DIY Plush Toy Wish List

Shark Monster from Karen's Monsters

This post from Wild Olive recently has me thinking about my favorite part of a project. My very favorite part is stuffing plush toys. It might in fact be why I make so many plush toys. I love the moment when it goes from a 2-D image to 3-D. When it all of a sudden becomes real. It’s really between one pinch of fluff and the next. It’s like I can’t really see what the personality is going to be until then. That’s usually the point it gets a name and story too.

Here are some of the projects I’ve been eying. Even though I make a lot of my own patterns for softies, I love to see and adapt from other people’s ideas.

Snuggle Bunny and Kitty from GingermelonI love these sweet faces on the Snuggle Bunny and Kitty from Gingermlon. The stitching details and the blushed cheeks are all superb. But honestly, it’s the ears that do it for me.

Secret Notes Monkey DIY from A Beautiful MessI must have a thing for embroidered eyelashes right now. These sleepy monkeys from A Beautiful Mess have little pockets for notes. I can totally imagine making two of them in not quite matching fabric to live on my bed with their tails crossed just like this.

Black Forest Felt Antlers from One More MushroomThese amazing felt antlers from One More Mushroom are not technically plush toys as they hang on the wall. But really how amazing are they! Is it just me that has a fascination with child-decor?

All the photos in this post belong to their respective and linked sites (except the first, which is mine).

Masking Watercolors Tutorial

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

April is National Letter Writing Month according to the USPS. So this seems like a good time to make some stationary. This is a super easy project to make your own cards and get to play with watercolors.


Wax Resist Sticks*
Watercolor Paints
Large Square Paintbrush
Watercolor Paper
Palette (or something to use as a palette)
Jar or Cup for Water

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

I had hoped that I could use a white colored pencil to make a more fine line on my cards, but they didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. I ended up going out and buying the wax resist sticks from my local art supply store as well as some masking fluid (see after the tutorial for a comparison of all three of these products).

Step One

Draw out your design. I taped up a design I liked to the window and a piece of watercolor paper on top of it and then traced out the design I wanted. You can also try drawing freehand. If you draw freehand, keep in mind that it’s hard to see the wax on the white paper, so a loose, messy design is probably going to work out best.

Note: If you want to make folded note cards, score and fold the paper now so you place your design in the right place.

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Step Two

Paint! Use a large paint brush and not too much water. More saturation of color works better for this project, so bright or darker colors and the minimum amount of water to flow across the page.

Try moving around in an circular motion to create a shape on the page, or a series of swipes all in the same direction. Allow the colors to mix on the paper instead of on the palette. If you’ve never painted a watercolor wash before, I recommend checking out this tutorial for the process.

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Step Three

Let the paint dry almost all the way and then very very carefully using a paper towel, tissue, or q-tip dab the paint from the waxed areas. It will bead up a bit on the wax, which looks pretty cool, but it will stand out more if you clean it off. Dabbing at the paper is counter-productive, but the paint on the paper will dry faster, so just a wait a few moments.

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Different Masking Options:

I first tried using a white colored pencil I already had at home. But it turned out like this:

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

You can almost see where it says Happy Birthday, right? I think maybe that particular colored pencil didn’t have enough wax to it. Not all pencils are created equal, I think. But I got so fed up that I went looking for something that I knew would work.

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

My local art store had this Art Masking Fluid and these Wax Resist Sticks. You can see above how the wax resist sticks did. They don’t have the same level of detail that the colored pencil might have, but I really like the messy look they provided.

The Masking Fluid* though is hands down my favorite. I could lightly draw (or use graphite transfer paper) a design on to the paper and as long as I cover up all of my pencil marks with the masking fluid I was able to erase my marks after the paint was dry and the masking fluid had been removed. I’m really excited to try out ALL of the projects with this masking fluid now.

Watercolor Masking Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Keep in mind that how well it works is mostly dependent on your painting or calligraphy skills. (The instructions on the bottle specified that it could be used like ink for a calligraphy pen.) I am not at all skilled with a calligraphy pen, but I’m not too bad with a paintbrush. So I painted this penguin with a paintbrush in the masking fluid and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

*These links are Amazon Affiliate Links. I make a few pennies off of these if you order from my links.

A Little In Love With Patterns

Whale Repeating Pattern

It seems like lately everyone is talking about designing your own patterns. Maybe it’s just me, but I want to jump on the fabric designing band wagon. I’ve got a folder full of scanned sketches that are so ready to be turned into fabric. I see french foxes, blue whales, animals wearing party hats, and multi-colored pears in my future.

A few of the tutorials that have been helpful for me in figuring this all out:

This is the original non-digital tutorial that helped me wrap my brain around how to make a repeating pattern. You literally cut a piece of paper and tape it together in a different configuration and keep drawing.

Use your own paintings to make a pattern digitally like this tutorial from The Jungalow.

Even Seamwork Magazine’s latest edition has an easy looking tutorial to make a repeating pattern using scanned flowers.

And this one doesn’t have the pretty pictures that the rest do, but I found this GIMP tutorial useful, since I don’t have Photoshop.

Bunny Projects

I do this every year. I go a little crazy about bunnies right around Easter. I blame pinterest and the plethora of adorable bunny projects that pop up. Granted I think bunnies are cuter when you don’t have to clean up from them, so I much prefer bunny-decorated crafts rather than the real thing hopping around.

Here are some that I’m enjoying right at this moment.

