Super easy, 5 minute DIY gnome hat for Halloween or pretend play (no-sew option!)

Read this to learn how to make this super simple felt gnome hat in under 5 minutes! There’s a size for everyone in the family!

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Happy Fall! Halloween is almost upon us and it’s crafting time again in our household! I’ve taken a short hiatus after the birth of my second son this summer, and we’ve been finally getting back into the swing of things lately and the sewing machine has made its reappearance! Hurrah! And to tell you the truth, the sewing machine has been banished to the closet for the past few months not due to baby #2 as much as big brother toddler boy, who has needed lots of outdoor running about this summer. It’s been a gorgeous summer and we’ve spent most of it outdoors, which means no sewing machine. *sniff, sniff* But I did rig up a pretty good system of mobile knitting by wearing the baby in my ring sling while watching my eldest dig in his sandbox in the backyard. I used the pocket in the tail of the ring sling to hold my ball of yarn and knitted away while the baby slept. It worked wonderfully! Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to create anything at all for a few months, and that would have made mama go crazy! Knitting under the big maple tree with baby sleeping in the sling and the cool grass (weeds, but that’s how I like it) under my feet while my adorable 2-year-old experimented with decorating the honeysuckle branches with sidewalk chalk was an amazing way to spend the summer.

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I knitted baby boy this adorable cotton sun hat to match big brother’s hat, and this picture taken last week at the park is probably the last day he’s going to be able to wear it; Fall has hit us fast with delightfully cool weather! Plus, he’s growing like crazy, so it probably won’t even fit for much longer!

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However, I do love Fall and I’m excited to be able to pull out my favorite hat I knitted Buck when he was a baby. It still fits!

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I also knitted Buck this monkey hat for this winter, because he’s been really into Curious George lately. Here it is, modeled by both boys:

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I was going to make this part of Buck’s Halloween costume, but I couldn’t think of much else to do except dress him in brown and maybe add a tail. But then I saw a picture of a garden gnome for a baby on Etsy, and I couldn’t dream of my boys dressing as anything other than these adorable gnomes! So I poked around Pinterest for a while until I decided on how to make the hats. I ended up coming up with my own pattern, so I thought I would share! It took no time at all to make, the materials cost next to nothing, and you don’t even need a sewing machine! So, to the task at hand: how to make a totally easy, adorably cute garden gnome hat in under 5 minutes!

I made three sizes that will fit everyone in your family: baby, child, and adult. The adult size fits me and my husband, the child size is perfect of my 2.5-year old but would probably fit up to maybe a 10-year old or so, and the baby one fits my 4-month old and would fit up to a year or so.

Here are the sizes; you just need to know these measurements. No need to make a pattern!

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Start by folding a piece of felt and put the fold at the top, and a straight edge on the right. The fold will be the top of the hat, and this straight edge will be the opening around the face. Measure the length of the opening and make a little mark. I’m making the child size here so I measure 8″.

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Next, measure the next side from that mark, parallel to the top fold in the felt (just eyeball the parallel lines, it doesn’t have to be perfectly parallel). The child size is 5″ here, so I measured 5″ over from the right edge where I made the mark and made a cut. I used my rotary cutter so I didn’t even need to draw a line, but if you use scissors, draw a line first with the ruler and it’ll keep your cut straight. This is the neck opening.

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Now you are going to make the last cut. Turn the ruler to join the end of the last cut at the back of the neck to the top of the folded edge. It’s about 12″ for the child size but this one doesn’t need to be terribly precise. I followed the line of my ruler until about two inches from the top, then I curved just a bit inwards to give the hat just a bit of curve at the top. This is optional, you could leave it out and just cut a straight line, or you could play around with it and make the curve more exaggerated.

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The only thing left is to fasten the back seam together! This is going by so quickly! The only thing you need to sew together is that last side you just cut, the one with the curve at the top. Here I am, pointing at the side you are going to sew together:

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I sewed the back seam on my machine in about 10 seconds, whoo-hoo, but you could easily sew this by hand or even staple it! Felt doesn’t glue together very solidly in my experience unless you buy specific felt glue, but even that would work as long as you let it dry thoroughly. Then just flip it right-side out and use a chopstick or a pencil to push that point all the way out.

