Hi all! I swear it says September 21 on the calendar, but the nearly ninety degrees here in Minnesota is not the chilly, cozy fall atmosphere it should be. While the temperatures have been disappointing for my favorite season, it’s not going to stop me from getting in the fall spirit. With kids in school, I know they are looking forward to their favorite autumn holiday: Halloween! While costumes are still in the planning stages, I wanted to get a head start on treat bags. It has to be sturdy to hold all that candy and last year I made a super cute monster treat bag. But this year I wanted to make a bag that would be great for everyday not just Halloween. So this DIY uses a technique called needle felting to make a comic bubble bag which is adorable and durable.
This tote is not only good for kids, but for chic geek adults too. Needle felting merges the fabric together giving you a strong bond without iron on adhesive or other glues. Customize the colors to fit with your style or stay true to the bright and bold pop art style. Create your own and show everyone your fun, geeky side.
What you need to make this fun comic bubble bag is:
- Reusable canvas tote
- Free Comic Bubble Printouts:
- Felt sheets in bright, contrasting colors
- Needle felting supplies
- Felting needles
- Needle felting brush or foam
- Felting needle holder (Optional but recommended)
- Optional – Black yarn
All of these items can be found at your local craft store or online. You could glue the felt pieces to the canvas bag, but I found that needle felting will last longer and is more fun. With the rest of the needle felting supplies at your craft store, will be holders for the needles which I highly recommend. Some are pen shaped and hold a few needles at together and other holders are like a stamp holding more needles. Using the holders saves time and your hands from holding those slim needles.
When you are needle felting you will stick the needle through the felt and the fabric at the same time. So you need a surface to work on that allows you to do that without pricking your fingers or felting through the other side of the bag. I have a special felting brush for this purpose, but you can also use a piece of thick upholstery foam. The foam will give you that firm surface you need while still allowing the needle to press into it. Small pieces of foam probably will be embedded on the inside of your bag. But that won’t affect the finished look of your bag.
One last thing before we start this DIY. Needles come in both “fine” and “coarse”, but that doesn’t really matter for this project. Either size is fine since it uses sheets of felt and not wool roving.
To start your felted bag download and print the comic bubbles and texts from the links above. Then you can start cutting the words out of your felt sheets.
First trim off some of the excess paper around the comic printouts. Cut out a piece of felt just large enough to fit the word or bubble. Lots of little felt scraps are left over using this method, but it’s much easier to cut them out this way. Otherwise you are juggling an excess of materials while cutting out somewhat detailed designs.
Use the printouts as a guide to cut out each letter. To get the holes for letters like “o” and “p”, I folded the paper and felt together over the center of the holes. Then I cut out the holes following the template on one side. You get a nice, symmetrical hole in your letter.
Follow the same method for the comic bubbles as well until you have all your pieces ready to felt. Then decide where you want each comic bubble on your bag before you start felting.
Now that you know where the bubbles should go, slip your felting brush or foam inside the bag underneath the comic bubble. Starting in the center, quickly poke the felt needles through the felt and canvas and back out again. This is where it’s really nice to have a felting needle holder. Because you need to keep poking the whole design until it’s thoroughly felted in place. Some strands of felt will poke through the back and that’s good. It shows that the fabrics are merging together.
Needle felting is fun and a good stress reliever. There’s something oddly satisfying about rapidly poking the needles through the fabric over and over. And you get a great looking bag at the end of it, bonus! 😀
Once the comic bubble is firmly felted in place, you can start felting the letters.
Decide where you want your letters before you start felting. Since you are merging the fabrics together, trying to reposition them can be anywhere from annoying to downright impossible. Once in place, start felting at the thickest part of the letter. Keep quickly poking the felt and canvas together like before.
You might also want to use a metal thimble or tweezers to keep your fingers out of the way. The felting needles are sharp so please be careful.
There’s no precise method to needle felting. Just keep poking the whole design until it’s felted into place. When it’s finished, the felt feels like it’s matted together. One thing is for sure, those comic bubbles are not coming off which is perfect for kids and busy adults alike.
Now that all the bubbles and words are felted to the bag, you can stop here and start showing off your new bag. Or if you want that classic pop, you can outline your design with some black yarn.
Outlining your design can be a bit tricky, but it really gives the bag a vintage comic pop. Also I recommend only outlining larger designs. The black yarn can tend to overwhelm smaller designs, and you end up with more outline than actual design.
I outlined the edge of the bubble first, but it really doesn’t matter. Start by felting the end of the yarn along the edge of the bubble or letter. Then work your way along the edge felting as you go. When you come around to where you started, trim the yarn so you have just enough to complete the outline and felt it in place. Repeat the process until everything has a nice, bold outline. If one outline meets another, don’t bother overlapping the yarn. Needle felting will mesh the whole design together. So you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Mission complete! You’ve conquered needle felting and made yourself a fantastic comic bubble bag!
I have been loving this comic bubble bag! It’s great for a day at the park or trips to the library. Anytime I can stylishly show my geeky side is great. It will also be a wonderful addition to a super hero costume this Halloween. This bag is quickly becoming my favorite reusable bag.
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I hope you and your family are enjoying this fall regardless of the weather. If you have enjoyed this DIY and wish to see more bag or felting DIYs please let me know in the comments below. Next time I’ll have a yummy autumn twist on a classic treat. Until then remember you are always welcome at Home with Heartland.