DIY Iron-on Bunny T-shirt from Alice & Lois

This tutorial for an adorable bunny shirt from Alice & Lois could solve any last minute bunny needs, since it’s literally just print and iron-on. But the real loveliness of this project is the bunny. I think you could spend a long time looking for the perfect bunny image without finding another this perfect.

Bunny Coin Purse from Sew DIYSew DIY’s Bunny Coin Purse is a simple sewing project and would be great for a beginner sewer. Especially when I’m learning something, I appreciate a quick project. That way I won’t exhaust my patience for how slow I am at working on new things.

Peek-A-Boo Bunny Bag from Minted StrawberryNot that I need another tote bag. But none of my current totes have a pocket on the outside. So maybe I do need this one. The easy tutorial is from Minted Strawberry.

The Giving Bunny Project from Urban ThreadsThe Giving Bunny Project from Urban Threads makes me happy as only free art does. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in a free art project (or just want to make these cute but weird tiny bunnies), check out the project here.

All of the photos in this post belong to their respective and linked sites.

Book Review: Cut Out + Keep: Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

I was very excited to receive Cut Out + Keep‘s book: Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects. So for this  month’s craft night, I chose to do a project out of this book.

The book is broken up into regions of the United States with a project for each state. I’m pretty jealous of the obviously epic road trip the writers took to create the book. There are photos and anecdotes about each state. It’s interesting to see the country through their eyes, maybe because they aren’t Americans, but also because of their obvious delight with the strange and interesting.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

The projects themselves are a mixed bag. They are, for the most part, projects that could be completed in a few hours and don’t require a lot of specialized tools or supplies that the average crafter wouldn’t have on hand. But the aesthetic ranges across the board. There’s likely to be at least one thing for most every crafter in the book, but probably not many who want to do every project.

So Monday night was craft night.

The Delaware project is a shrinky dink necklace, “The First State Necklace”. We chose to forgo the cork backing and pin.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

It’s a pretty simple project; it requires: clear shrink film, some maps you don’t mind cutting up, double-sided adhesive, a jump ring, and a chain.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

The ladies who attended craft night hadn’t played much with shrinky dink (or at all) so we had a lot of fun crowding around the oven to watch it shrink. It’s seriously magic.

I think we could have finished the project in under an hour if we hadn’t spent so much time talking and being distracted by my cat. But really what’s the point of crafting together if we aren’t going to distract ourselves?

The longest part of the whole endeavor was probably finding exactly the right piece of map to use.

There are definitely a few more projects I’m looking forward to from the book and I read all the way through for the travel anecdotes alone.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for this review, but no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.

St. Patty’s Day Decorations

While I’m not super excited about St. Patrick’s Day, I do love a good excuse to either dress up or decorate. Although I still don’t understand people’s wish to be Irish for one day a year.

Here are some crafty tutorials for the upcoming holiday.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Last year’s project to ensure I had something green to wear, this shamrock and rainbow pin tutorial is fun and easy.

Clover Crown from Oh Happy Day

I  love this clover crown from Oh Happy Day! It’s clever and beautiful.

Shamrock Streamers from Studio DIY

If you make the crown (above), you’ll probably have green streamers leftover. So why not make these Shamrock Streamers from Studio DIY.

St Patricks Day Photo Props from Lia GriffithEveryone loves a good photo booth (they seem to be everywhere these days). And these props from Lia Griffith are great. While she makes them on her Cricut machine, they would still be as cool hand cut.

Baby Clothes & Screen Printing Stencils

Baby Shower Gift | Red Circle Crafts

I went to a good friend’s baby shower last weekend, so I can finally share what I made. Although if you follow me on Instagram, there were a few sneak peaks.

Bear Baby Outfit | Red Circle Crafts

This isn’t the first time I’ve used these particular patterns even in this size, but it always amazes me how small newborn baby clothes are. How on earth will a human being fit in them!

Bear Baby Outfit | Red Circle Crafts

The shirt didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. Part of which was definitely the machine I used. My sewing machine died on me recently. (I may need to hold a memorial service for it.) Fortunately my Mom was able to gift me her old machine to use until I’m able to get a new sewing machine. BUT this machine has few of the bells and whistles I’m used to. I prefer to use a double needle to sew knits. And there’s no second spindle to hold a second spool of thread. I kind of made do, but it wasn’t great and required a bit of finagling. So when I might have taken out a seam and redone it, I chose not to, because I didn’t want to sew more than necessary. Also, I must have stretched out the neck when I sewed on the edging, or attached the front and back at the shoulders incorrectly. Either way, I didn’t realize it until was far too late to fix, without practically starting over. My last shirt from this pattern turned out much better.

The pants pattern is a free pattern from The Allison Show.

The shirt pattern is from Small Dream Factory and comes in sizes all the way up to 2T.

Mountain Scene Screen Print | Red Circle Crafts

I also bought a pack of newborn onesies to screen print on. Because I had a few ideas I wanted to print.

Bunny Screen Print | Red Circle Crafts

I LOVE how they turned out. The bunny was probably the most difficult to draw, cut out, and print. I won’t be recreating it, because I didn’t end up with a clear print even once, but I still like it. The bear and the mountain scene were comparatively easier. I’ve included a pdf of them at the bottom of this post that you’re welcome to print out and use to make your own screen printing stencils from. They would both work with my screen printing kit (available for sale in my etsy store).

Download Here


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