As that’s it! I saw lots of these with added ribbons to keep them tied on, which was cute, but my toddler doesn’t like things tied onto his head so I played around with it plain. I must say I really like it with the front edge folded back once; it’s a little Norwegian-looking and so adorable. Here’s baby Weston modeling his hat and some matching felt boots I whipped up:

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Isn’t that the cutest face you’ve ever seen?! You see why I HAD to dress him as a gnome this year! I whipped up one of these hats for all four of us in less than 20 minutes, so we are going to be a whole family of gnomes. I will have to make some fun fuzzy beards as well.

Happy Halloween and happy hat-making! These gnome hats will be fun year-round for pretend play. I can’t wait to make more in tons of different colors. I think I am also going to make some felt appliqué patches to decorate ours with soon. Enjoy and let me know if you make your own hats; I’d love to see your creations!

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Easy DIY party bunting with non-sewing option!

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Marlon’s second birthday has come and gone, and his birthday party was a huge success. We tried to keep it simple, but of course invited all our wonderful family and friends and just barely packed them all into our tiny mid-century ranch. I wanted a castle theme for the party, to go along with the felt crowns I made for all the kids attending, and the cute blue velvet cape I made Marlon (that he refused to wear of course). I just got him to put it on long enough to snap this one shot:

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However, as most parents of busy toddlers can attest, the days before the party flew by, leaving me with the task of paring down my long to-make list of decorations for the party into a manageable length. I settled for just the crowns to decorate for the kids (I also thought making ribbon wands would be fun, but never got around to scrounging up the materials), a ton of balloons hung from the ceiling (so they wouldn’t get underfoot and trip everyone), a batch of delicious gluten- and egg-free chocolate chip cookies from Gluten Free Girl Everyday, and this fun and quick party bunting I whipped up in an afternoon.

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You will need:

Approximately 1/2 yard of fabric total, in various patterns/colors

Two packages of double-fold bias tape

Scraps of felt for the letters (optional)

Sewing machine and contrasting thread (this can also be done with just glue!)

Making this was super easy, thanks to my wonderful new rotary cutter that got half price at JoAnne’s recently. I made a birthday bunting for Marlon for his first birthday party, but ended up liking it so much that it’s on permanent display in his playroom. The first time around I cut all the triangles out with scissors, which is totally doable, but that’s the project that made me yearn for a rotary cutter. They make cutting out shapes so easy, especially straight lines like this.

You can make a bunting with either squares or triangles of fabric, with whatever you have laying around, or grab a few fat quarters from the fabric store when they’re on sale like I did. I think I only used two fat quarters of fabric, if I’m not mistaken, so only 1/2 yard of fabric should make one in the size I made. It’s good to use scraps of a few different fabrics if you have it, but I only used two fabrics this time because they both had little balloons on the fabric and I thought it fitting. I folded the fabric in half and cut a rectangle out that was about 8 inches tall, then marked off points every 5 inches across the top. Then I marked off points at the bottom, but started 2 1/2 inches in from one side so that the marks would hit halfway between the top marks. Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture at this stage, I cut the pieces out late the night before and wasn’t fully awake at this point! Then I took a ruler and lined up the diagonal line from the first point on the top to the first point on the bottom, which was at the edge of the top and 2 1/2 inches in from the bottom edge. I drew a line, then connected the next diagonal line and kept going until I had a row of triangles drawn out. This is just my quick and easy way of cutting out triangles with minimal waste; do it any way you feel comfortable with. The rotary cutter came out and I cut out on all the diagonal lines, through both layers of fabric, using the ruler as a straight edge to run the rotary cutter against. This way cutting took no time at all, and all my lines were super straight! But scissors will work just fine, never fear. Keep going until you have 14 sets of triangles (I made mine double sided), so 28 triangles total.

