all-natural product made from sheep’s wool, wool felt boasts a soft, fine and dense texture, which makes it a favorite with artists and professional craftspeople.

Wool/Synthetic Felt Blends

Produced to provide some of the look and feel of wool felt, but at a cheaper price, wool/synthetic blends do offer some ecological advantages over traditional synthetic felt, but unless explicitly described as such, should not be considered an environmentally-friendly craft felt.

More On Eco-fi

Eco-fi felt is more affordable than 100% wool felt fabric, but can cost more than traditional synthetic and wool/synthetic felt blends.  One of Eco-fi’s best features (especially with arts and crafts for kids) is its wide variety of fade-resistant, fray-resistant shades.

Eco-fun felt projects

1.  Felt magnets

These cute animal magnets use recycled plastic lids, which would otherwise make their way to the rubbish tip.

Materials:

Method:

  1. Clean and dry the plastic lids.
  2. Decide which animal you wish to start with – such as a rabbit, cat, dog, pig or elephant, to name a few!
  3. Cut a piece of fabric to fit the inside of the lid, in a color that matches your animal.  For a pig, use pink fabric; for a rabbit, use white felt, etc.
  4. Glue the felt to the inside of the lid.
  5. Use the marker to sketch felt pieces for the ears and nose, and have an adult cut them out.
  6. Glue the felt facial features and wiggle eyes to the inside of the lid.
  7. Draw on any final features, such as lips or whiskers, using the fabric marker.
  8. Cut a small piece of magnet for the other side of the lid.  Once the face is set and dry, glue the magnet to the front side of the lid. Voila!

2.  Drink coasters

These easy-to-make coasters also provide a side-lesson in table manners and etiquette.  With their own personally designed coaster, they’ll never smack a cup down directly on a table again!

Materials:

Method:
1.  Place the cup rim-down on the felt and cork, and trace several circles on each.
2.  Have an adult cut out the circles with the scissors.
3.  Punch decorative designs in the felt with the hole punch; experiment with different designs to make unique patterns.
4.  Spread a thin layer of glue on the cork, and stick to the felt.
5.  Trim around the edge of the coaster, to neaten the edges.
6. Create several coasters, in sets of 4 or 6, and tie them together with ribbon – they make great gifts for mom or grandma!

3.  Felt playboard

This project reinforces the reduce, reuse, recycle principle: it incorporates scraps of old felt to reduce wastage, fabrics made from recycled or biodegradable materials, and an old frame given a new purpose.  It’s a triple-whammy enviro message!

Materials:

Method:

  1. Cut your sheet of background felt so it’s half-an-inch larger than the frame backing.  Use any color you wish: green felt is ideal for a garden scene, while blue suits sky or sea settings.
  2. Remove glass from frame and set aside (perhaps for use in a future craft project).
  3. Spread adhesive on both the felt and the back of the frame.  If using craft glue, dab it thinly using a sponge and perhaps dilute the glue with a small amount of water, as felt is highly absorbent.
  4. Smooth the felt to avoid puckers, clumps or wrinkles.
  5. Use a rotary cutter or scissors to trim the excess felt along edge of board.
  6. While the felt backboard is drying, paint the frame in a color to suit the “scene”.  This is a great way to brighten the frame if it is chipped, old or discolored.
  7. Once dry, slot the board back in.  
  8. Now for the really fun part: it’s time to create the “scene” out of felt scraps.  You can design your own garden with flowers and plants; create a farmyard with cows and sheep; produce an underwater scene with fish and coral; or stick with straightforward geometric shapes in various colors.  The options are endless!

These simple and fun craft ideas help to show that the way a crafts project is taught is just as important as the project itself; they do more than simply help children to create and learn, because they reinforce important eco-messages and help to shape young minds about conserving the environment.  And the projects are fun and entertaining, to boot!

Sarah Megginson is a writer and journalist who loves to unleash her inner craftie at every given opportunity.  She’s a chronic hoarder, so her craft box is overflowing with felts, fabrics, paints, crayons and beads of every shape and size.  She hopes that this article written for Onlinefabricstore.net, will encourage parents and young crafters to create projects that are not only fun, but good for the planet, too!


March, 2009

 


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