loading
No matter how cold it is my two little boys, ages 2 and 4, absolutely refuse to wear socks around the house. Every time I feel their feet they are literally like ice. When I put them to bed they often complain that their toes are cold but still don't want to wear socks. So, in an attempt to keep their little tootsies warm, and have a great excuse to sit around and embroider, I made these bed bug heat packs to throw under their covers at night.

I warm them up in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes and they stay warm for about an hour - as long as they stay covered.

The boys love them because they get to have bugs in their beds! And I love them because I don't hear about freezing feet anymore!

I titled this 'bed bug bean bags' but they are really filled with soft wheat. The name was a little more catchy than 'bed bug heat packs' so I couldn't resist.

You will need the following items to create bed bugs of your own:

-felt
-embroidery thread
-embroidery book - if you don't know the stitching
-needle
-scissors
-funnel
-filler - soft wheat, buck wheat, rice, dried beans, split peas, or anything that can hold heat. I used organic soft wheat. It retains heat longer than rice, and I like it better than dried beans because it is much smaller. Split peas also work well.

Step 1: Bug 1 - Draw Pattern and Cut Felt

You will first need to start with drawing a pattern. I didn't model my bugs after any particular living bug, I just drew something I thought was fun. After you draw one pattern duplicate it so you have two. This way you can cut one up for pattern pieces and still have one to reference.

I made three different styles of bugs and will walk through them all so don't get discouraged by the amount of photos and steps in this instructable. One bug will not take much time to make.

After you draw your pattern choose colors of felt and thread that you want to use for the bug. It's hard to say how much you will need since it will depend on how large or small you want your bug and how detailed you want the embroidery. I was able to use scraps that I had in my sewing box.

Cut out felt according to your pattern.

Step 2: Bug 1 - Stitch Pieces and Embroider

Starting with the head piece embroider a nose using a whip stitch. I went over it twice to make sure any gaps were filled in. This also gives the nose a little bit of a bump to give it shape.

Layer the head piece on top of the body piece and stitch on the eyes. I show this as stitching up and down (through the felt) because I find it hard to get through two pieces of felt using a backstitch this small. If you can or are making a longer stitch the backstitch is much faster. (A backstitch is basically a running stitch filling in the blank spaces.)

Next, fit the brow piece on top of the head piece and stitch together using a straight stitch.

Use the backstitch again and stitch the top of the brow piece to secure.

For the lines on the body I used a two colored pekinese stitch. This is a very easy stitch to master. First make a running stitch down the body of the bug using one color of thread. Add more lines if you want more. Next, choose a different color thread and loop the thread under the second backstitch catching only the thread and no felt. Loop back up through the first backstitch pulling to the desired size of loop. Continue with the remaining stitches to fill the entire line.

****I used my absolute love for embroidery mostly on the body of the bug(s). Much of embroidery looks very difficult but is, in fact, simple if you pay attention and follow instructions. I learned embroidery mostly from my mom and partly from Marie-Noelle Bayard's book Embroidery Techniques & Patterns. It is a fantastic book with easy to follow instructions. I will attempt to show and explain some of the stitches in my own words, however, I highly recommend the book if you are a beginner.

Step 3: Bug 1 - Edge Bug and Fill

Layer underside body piece on top of the embroidered body piece and edge using a butcher stitch. I call it a 'butcher stitch' because it is the same way a butcher ties meat! It may have an actual name but I don't know what it is! If you know, please let me know and I will edit accordingly.

Continue around the bug leaving a gap large enough to fill with soft wheat.

Using a funnel pour in the soft wheat to desired weight. Continue with the butcher stitch to enclose the bug. Knot the thread on the back and trim.

Since I made these for both of my boys I made two of each pattern. This way there is no fighting!

Step 4: Bug 2 - Draw Pattern and Cut Felt

This is the same as step 1 using a different pattern. I will go ahead and repeat the steps again in case you are following only this bug pattern.

Draw a pattern. After you draw one pattern duplicate it so you have two. Cut one pattern for pieces and keep one (not cut) for reference.

After you draw your pattern choose colors of felt and thread that you want to use for the bug. It's hard to say how much you will need since it will depend on how large or small you want your bug and how detailed you want the embroidery. I was able to use scraps that I had in my sewing box.

Cut out felt according to your pattern.

Step 5: Bug 2 - Stitch Pieces and Embroider

Starting with the mask piece embroider around the edge using a backstitch (or a running stitch filling in any blank spaces).

Layer the eye pieces on top of the mask piece and stitch on the eyes. I show this as stitching up and down (through the felt) because I find it hard to get through two pieces of felt using a backstitch this small. If you can or are making a longer stitch the backstitch is much faster. (A backstitch is basically a running stitch filling in the blank spaces.)

For the vertical line down the center of the body I used a reversed chain stitch (images 7-11). You are basically making a loop and catching it at the top making a small stitch to secure. If you are a beginner I recommend the book for more detailed instructions. If you are not a beginner and know some embroidery you should be able to follow the pictures and get the desired look. I added a little detail using filler stitches along the sides of the reversed chain stitch.

For the horizontal lines on the body I used a palestrina stitch (images 17-22). This is a more advanced stitch so if you are a beginner you may want to chose another stitch. If you are not a beginner I tried to photo illustrate how the stitch goes. After you master it you will see that is two loops (caught together) with a knot at the end.

I also used the palestrina stitch for the antennae and added three french knots down either side of the body. I didn't illustrate the french knot. It is not hard to do, however, it is hard to keep consistent and explain with photos.