After I had my stack of 28 triangles, I put them into pairs, wrong sides together, and zig-zag stitched along the two longest sides of each pair. They won’t be getting handled much, so I wasn’t worried about the raw edges fraying, but you can certainly cut them out with pinking shears instead if you have them (I don’t), and that’ll prevent any fraying at all really. The top you can leave raw because it’ll be hidden by the bias tape later.

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Next I laid the triangles out in the order I liked onto two pieces of double-fold bias tape, five triangles on the first one and nine on the other. This is if you want to have the “Happy Birthday!” written on them like I did; if you want to leave them blank, just split them up evenly. Make sure you leave enough bias tape on either side to use as a tie when you’re hanging it. I left at least 4 inches, but it doesn’t need to be exact. Now I simply opened the double fold of the bias tape and inserted the triangles in the fold, then closed the fold and pinned each triangle in place (just one pin in each triangle did the trick).

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Then I sewed the bias tape together, starting at one end of the bias tape, sewing the triangles into the tape as I went. After all the triangles are sewn in, keep going to the end of your bias tape, or however long you need to make an equal length tie at the end as you have at the beginning. I used a zig-zag stitch here as well, just to match the stitches on the triangles, but you can do straight stitches on both if you prefer.

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Alternately, if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can easily make this bunting by gluing the triangles into the bias tape! And you can do one-sided triangles to make that easier as well. This is a very adaptable pattern!

 After you have both buntings sewn together, you can add the optional lettering. I cut freehand shapes out of felt and simply glued these on with Fabri-Tac (wow that stuff works well). If you’re not confident in your freehand lettering skills, simply print out some bold letters in a size that’ll fit onto your triangles and cut them out and trace them onto your felt. I’m all about saving time, however, so I just drew some slightly wonky letters and cut them out however they turned out; I was sure my two-year-old wouldn’t mind the imperfections!

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I discovered when doing this step that my son loves letters! Marlon would identify a few letters like he was spelling out the words, then yell “Happy Birthday!” and throw his arms up in the air. I love hearing his little voice, now that he’s making more and more sounds that are identifiable as actual words! He still has those adorable toddler-language words that only we can translate: “bondee chips” are his favorite “monkey chips” (plantain chips), and my favorite is what he calls our cats: Remington is “Ya-ya” and Hastings is “Hay-hay.”

Here’s the birthday boy winding the thread onto the bobbin on the sewing machine. Boy was he excited to work that foot pedal! “Vrooooom!”

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This bunting will add some adorable rustic and homemade flair to your next party, and you can make one for any celebration! I’d love a New Year’s bunting, and maybe a Summer and Winter solstice themed ones! The options are endless. And this is a perfect project for you if you’re an expert crafter, or if you haven’t sewn one thing in your life! Like I mentioned before, it can be done entirely with just glue and scissors, and will come out super cute. And the best part is that you can reuse this bunting every year, for every kid! It can be a tradition to hang up the birthday bunting for each party.

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Here’s a little look at the rest of our party decorations before the party (it was so crazy with so many kids running around that I unfortunately never got a chance to take pictures during the party!). Here’s the snack table with the cookies and other nibbles, with the bunting overhead:

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Marlon trying out all the snacks before the party had even started:

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And here’s our little neighbor friend with her crown that her and her mom decorated with the felt shapes! The kids had so much fun decorating their crowns, and wore them proudly! It was fun to give them something to take home that they can have fun playing with again and again.

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Thanks for reading and let me know if you make a party bunting of your own! I’d love to see your creations! Also follow me on Pinterest or Twitter; I love to connect with my fellow crafters and I’d love to share your work as well.

DIY party favor crowns for birthdays

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Welcome to my new blog! I’m a mother of nearly two kids and my crafting bug hit me full force after the birth of my son Marlon two years ago. He’s about to turn two, and I’ll start this off by documenting my birthday party preparations. My idea for a party favor for all the kiddos attending is to make felt crowns that they can decorate with felt shapes on the day of the party, and then take home too add to their dress-up collections! We are having a castle theme for Marlon’s birthday, and the crowns fit in nicely, but I like the Where the Wild Things Are connection as well. These would be great for any prince or princess’ party!

