Friday, April 6, 2012

felt cupcake tutorial

Earlier this week, I realized my middle child was seriously lacking in the Easter-basket-goodies department. Usually, I try to go with outdoorsy type things...spades for the garden, sand toys, bubbles, chalk. This year we really didn't need any of those things, so I saved sleeping bags I had bought this past fall, and the big boys are each getting one. Cameron was easy--a 'new' (used) game for his DS (Plants vs Zombies--that's outdoorsy, right?), Toy Story 3, candy. I even had a toy put away that I bought before Christmas--some 'explorer tools' to add to his collection, bought on clearance at Target for $3. I think it's a lantern and a canteen? He is also getting a purple AlumaWallet (seriously, he wanted one) and a purple zombie shirt (his favorite color is purple! and I'm trying to resist the urge to make light of the ironic raised-from-the-dead theme...).

For Bennett, I had plans to make foam blocks (I've made a set for each boy), and maybe wood blocks if I got to Michaels in time and found the time to get them done. I had wanted to get a few things from this Etsy shop, but didn't order in time, so those will have to wait. I did get the supplies for his blocks, and have been working on them the last two days. Last night I bought him Sophie the Giraffe, and it is due to arrive today--so, C's and B's baskets are done.

But for Fletcher? Sigh. Same problem I had at Christmas--he doesn't need anything, and doesn't really want for anything. All he likes to play with are kitchen utensils and boxes, and the kid only needs so many spatulas. I did get him a cute spoon/fork set (kind of an Easter tradition, but I didn't get Cam a set this year, oops), and found one of those spill-proof bubble things at Jo-Ann, but that was it. We decided to put Toy Story 3 in his basket (he is obsessed with Toy Story, asks to watch it daily), and I thought I'd try making him some felt food to go with the new kitchen. We have some wood play food, but it was packed up into storage when we got rid of the play kitchen and decluttered a while back. We have a small muffin tin that Fletch carries around with wadded up baby wipes in it, passing them out for us to eat, so cupcakes seemed the perfect food to make for him.

You can search Google or Etsy for PDF file patterns for cupcakes, but I just sort of wung it (it should be a word). As usual, apologies for the terrible pictures...I wasn't even looking through the viewfinder half the time, so some of them are blurry, and most of them are dark. Also, I had to edit them in Photobucket because Flickr's new editing program doesn't include resize (insert raised-brow emoticon here), and Photobucket blows and doesn't actually reflect completed resizing when I copy/paste in Chrome, sooo sorry for the enormous pictures (they are showing up okay on Firefox!). Also, sorry for the awful manicure. I can't find my nail polish remover.

What you need:
-felt in a variety of cupcake colors...both for the cakes, and the icings
-embroidery floss to match whatever felt colors you've chosen, plus more colors for sprinkles
-cardboard (scraps from a food box are perfect)

Other tools...a ruler, a sheet of paper, a pen, something round with about 3.5 inch diameter (I used a canister of Metamucil, yay), a needle, and scissors.

What you do:
-The first step is to cut out a circle the size of the bottom of the cups in the muffin tin. Mine is 1 1/8 inch in diameter.

-For the body of the cupcake, find the circumference of the circle. Ack, I know! MATH! Just a little bit. It's about 3 1/2 inches, and I added a little to allow for an overlap (necessary when you go to stitch, I promise). You need your body piece to wrap all the way around the base, and to have a curve to it--that way, it flares out at the top, making the top of your cupcake wider than the base. Otherwise, you'll get this effect, which is not the one I was going for (but started out with nonetheless--some of us are just visual learners).

-Aaanyway. To achieve the proper curve, draw dots 3 1/4 inches apart. Take your round object and move it so that the curve comes between and meets at both dots, and trace that curve. Now you have the length you need (it should be about 3 3/4 inches), curved appropriately.

-Measure out an inch all around the line and connect the dots. I don't suggest using a highlighter, because they smear, which is annoying and messy. Mark notches along the longer line, 5 1/8 inches apart, equidistant from both ends on the shorter line, and draw connecting lines between the two ends--this is your body pattern! When you wrap it around to form the cupcakes body, you'll have about an inch of overlap along the top, and just a tiny bit on the bottom.

-For the top, cut out a 2 7/8 inch circle. I also used a frosting pattern, a 1 1/2 inch circle. Those four bits are the basic parts you'll need.

-Pin your pattern pieces to the felt and cut them out. One base, one body, one top, one icing!

-For the embroidery floss, split it into two groups of three strings--I did this for all of my stitches because I didn't have needles with large enough eyes to use the whole string, but I also think all 6 strings would look too thick on such a small cupcake.

-Start by stitching the body piece to the base circle. I don't even know what type of stitch I used, but hopefully the pictures are clear.

-Once it's wrapped all the way around, stitch the ends of the body together, lapping one end over the other. Use a running stitch to attach the two, stitching close to the edge on the outer edge (the inside will have more excess--this is no big deal so don't worry about trimming or securing it).

-Cut out a second base-sized circle from the cardboard scrap. You'll want to trim it down so it is slightly smaller than the cupcake's base, and set it into the bottom. This just makes the bottom of your cupcake nice and firm, so it won't get puffed or rounded when you stuff it later, but will hold its shape and sit nicely as it should. I also thought of cutting one of those magnet sheets into circles for this purpose, to help the cupcakes stay in their tin a little better when jostled around in a toddler's hands. I'm not sure if that sort of magnet (or any small round magnet, for that matter) would be strong enough to help much, and I didn't have any to try, but some day I will!

-Here's where you'll want to decorate your cupcake top. You can add icing, sprinkles, fruit...whatever your sweet tooth desires. I used a running stitch to attach icing to top, and the sprinkles are just medium stitches placed at random. Here's one of those blurry pictures--I like how the camera focused on the tiny ass needle head. :/

-When it comes time to attach the top to the rest of the cupcake, stitch as you did when attaching the base. When you are about halfway done, make sure the cardboard base is in place and stuff your cupcake until it is nice and plump.

Now, admire your handiwork. That's it! Finito.

I'm not sure if I'll finish 12 in time, but I've got six so far, so that's plenty for starters. The scalloped circle I traced from a Google image; the ruffle of 'cream' is just a folded bit that I stitched on while pinching it to shape; the chocolate 'kiss' was crudely formed from a scrap of brown. Play around and get creative. :)

Here are some French dot sprinkles. I want to do strawberry shortcake for the next one!

1 comment:

  1. These are unbelievably cool, Lindsey! I am so impressed.