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Picture of Sew felt Adventure Time Finn & Jake ornaments
Our house is on the market as we're waiting to move, but we foolishly sent all our holiday decorations to store in another state. So, I decided to get a little DIY and make ornaments from one of my favorite shows, Cartoon Network's Adventure Time. You say I'm too old for cartoons, I say there's no such thing as "too old" ;) Unless you're pulling people's braids or making spitballs, in which case you are definitely too old.

We have a number of vintage ornaments, many of which are quite simple and several of which are felt. I always thought they were quite charming, so I wanted to do sort of a retro "lo-fi" look, which works well with homemade anyhow. I made a pattern in Illustrator from a picture I drew (it's not traced or a copy of a specific image, honest).

As a bonus, I realized they'd be fairly easy for other people to make too, so they're perfect as an Instructable! (I hope.) I am writing this with people who have virtually no sewing experience in mind, therefore I've tried to be extra thorough in explaining each step.

The only difference between people who can sew, and people who can't, is that the people who can't haven't tried it yet. ;)

If you're worried it's too difficult for you, or you want to make it but have no need for ornaments, check the last page! I've offered some alternative suggestions.

NOTE: I do ask that, as with most Instructables, you respect the time that went into the project and that I made the choice to share it for free. Please don't sell my pattern or any ornaments you make with it.

 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials
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TOOLS:
Starred items are optional but helpful :)
Pattern printout (below, .JPG or .PDF)
Scissors (nice and sharp! It's a good idea to have separate scissors for paper and fabric.)
Small scissors: for cutting details*
A needle (a sharp, fine one is generally best imo)
Straight pins
Stuffing (lots of different kinds out there, they'll all do the trick.)
Tweezers or small locking forceps* (not too pointy is best): to make stuffing easier
Hole punch* (for Finn's eyes)
Fabri-Tac glue*: to hold pieces in place while they're being sewn

MATERIALS:
Felt:
For Finn: white, black, red
For Jake: mustard yellow (something between orange and yellow), white, black, red
(Note about felt: I use wool or wool/acrylic blend felt for details, and acrylic for large pieces. Wool comes in fewer colors and the white is generally more cream, but it's thicker and denser so it's easier to cut precisely.)

Ribbon or yarn: for making hanging loop
Thread:
For Finn: white, black, red
For Jake: yellow/orange/mustard, white, black, red

ALTERNATIVE ASSEMBLY METHOD FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SEW, TO DO WITH CHILDREN, ETC
I'd like to offer some simplification for those who are still intimidated by all the steps. You can glue small pieces down and NOT sew over them. I do recommend that if you do so that you use Fabri-tac glue specifically. It isn't really toxic but you do have to be careful of fumes, and please wash your hands afterwards. The advantages of it are that it's thick (so it won't drip or run) and easy to get in the right place, but it's strong, not hot like hot glue, and won't soak through or discolor your felt like white or similar glues. If you still want to try a little bit of sewing, instead of thread you can sew with a large needle and some yarn, Girl Scout style, to sew the front and back of the head together.

ALTERNATIVE USES
By altering the final step about putting in the loop for hanging, you can change the purpose. So don't be sad if you don't have a Christmas tree//don't celebrate it. It's just as good as a bag decoration, a magnet, an oversized pin, or just to hang on something else. If you want to dangle it from things, try making a very short ribbon loop and adding a jump or split ring to it so you can attach a ball chain or keyring. You can sew a magnet inside or glue it to the back to make a fridge magnet. Or you can use a bar pinback, sewn or hot glued down to the back piece before sewing it to the front, to make a big pin for your bag!

Step 2: Cutting out pattern and fabric

Picture of Cutting out pattern and fabric
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CUTTING OUT THE PATTERN
1. Gather up all your materials. It's best to do this first so you don't have to run around later! You need a clear space too since you'll be working with some very small bits.

2. Print out the pattern and identify your pattern pieces. You don't have to use the highest quality setting, you'll be cutting it up anyway. The pictures of Finn and Jake at the top are for reference, so you know where each piece goes. Below that is the exact same image, broken up into each piece you need to cut out. If the piece says x2 on it, you'll need to cut it twice. If it says nothing, you only need one.

3. Cut out the pattern pieces you need, as precisely as you can. You should cut on the outside of the gray line, both when cutting out the pattern, and the fabric. Pin larger pieces to your fabric if you like. It doesn't work well on small pieces, though. These you can just hold in place by pinching between your thumb and index finger of the hand you're not using to cut.