If you would like to make these for your own birthday boy or girl or as party favors, this is super easy for any beginner sewer and very inexpensive. For 24 crowns I used a piece of gold felt approximately 60 inches by 11 inches (plus a little extra for mess-ups). I used a little under 9 1/2 yards of ribbon (mine was 3/8 inch wide just because it was the cheapest and it was the one thing I had to buy). I used scraps of elastic I had from various other projects (finally, a way to use up all those little useless ends of elastic rolls), approximately the same width as the ribbon. Then I gathered up a bunch of scraps of different colored felts for the decorations the kids would glue on at the party. I got these scraps from my local fabric store as remnants from their felt bolts.

On to cutting! I cut out a template from a cereal box that had three points, was about 2 1/2 inches tall at the middle point, and was about 8 1/2 inches wide at the bottom where I’d be joining the ribbon. I just freehanded the shape in a general size that looked good to me, folding it in half width-wise to cut so it would be symmetrical. You can do any shape or size that fits your fancy.

Then I traced this shape onto my gold felt 24 times (one for each child coming to the party, plus one or two extra just in case) and cut out. I kept the scraps from cutting out to make into shapes for my son’s felt board – more on that later! Then I cut out 24 pieces of ribbon, each 14 inches long. I also cut out 24 pieces of elastic, each 3 1/2 inches long. You can do any lengths that you want to achieve any size you need. The kids at this party range from about 4 months to all the way up to 10 or so, but most are around 2-4 years. These crowns ended up being about 20 inches unstretched, which is about the size of my two-year-old’s head, and they stretch to fit my adult 22 inch head, but just barely. I did actually make two littler ones for the under one-year-olds by using 11 or 12 inch pieces of ribbon instead of 14 inches. Once I got all the pieces cut out, it was on to sewing!

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I sewed one end of a ribbon onto the bottom edge of a crown piece with about a half inch of overlap. I used a zig-zag stitch for this entire project, and matched my thread to my crown color. Then I sewed the other side to the other end, making sure the ribbon wasn’t twisted and I was sewing to the same side of the felt:

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Here’s the crown with just the ribbon sewed onto both ends, wrong side up so you can see the seams:

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Next, I took a 3 1/2 inch piece of elastic and stretched it out all the way and placed it on the center back of the ribbon, just to see where to start sewing it to the ribbon. This way it’s about centered in the back, but it doesn’t have to be exact. I then measured how far the elastic was from the edge of the crown, so I would be able to just measure this on the next crown and not have to do this step. The edges of my elastic when stretched out all the way were about 3 1/2 inches from each side of the crown, so I placed the beginning of the elastic that far down on the WRONG side of the ribbon and did a few stitches on the machine, backwards and forwards, to tack it in place. Making sure the needle is down into the elastic so it keeps it in place, I then stretched the elastic out all the way with one hand and sewed it to the ribbon, pulling the ribbon gently out the back side with my other hand like so:

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When I got to the end of the elastic, I went backwards and forwards a few times again to make sure it held in place, and cut all my threads. And we’re done! It took only about two minutes to sew each crown after I was done cutting everything out, so you can whip quite a few of these out in one afternoon. Here’s the inside back of the crown with the elastic stretched out all the way:

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And here is the back of the crown from the right side out, showing how the elastic will cinch up the ribbon nicely once you let the elastic spring back into shape:

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Here’s the finished project on my son, showing the side and back:

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So now the crowns are ready for the kids to decorate on the day of the party! I bought some felt glue at JoAnne’s the other day after learning that Elmer’s craft glue doesn’t hold felt to felt very well. I tried the felt glue out and it works great. So we will be cutting shapes out of colored felt for the next week or so, and will show you the finished result at the party. Keep checking back for more birthday updates and other homemade craft projects, and let me know if you try this project out for your little ones!