Step 6: Bug 2 - Edge Bug and Fill

Layer underside body piece on top of the embroidered body piece and edge using a butcher stitch. I call it a 'butcher stitch' because it is the same way a butcher ties meat! It may have an actual name but I don't know what it is! If you know, please let me know and I will edit accordingly.

Continue around the bug leaving a gap large enough to fill with soft wheat.

Using a funnel pour in the soft wheat to desired weight. Continue with the butcher stitch to enclose the bug. The butcher stitch is a whip stitch catching the previous loop as to have an edge of thread (images 1-3). Knot the thread on the back and trim.

**When I tie off a knot on the back of a project I always take my needle and pass the thread through the fabric about a half inch and then trim. This way I don't have any loose threads that you can see. This keeps the project very tidy.

Step 7: Bug 3 - Draw Pattern and Cut Felt

This is the same as step 1 and 4 using a different pattern. I will go ahead and repeat the steps again in case you are following only this bug pattern.

Draw a pattern. After you draw one pattern duplicate it so you have two. Cut one pattern for pieces and keep one (not cut) for reference.

After you draw your pattern choose colors of felt and thread that you want to use for the bug. It's hard to say how much you will need since it will depend on how large or small you want your bug and how detailed you want the embroidery. I was able to use scraps that I had in my sewing box.

Cut out felt according to your pattern.

Step 8: Bug 3 - Stitch Pieces and Embroider

I left this step a little less detailed and skipped over a few of the simple stitches since it has already been explained a few times. I don't want to bore you with repeating myself.

Layer the head piece on top of the body piece and embroider along the curved edge using a backstitch. Make another line of backstitches about 1/4 inch from the first line. If you use the same length of stitches you will be able to diagonally stitch each backstitch resulting in something that looks complicated but isn't!

Layer the eye pieces on top of the head piece and stitch on the eyes. I show this as stitching up and down (through the felt) because I find it hard to get through two pieces of felt using a backstitch this small. If you can or are making a longer stitch the backstitch is much faster. (A backstitch is basically a running stitch filling in the blank spaces.)

Use the backstitch again to make the inner lines of the wings. Then with a different color use a stem stitch to line the backstitches giving more detail (images 6-7)

For the lines on the body I used a ladder stitch (images 8-9). This is a very easy stitch to master. You make a diagonal stitch not pulling too hard as to leave a small loop. Then catch the loop with your next diagonal stitch. Repeat to form a line of ladder stitches.

In each box of the ladder stitch I made a french knot again for added detail then added on a nose.

To outline the outer edge of the wing I used a stem stitch.

Step 9: Bug 3 - Edge Bug and Fill

Layer underside body piece on top of the embroidered body piece and edge using a butcher stitch. I call it a 'butcher stitch' because it is the same way a butcher ties meat! It may have an actual name but I don't know what it is! If anyone knows please let me know and I will edit accordingly.

Continue around the bug leaving a gap large enough to fill the bug.

Using a funnel pour in the soft wheat to desired weight. Continue with the butcher stitch to enclose the bug. Knot the thread on the back and trim.

Since I made these for both of my boys I made two of each pattern. This way there is no fighting!
<p>Too cute! My boys would love these :-)</p>
<p>Finished mine! love your patterns, thank you for sharing :)</p>
<p>you should sew in a straw for the mouth to more accurately depict the little blood sucking demons maybe a clear bag with catchup in the abdomen. oh and cover them in itching powder so you can have the full experience.</p>
<p>This is a great public relations project on behalf of the bed bugs. They get such a bad rap for being an annoying pest. It turns out that they are just adorable little bugs that like to cuddle in our beds ;)</p>
Wow these look like something you would buy at a store :)
Thank you! If you have patience for embroidery it is actually repetitive and very easy!
Hey Wold630, these bed bug heat packs are adorable!
Thank you. They are so useful too! Send me a picture if you decide to make some. They aren't just for kids!!
I made two of these, one with rice and one with great northern beans.<br>I put them both in the microwave for 30 seconds, when i took them out, they smelled like rice and beans, and had a lot of moisture in them..<br><br>Do all beans do this?
I didn't have this problem but I guess they could feel moist the first few times but after that I would think the rice should be completely dried out from microwaving. What kind of rice did you use? I have never tried northern beans (only black beans) so I can't say for sure about those. I would love to see a picture!
I&rsquo;m not sure of the brand, it is all written in Chinese.<br>I got a little creative after the first test one. the second two don&rsquo;t have any filler yet. <br>Thanks for this project, I&rsquo;m getting addicted! :)
these are soooooo wonderfully alive with color and personality.... I think I will make some too.
I know what I want for Xmas, hint...hint.. wink wink : )
These things look awesome, but I love that they're actually useful too. I think I want a couple larger versions of these for myself!
Thanks to everyone for all of the nice comments. I guess I never mentioned how big the bugs are. They are about 5 1/2 to 6 inches long and about 3 to 4 inches wide. Here is a picture of my son holding one of the bugs.
Darling, clever, beautifully made, etc., etc.! These will go on my faves list!
These are adorable!
I love the concept of &quot;Bed Bugs&quot; &ndash; So Cute! The embroidery stitches you've used are really impressive too. I can imagine that they boys would have a lot of fun with these. : )
super cute ! If you were closer I'm sure my daughters would love these in their kids consignment store
Ditto Jessy! How incredibly darling! I love the decorative stitches, especially the blue and yellow loopy stitch from the first bug! :)
Oh my goodness - those are precious! :D

About This Instructable

8,041views

125favorites

License:

Bio: Hi, my name is Jen! I'm a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, cake decorator ... More »
More by wold630:How Baking Works Blueberry Lemon Financiers Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe 
Add instructable to: