Skip to content

Alphabet Magnet Madness!

2012 March 6
by Becky

In my search for fun, economical, environmentally friendly, and, of course, cute toys, I started thinking about those cute magnetic letters. You know, the funny plastic ones everyone had covering their refrigerators when you were a kid?

Well, I decided there had to be something better…and cuter.

So I did a little searching and found a few fabric alphabet options online, namely Etsy (of course!). While very sweet, none were exactly what I wanted. And they were fairly expensive!

Since my mom was coming in town for a visit and is always wanting to do projects, I asked her to help me with this one. I dubbed it my Magnetic Alphabet Madness project. She thought I was a little nuts, but is always game for a challenge. Hand sewing was involved, so I knew it would be fairly time consuming and extra hands would be very useful! Even though it was a busy week, I remembered to document each step of the way and have been very anxious to share this lovely little tutorial with you.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

MATERIALS

  • Stacks of colored felt. The more colors the better! Remember, you’ll need two sides per letter, and some letters are bigger than others. You can’t always fit more then one (two sided) letter on an 8.5 x 11 sheet.
  • Embroidery floss. I got a big package of embroidery floss from Michael’s for around $5. It had at least ten colors in it, but you can use only one or two colors if you want!
  • Stuffing
  • Big eye needle(s)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Craft Knife May be helpful for cutting out small openings.
  • Freezer Paper
  • Magnets—LOTS Get more than you think you’ll need…they will go fast! I used over 100.
  • Chopstick, knitting needle, or something else long to get stuffing into small corners.

Get Cuttin’!!

It all started with selecting a font and typing out the letters and numbers. I chose Cooper Black (downloaded for free from Font-zone.net) because it had fun detail without being too intricate…I didn’t want to be cutting and then sewing around crazy corners and tiny openings.  deciding what size to make the letters. I also wanted them to be big enough, but not too big. I went with 3 inches (un-sewn). 

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet(download my template here: FeltLettersTemplate)

Now, you may skip the next step if you are brave and want to just cut around the paper. I, being the OCD-nut-case that I am, wanted perfect letters, so I traced them on “freezer” paper.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

Freezer paper is one of my favorite crafting tools. It saved me during my Chevron Rug project and worked like a charm here too. Make sure to trace on the non-wax side so, after cutting them out, the letters/numbers can be ironed onto your fabric. The freezer paper will stick just well enough to be a solid cutting template, but not so well that it will damage your material.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

I spent quite a bit of time laying out my letters and numbers on the colored felt. I first placed them in alphabetic and numerical order. As I stated in the materials list, you can’t always fit two letters on one piece of felt because you need two sides per letter. For instance, W took up a lot of space. So make sure you have plenty of felt! I made sure there were no letters of the same color right next to each other. Then I spelled out common words—Mom, Dad, Cat, Dog, our names, our last name, and so on—to be sure there weren’t too many repeated colors in them. I made several extra letters at this time too—O, E, M, D—to be sure we could actually spell all these words!

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

Then just do a quick iron and careful cut around each wax letter. I cut through two pieces of felt, the front and back of one letter, at one time (aren’t I talented?!) to make things go a little faster. No matter what, cutting will take a while. We watched the last Harry Potter movie while I cut and my mom started sewing.

TIP: Lay out all the letters after each step…I realized after cutting everything out that I was missing the letter X. Oops!

What you see below is two pieces of each letter stacked and laid out in order. We made the L as a test. It looked great! So we kept going. The P was letter number two and it didn’t fair so well. You can’t tell from the picture, but it had to be torn apart several times due to the absence of magnets—pretty important! My mom sewed the last stitch and then exclaimed, “Oh No!” We had to Frankenstein the magnets into openings we cut in the sides and then resewed the holes. After that I made a magnet plan…

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

[pinterest]

Magnetize

Since I had decided the magnets should be hidden—it was just to risky to have them exposed as I know that would be the first thing Ethan would notice and want to chew on—I laid out all the letters in two separate parts, glueing magnets to the BACK of each letter. So the part that will stick to your fridge/magnet board? That’s the part the magnets go on. The glue does not affect the magnetism, and you won’t have flattened areas on the front of your nice puffy letters/numbers…I’ve done this worrying for you. I promise this works!

Oh, and use LOTS of magnets. I had to add more after we made the first few letters…like that Z below? It got another one. So did the X.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

[pinterest]

These are the magnets I used. I got them at Michael’s at about $5 for a pack of 50. Get at least three packs. (Michael’s is great at returning things…just take a pack back if you don’t use it!) 

