If you've been following along, you'll know that I've been working on this tutorial for quite awhile. If we lived in the same city, and I could sit down next to you and show you, you'd have learned how to make this ornament months ago! But I seem to be at odds with technology these last six months or so, and I feel like I have wrestled with every single step of this online tutorial.
BUT: it may have all been for a larger purpose, because tomorrow is NATIONAL HONEYBEE DAY! (Click the link to find out how you can participate!). Perfect timing, after all: my inspiration for the ornament I'm sharing is our family beehives! (I'll get a post up soon to show off our hives.)
Whip up a beehive ornament for your favorite bee lover, or for yourself! (Or, head over to my SHOP to buy one that's already been lovingly hand sewn!) More than a "holiday" ornament, it can be a year round reminder you can hang anywhere to remind you to LOVE THE BEES!!!!!!
So, without further ado, here it is.
What you'll need:
- 8 by 10 sheet of gold, brown, tan or other color wool felt for skep
- 8 by 10 sheet of backing wool felt, I used dark brown here but it's up to you!
- Scrap felt in various shades of yellow and ecru/white
- Embroidery floss in gray/black, ecru/white, gold, brown to coordinate with skep felt
- Poly-fil or wool stuffing
- Chenille needle (large eye with sharp point)
- Embroidery scissors
- Wooden embroidery hoop, 7 inches
- Cardstock for printing template
- Pencil for tracing template onto felt
- Optional: lavender or other DRIED herbs
Tutorial: Felt Beehive Ornament
1. Print out skep pattern (PDF here!) on cardstock and cut out.
2. Place template on felt as far to one side as you can (so you can save as large a piece of felt as possible for later), allowing for enough of a border to get the entire shape into your hoop's work space.
3. Put felt into embroidery hoop, making sure that entire shape is contained in hoop's work surface. Tighten screw at top while gently pulling felt taut for the best work surface.
4. Cut out three or four bee bodies out of yellow scrap felt. This will help you choose what color embroidery thread to use for the next step, too! You can use the same shade of yellow for each body, or use a few. It's up to you.
5. Stitch the ridges. I chose a monochromatic embroidery thread and used a running stitch to make the ridges. You can also use a back stitch or straight stitch. Continue until you get about 2/3 of the way down.
6. About 2/3 of the way down, move to the bottom of the beehive (leaving room around the edge for future sewing, refer to template!) and back stitch an arch.
7. Fill in your arch with satin stitch. You can also leave it open! Add a few more rows of running stitch for ridges on the bottom 1/3 of the hive.
8. Time to inhabit your beehive! I chose two slightly different shades of yellow for these bee bodies, it's up to you. Place them in the general area you'd like them to live permanently, to be sure you've got the size right and that sort of thing.
9. Using black, dark grey or dark brown embroidery floss, begin stitching your bee's body to the hive, creating its stripes as you go!
10. I stitched down the bee body using two stitches on the first two stripes, and one stitch at the top.
11. Add two French Knots for eyes!
12. Time to add the wings! Cut two small wings out of off white/white felt, place them on to be sure they look right!
13. Sew on each wing with a simple stitch, I used ecru felt and matching embroidery thread.
14. Choose a color of felt for the back of your ornament.
15. Remove your embroidered piece of felt from the hoop. Pin your beehive felt to your backing felt, be sure to keep the pins away from the edges b/c you are going to cut out your beehive now!
16 Cut both layers of felt in your beehive shape, be careful not to clip any of the threads from your embroidery by accident!
Don't separate yours, keep it pinned together! But I wanted to show the two pieces you'll have after cutting.
17. Using three strands and 18 inches of gold (or other coordinating color) embroidery thread, tie a knot at the end. Thread through top layer of felt from the back, at the bottom left corner.
18. Using a running stitch or straight stitch, sew both pieces of felt together around the edge of ornament, from left bottom around to the top right. Stop about one inch from the top!
19. Starting with another strand of embroidery thread at the same spot in the bottom left corner, sew up the left hand side with the running stitch, up to the top. Again, stop one inch short from the top.
This leaves you a space of about two inches so you can add your stuffing! You should have two tails up there.
20. Put in your stuffing! If you like, add some dried lavender or other dried herbs to make it smell great! (Be sure they are DRIED, otherwise you might have a mold problem on your hands later...)
21. Finish stitching up the left and right sides, until each reaches the middle. Tie a double knot.
22. For a hanger, tie your two thread tails into a bow (or however you like), be sure to double knot it! Trim.
And, I have three of these fabulous hand sewn ornaments available in my SHOP! Hoping to have more listings soon.
Will you be making a beehive ornament of your own? Do you have any questions about this tutorial? How will you be celebrating National Honeybee Day? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.