CUTTING OUT THE FABRIC
5. Put the pattern face up on your felt's right side** and cut it out. Don't worry if the shape looks a little jacked up when you take the pattern piece off, like mine does. It happens! We're going to fix all the pieces in a minute.

**TIP: If you've worked with sewing patterns before, you've probably heard this term; most fabrics aren't identical on the front and back. Felt does sort of have a right and wrong side; the wrong side is shinier, and the fibers are more visible. So it's better to put that part inside your ornament.

6. Now you're going to cut the back of Jake's head. Simply flip your pattern piece over and cut again. (It's much easier to be precise if you only cut one thickness at a time.)

4. Cut out the rest of your pieces: Jake's jowls, mouth, teeth, tongue, and two pieces for each eye. It's easier to cut them all out before you start. If your circles aren't quite perfect, don't worry. You pretty much have to just eyeball this, but an explanation that may help in cutting curves and circles** is below.

**TIP: Hold up your piece and use small scissors to cut across any areas that stick out like this /\ . Your cut goes across /\ like this A . Keep going around the circle until it looks right. Think of it this way: an octagon is very close to being a circle. If your octagon has a bunch of points, all close together, it would look almost exactly like a circle. Since it's very hard to cut a perfect, smooth circle, you're just adding more angles, which brings you closer to a circle. :) The same is true for curves.

***NOTE: I am assuming you don't have a hole punch in the right size. If you have punches for scrapbooking, they'll work on fabrics too. I used a punch to make Finn's eyes. It doesn't always cut cleanly, but you can just trim the fuzzies.



Step 3: Sewing: Jake's features

Picture of Sewing: Jake's features
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7. Now all that's done, time to start sewing! First, details that overlap are going to be sewn to each other; i.e., you work from the top down in terms of layers. I like to do it this way and then sew them to the head, because it's easier to go through fewer thicknesses. If you have trouble, you can sew the black pieces to the head first, and then work up.

8. We'll start with Jake's eyes. Each white piece is sewn down on top of the black piece. Most of the time the white part of Jake's eyes aren't centered, so if you look at the illustration you'll want your white piece to be slightly more towards the "inner corner" of the eye, with more black showing on the outside. You can use one of two types of stitches*** to do this. I've used both, depending on the piece, for visual variety mostly. You can use a running/straight stitch, or a whipstitch (see the illustration). In the picture I'm doing a whipstitch.

***NOTE: Some people use a blanket stitch on felt, but it's more complicated, so I'm not using it for this Instructable. If you know how to do it, you're welcome to!

9. You're going to do just the same thing with the mouth pieces. The teeth and tongue get sewn to the black part of the mouth. For the teeth, place them so that the bottom edge overlaps with the black, but not so that the tops of both are even. This is to cut down on thickness. On the tongue, I left a little bit of black below it. This leaves you space to sew it down to the head without switching thread colors. Other than that though, just sew those puppies down!

10. Now we're going to place the eyes and mouth on the head. For now, we're just going to sew the mouth down, but we have to get it in the right spot, and the best way to do that is position everything. Use the picture to help you place the jowls and mouth especially, since they overlap very slightly. Move the pieces around until it seems like everything's where you want it.

11. At this point you can remove all the pieces but the mouth, if you're comfortable holding the pieces in place with your thumb while you sew. If not, this is where the glue comes in. You only need a little dot in the center of each piece to keep them from moving; your stitches will hold them on in the long term.

12. Sew the mouth down first, then the jowls, then the eyes. I did the nose last. On the jowls, you can see that I sewed most of the way along the bottom and top, but not the entire way. This is to give the piece more dimension. I also put a tiny bit of stuffing up inside the "bridge of the nose" when I was entirely done with sewing. Both are totally optional.

Step 4: Sewing: Finishing

Picture of Sewing: Finishing
13. Last part is to sew the back and front of the head together, which includes sewing the loop in. If you're safe around fire (I'm certainly not especially), it's a good idea to candle hem your ribbon. Bend your ribbon in half, pinching the ends together, and hold it near a candle** or lighter flame. It makes the ornament more durable by preventing the cut edges from fraying.

**TIP: You only have to get the ribbon's bottom edges close to the flame, NOT in it, as it will catch fire. You just want it to melt a little. Same thing you do on nylon rigging for boats. Alternatively, or if you are using yarn instead, you can tie the ends in a knot.

14. Place the front and back parts of Jake's head on top of each other. The ribbon loop goes at the center top. That's the best place to start sewing, so that you don't have to hold it in place for too long. It's okay if the pieces don't match up exactly. Once they're sewn you can trim it, which is why I prefer to use a running stitch about 1/8" from the edge. When you've gone around the bottom and are a few centimeters/half an inch from closing up the piece, it's time to stuff his head.