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

Stitch & Stuff

Once all your magnets are in place, pin your pieces together and start sewing. As an embroidery floss novice, I looked to my mom for suggestions on this part. We tried the blanket stitch, but it took FOREVER and didn’t seem to hold very well. The soft felt threatened to burst at any moment. So we went with a basic whip stitch to keep all that stuffing snug and away from baby fingers. To my surprise, we didn’t need to use the whole piece of floss! Since each piece is made of six or so tiny threads, we pulled out a group of three threads to use per letter. This way, we got two letters out of each piece of floss and the thinner floss made the stitches visible but not overwhelming. We matched floss to felt, but you could also do contrasting…it’s a really fun look.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

[pinterest]

Unlike the image above, we discovered that starting with openings (such as the middle of this 6) was the best way to go. Once the opening was done, we sewed the edges and stuffed was we sewed. We used chop sticks to stuff the filling down into the corners and small spaces. Each of those little feet had to be nice and puffy!

TIP: Do not overstuff! Your magnets won’t touch your fridge/board evenly if your letter is stuffed to the gills. But don’t skimp either…after all this work, you can’t have gaps or empty spaces in your letters.

felt craft, alphabet magnets, felt alphabet tutorial, alphabet magnet tutorial, felt crafts, magnetic felt letters tutorial, felt letters, DIY felt magnetic letters, how to make magnetic letters, how to make magnetic felt letters, how to make magnetic alphabet, magnetic alphabet, alphabet, felt alphabet

We worked on the letters for a while each evening, in front of our favorite shows or a movie. The first couple were slow going…we thought this would take FOREVER. The prices charged online now made perfect sense…this is time consuming hand work. Soon my mom left and it was all up to me…the stack of empty letters was intimidating. Good thing I really enjoyed the handwork and the warm fuzzy feeling that this would be quite an accomplishment Ethan could amuse himself with for a long time (I hope!).

So that is more then the halfway point of my project…it wasn’t a one day thing, so it’s not going to be a one day post! But it’s something anyone can do and should do…it’s fun! No sewing skills or machine required! And the letters are so darn cute.

Check back Friday for the “Big Reveal” and Ethan’s thoughts on his new toys.

 

13 Responses
  1. March 7, 2012

    dang!! that’s a LOT of work!! This is why I love etsy–so I can buy things other people spent their time on :) They turned out really cute I bet!

    • Becky permalink*
      March 7, 2012

      Um dude, the owl you sent me HAS to be extremely time consuming. Just the eyes alone! And that incredible blanket stitch! You could do this project in a snap.

  2. May 31, 2012

    Wow! Great idea! I wish I would have thought of this long ago! So many exclamation marks!

    Great job! (look, another one)

    • Becky permalink*
      May 31, 2012

      Thanks! Do it. It’s super fun.

  3. December 5, 2013

    Thanks so much for including your template. I’m printing it out right now to make a set of magnets for my boy for Christmas. I love your blog! I spent hours reading the other night! I couldn’t figure out if you’re still in Alexandria or not. We’re in N. Arlington right now.
    Felicity @ Our Little Beehive recently posted..State of the HiveMy Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      December 5, 2013

      I’m so glad you are making these!! They are actually really fun to work on :). We moved back to St Louis last March, it’s confusing for lots of readers! I need to clear it up on the blog :). Thanks for reading!!

      • Felicity permalink
        December 6, 2013

        Oh my goodness, how do you use the wax paper? I traced everything and cut them out. I just went to iron them onto my felt and they won’t stick! I tried both sides of the wax paper and neither sticks. Did I use the wrong stuff?

        • Becky permalink*
          December 6, 2013

          oh no! Are you using wax paper? Or parchment? Worst case, you can pin the wax paper onto the felt and cut around. I’ve done that a million times and it works. The wax sticking was just a tiny bit quicker, not much. Sorry!

          • Felicity permalink
            December 6, 2013

            It’s standard wax paper. I can’t get it to stick at all. Do you just iron it on? Use a press cloth? I’m tracing around the wax, but it’s not very neat. I’ve never used it like this before so I’d love to know how you use it (and how do I tell which is the waxy side?)

          • Becky permalink*
            December 7, 2013

            Ok, try using “Freezer Paper”. I was under the impressed it was the same thing as wax paper, but it sounds like there is a difference. I just tried it and it worked like a charm. I know parchment is different than wax paper, but didn’t know freezer was different too! I honestly bought it by accident years ago and had it sitting around and just tried it and it worked for this project. And the different sides are very easy to distinguish. Sorry for the confusion! I’ll make the change to the instructions.

  4. November 30, 2014

    I have printed my templates, bought my felt and magnets, and built up the confidence to try these. I have several young nieces and nephews and I am making these for Christmas gifts for them. But I am not very crafty, and I dont know what glue to use. I tried to make the glass bead magnetic letters from a different blog, and the E6000 glue I used is not cutting the mustard. Help!!?

    • Becky permalink*
      November 30, 2014

      Wow! This is ambitious…the one set took me a pretty long time and I had my mom to help with the stitching :) it was a fun evening activity though, I enjoyed it. For attaching the magnets I used the Tacky Glue that comes in the gold bottle with white top at the craft store. Worked great for us!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. 36+ Affordable Handmade Gift Ideas for Young Children - Humble in a Heartbeat

Comments are closed.