Introduction: Colorful Fringed Upcycled Pet Bed
This project was inspired by one of my cats, McGee (seen in photo 2). He LOVES to sleep on the Amazonbubble mailers that I often get in the mail. He also loves the crinkly noise these mailers make. If there is a mailer that gets left on the couch, he claims it, and it stays on the couch for weeks. I have placed a couple of these mailers inside his favorite box (again, see Photo 2) that I covered to coordinate with the decor in my living room. These mailers are not known to be highly attractive, nor are they thought to be part of the typical home decor. So, after looking at one of the last mailers on my sofa for a few weeks, I thought it was time to make something that looked more fun and appealing.
Now, my other cat, Cheddar Biscuits, LOVES string! When I say she LOVES string, I mean she brings it to my bed in the middle of the night hoping I will play string with her when I wake up. She wraps string around my feet while I am cooking or washing dishes in the kitchen, hoping to get my attention so I will play string with her. She will wake up from a dead sleep somewhere in the house and come running when she hears my feet getting close to where she left her string. So, I thought of adding string (yarn fringe) to this project for Cheddar.
Lets start with the supplies I used. I only used items I had here at the house. This is the Coronavirus Stay-At-Home isolation period, so I shopped my stash! I have used most of my fabric stash making masks for anyone who needs/wants one. This made me look around for something other than new cotton fabric. I also wanted to upcycle something else along with the bubble mailers. While rummaging around my closet I found the perfect fabric: a fleece blanket I won at some housewarming party I went to many years ago. Yay, I have found the makings for a good pet bed.
Now, because I am a crafter in the fiber arts, I had no trouble finding yarn to make fringe. I keep a tote under my bed that is stuffed full of yarn. I took the fleece blanket to the tote and chose my colors of yarn for the project. I had EVERYTHING in my stash to make this project!
Most of the supplies are shown in photo 3 above; however, as I began working, I realized there were a three additional items I used to make this project easier (pins, tape, and crochet hook).
Fabric, fleece: 1 piece 14" x 18.5" (Top); 2 pieces 14" x 12" (Bottom) (I used a throw blanket)
2 - Bubble mailers - about 13" x 17.5"
Yarn, coordinating or contrasting to fabric
Yarn Needle, sharp
Scissors (2 shown above are fabric and craft, because you NEVER use fabric scissors on paper or plastic)
Scrap piece of cardboard about 9" x 3" or 10" x 3"
Tape, scotch or masking
Crochet hook (optional)
(in our case the bubble mailers)
Step 1: Measure & Prepare Mailers
Originally, there was going to be one mailer in this project. The day I started gathering my supplies I received another Amazon package in the mail. It was in the same sized mailer, YAY! I thought McGee would like the extra padding and more crinkly noise! Trimming the corners of the mailers is optional, but I felt that it would help prevent the corners from poking through the yarn blanket stitch that will hold the top and bottom layers of fabric together.
Photo 1: Measure one mailer to determine the size you need to cut your fabric. Cut your fabric 1" larger than the mailer for seam allowance and mailer thickness allowance.
Photo 2: Trim sealed edges of second mailer sides and top opening about 0.5". Slide second mailer inside first mailer.
Photos 3, 4 & 5: Trim away & round corners of the two mailers together.
Set mailers aside and move on to preparing fringe template.
Step 2: Prepare Yarn Fringe Template
I didn't want really long fringe. I felt that three inches should be adequate. I cut 2 pieces of cardboard 4.5" x 3" and stacked them together held with 4 folded pieces of scotch tape. Then, I added a couple of pieces of tape on the 3" long ends but not along the entire length. I left about 0.5" at each end not taped to allow room for scissors to slide between cardboard for cutting yarn.
Photo 1: Using scrap cardboard, measure and mark two areas according to the size fringe desired.
Photo 2: Cut two pieces from cardboard for fringe template.
Photos 3 & 4: Place 3-4 folded tape loops on one piece of cardboard then place second piece of cardboard onto the taped piece. Add tape along the loop length ends of the cardboard pieces leaving about 0.5" not taped.
Set aside until ready to make fringe loops. Now, onto the fabric.
Step 3: Cut, Layer, and Stitch Layers Together
I cut 3 pieces from the throw, 1 piece for the top and 2 pieces for the bottom. If you've ever used a pillow sham on your bed, then you will recognize the overlapped bottom layer that allows you to insert the pillow (in our case the bubble mailers) from the overlapped middle section of the back inside without need of buttons, zippers, or ties. I chose a fun, somewhat contrasting yarn to stitch my layers together. It is a variegated blue, green, and aqua blend of colors. I let the colors of this yarn plus the colors in the fleece (and what was available in my stash) to determine what colors I used for the fringe. *** NOTE *** I found that pulling that needle eye and yarn through the layers of this fleece was a little tough. I had to wiggle it around to stretch the hole sometimes to get it through.
Photo 1: Cut 2 bottom pieces measuring 14" x 12"
Photo 2: Overlap 2 bottom pieces (12" length) approximately 3.25" making the two pieces together measure 18.5"
Photo 3: Cut 1 top piece 14" x 18.5"; place on the bottom pieces, aligning all sides.