TIP: Instead of knotting and cutting the thread off, only to start again to sew that last little bit, I just slip the needle off so I can stuff without stabbing myself, then put it back on to finish.

15. If you have tweezers or small forceps, this will be easy. If you're using your fingers, maybe not so much ;) You can also use a pencil (not a sharp one!) to shove some polyfill down in there. How little or how much you use is really up to you; if you prefer a flat ornament, you don't have to do it at all!

TIP: For mine, I take small sections of stuffing and pull them apart slightly so they're somewhat flat before I put them in. This helps keep the stuffing from clumping up. Jake's already been Lumpy once, I'm sure he'd rather not be again.

16. Once you have the stuffing how you like it, just close up that opening and you are DONE! Go hang that algebraic dude on your tree!

Step 5: Conclusion & Alternatives

Picture of Conclusion & Alternatives
There is an infinite number of other characters you can use the method to create. You don't have to have Illustrator skills; you can hand-draw your patterns and use a photocopier to make multiples so you can cut them apart without messing up your original. You can make your own personal version of a favorite character, wearing a party hat, a bow tie, a flower in their hair, whatever you want. And of course you can create your own characters, too.

ALTERNATIVE ASSEMBLY METHOD FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SEW, TO DO WITH CHILDREN, ETC
I'd like to offer some simplification for those who are still intimidated by all the steps. You can glue small pieces down and NOT sew over them. I do recommend that if you do so that you use Fabri-tac glue specifically. It isn't really toxic but you do have to be careful of fumes, and please wash your hands afterwards. The advantages of it are that it's thick (so it won't drip or run) and easy to get in the right place, but it's strong, not hot like hot glue, and won't soak through or discolor your felt like white or similar glues. If you still want to try a little bit of sewing, instead of thread you can sew with a large needle and some yarn, Girl Scout style, to sew the front and back of the head together.

ALTERNATIVE USES: NOT JUST TREE ORNAMENTS!
By altering the final step about putting in the loop for hanging, you can change the purpose. So don't be sad if you don't have a Christmas tree//don't celebrate it. It's just as good as a bag decoration, a magnet, an oversized pin, or just to hang on something else. If you want to dangle it from things, try making a very short ribbon loop and adding a jump or split ring to it so you can attach a ball chain or keyring. You can sew a magnet inside or glue it to the back to make a fridge magnet. Or you can use a bar pinback, sewn or hot glued down to the back piece before sewing it to the front, to make a big pin for your bag!
straw18802 years ago
I just made one of Finn for my friend's birthday/Christmas, sadly I couldn't find the right colour of felt for Jake.
I sewed the basic outline and just glue everything else on because they were so dainty haha
Thank you so much for the pattern~
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nennikers2 years ago
Adorable! Thanks for sharing...my kids are gonna LOVE these!

I use acrylic felt because wool or wool/acrylic is hard to find around here. To cut accurately, I glue the pattern pieces to freezer paper and iron the freezer paper onto the felt. Cut out. Accurate every time, and the freezer paper peels right off.
Ladyleopard3 years ago
Hope the picture showed up on this comment:(
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Ladyleopard3 years ago
This tutorial was so much fun, thank you for sharing:) here is my attempt at your mathematical pattern:)

Sorry for picture qaulity :P
XxsonicxX3 years ago
where are jakes jowles
RIGHTEOUS!!!!!
aye13 years ago
where can i buy the felt? O: this is so cute and i really want to make this >.<
I did blanket stitiching around the edges and I used the fabri-tac glue you reccommended, it works well.
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houseofdarkly (author)  Princess863424 years ago
That's great! Thanks so much for sharing yours! :D
neoner4 years ago
ALGEBRAIC!
happyjo4 years ago
Hamacow, this is legit! :D
miniclipper4 years ago
What the cabbage Ricardio
SHIFT!4 years ago
Rhombus! Nice Job houseofdarkly! I'll be posting an instructable very soon that I think as a fellow Adventure Timer, you might enjoy as well!
miniclipper4 years ago
SHMOWZOW, ADVENTURE TIME , MATHMATECAL , OMG !!!!!!
holyfire4 years ago
This is so AWESOME!!! This will go perfectly with the Finn hat I made!
hawkfrost644 years ago
OH YES. RIGHTEOUS LIKE A QUEST!!!
I must agree, these things are way algebraic. I'd love to see some of princess bubblegum and marceline.
Mathematical!
Shmowzow!