Photo 4: Optional: you can use sewing straight pins around all sides to keep the edges aligned properly while sewing together (paper clips or clip clothes pins would work in a pinch, too).
Photo 5: Choose yarn for sewing layers together.
Photo 6: Use blanket stitch to sew all layers together. Make stitches about 0.5" long. These stitches will be used to attach fringe.
Photo 7: Sewing Completed.
Photo 8: Testing the fit of the bubble mailer.
It's time to make the fringe.
Step 4: Make & Attach Fringe
I used the two layer fringe template's 3" length to wrap yarn around and cut fringe. I wrapped about 20 times with each of 10 colors. I didn't count my blanket stitches to know how many loops I needed, so this was a guess. It was an incorrect guess resulting in too few fringe pieces, but not by much. I decided to put my fringe on according to color from whites to yellows to greens to blues to the variegated yarn at the end. Randomizing the yarn colors or mixing them together might have been fun, but I wanted the repeating pattern. When I finished attaching all of the fringe, I realized it needed some of the red that coordinated with the red stripe in the fabric. I didn't want a lot of red, but I felt it was needed. So, back to my stash I went. Whew, I had some! This is why the red yarn was not pictured in my Materials photo at the beginning.
Now, I tried starting with 6 strands of yarn in a loop. That was WAY too much. I took it down to 3 strands, which still felt like too much. Finally, I tried just 2 strands, and it was just right. (Wow, did anyone else have flashbacks of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?) I skipped all 4 corner blanket stitches with the fringe because I had an idea to add toys for McGee (and especially my other cat, Cheddar). I thought pom poms would be a fun addition!
I used a crochet hook to draw the yarn fringe loops through the blanket stitches, but this can be done without a hook. Fingers only can be used if you don't have arthritis and tendonitis in your fingers. A pen or pencil can be used to pull the stitch away from the fabric to make it easier to feed the yarn through the blanket stitch.
Photo 1: Supplies for making fringe: cardboard fringe template, yarn of choice, scissors
Photo 2: With 2 layers of cardboard for the template, the scissors will slide between the layers for easier cutting.
Photo 3: The order of colors that used.
Photo 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8: Two strands of yarn, insert hook (or fingers) through the blanket stitch; catch the folded 2 strands of yarn; pull through the blanket stitch; wrap 4 strands of yarn over the hook (or grip between fingers) and pull 4 strands through loop on hook (or in fingers); pull the ends to tighten the knot made on the blanket stitch.
Photo 9: Display of color order and beginning of repeated pattern.
Pom Poms are next on the agenda.
Step 5: Making Pom Pom Corner Toys
I don't know about your cats, but I have one young cat (less than 1 year) who loves to play. Her favorite toys are string (she has 2 special strings) and milk rings. She also has a squeaky mouse on an elastic string that she loves to bat around as well as a large pom pom on her cat tree scratching post. So, I thought I should put some pom poms on the corners for entertainment. I first added the yellow pom poms, but when I realized I needed some red fringe, I thought red pom poms would be great. Unfortunately, I ran out of red after 2 pom poms. Because I cannot let it be uneven, I added 2 blue pom poms on opposite corners. Ah, balanced is much better.
I wanted to show that special tools were not needed to make this project, so I opted to make the pom poms with 3 fingers instead of a pom pom maker. I wrapped the yarn about 70 times around the 3 fingers, slid the yarn off and placed it on a single strand of yarn. I tied the yarn around the looped yarn holding the first tie tightly with my fingernail while making the knot. I used my scissors to cut the loops of the pom poms. Holding the ties, I shook the pom poms and trimmed until they looked the way I wanted them to look. After making the pom poms, I looped them onto the corner blanket stitches similarly to the fringe. For extra strength, I tied again with a knot.
Photo 1 & 2: Loop yarn on three fingers 70 times.
Photo 3: Use 1 strand yarn to tie around the loops of yarn.
Photo 4: Cut loops of yarn, shake, and trim pom poms to shape.
Photo 5: 4 pom poms, 1 for each corner.
Photo 6: Attach pom poms similarly to fringe loops.
Step 6: Insert Bubble Mailers
Like I said earlier, I made this similar to pillow shams for bedding. With my hand, I reached between the overlapped layers of the bottom to find the lower layer. I slipped the mailers under the lower layer first, taking it to the end. Then I pulled the upper layer over the other end of the mailer. I flattened the mailer and fabric and turned it over. This project is completed.
Photo 1: Insert mailers into the lowest overlapped bottom section.
Photo 2: Pull upper overlapped bottom section over remaining portion of mailer.
Photo 3: Completed Colorful Fringed Upcycled Pet Bed.
Next, was it cat approved?
Step 7: Did It Meet With Cat Approval?
Both McGee and Cheddar loved the new pet bed. They have both slept on it, and Cheddar loves playing with the pom poms.
Thank you for checking out my Colorful Fringed Upcycled Pet Bed project. Let me know what you think.
Participated in the
Yarn Speed Challenge