09 December 2021
Learn how to create pretty poinsettias by incorporating felt making with both hand and machine embroidery.
Always a firm festive favourite, these stunning poinsettias offer a big splash of red for your Christmas table, a fashion accessory, a wreath embellishment… The list goes on! Val Hughes guides you through the steps.
How to make a felt poinsettia
By Val Hughes.
You will need
- Merino wool fibres – Bright Red, Bright Green (25g of each colour for the small poinsettias, 50g for the large)
- Olive oil soap
- Sheet of white tissue paper
- Machine embroidery thread – black
- Hand embroidery thread – pink, orange
- Selection of beads – gold, pearl and salmon colours
- Hand sewing thread – black
- Brooch pin (optional)
- Template (click button below to download)
This template is for a small poinsettia. Please increase for a large poinsettia.
- An old towel
- Bamboo mat – 50cm square
- Tape measure
- Piece of nylon net curtain
- Spray bottle, filled with hot water
- Dressmaking pins
- Sewing machine with darning/embroidery foot fitted
- Sharp scissors
Get wet felting!
1. Place the towel on a suitable work surface and place the bamboo mat on top.
2. Take the red merino wool fibres and lay them, overlapping like tiles on a roof, onto the bamboo mat, keeping the layers fine and avoiding large clumps.
3. To make the large poinsettia, the laid-out fibres need to measure approximately 40cm square. For the small poinsettias, the laid-out fibres need to measure approximately 30cm square.
4. Place another layer of red merino wool fibre over the first, laying in the opposite direction.
5. Lay a third layer of fibres, in the same direction as the first layer, on top.
6. Cover the fibres with the piece of nylon net curtain and wet down both the wool fibres and net with hot water from the spray bottle. Rub over the net with your hand to distribute the water more evenly.
Feelin' festive? Yule find plenty more inspiration in Stitch magazine, like Ella Richards' fabulous stocking decorations in issue 133 and Stacey Chapman's magical nutcracker soldier in issue 134. Or, for stitching inspiration all year round, why not treat yourself to a subscription? The digital edition is perfect for any last-minute shoppers – we won't tell...!
7. Cover the wet net and wool fibres with olive oil soap, gently rubbing it across the surface.
8. Carefully roll the mat up tightly, including all the wool fibres and the net. Roll it backwards and forwards for approximately 100 rolls, then unroll the mat.
9. Gently lift the fibres and net from the mat and turn them 90 degrees. Roll the mat up again and repeat the rolling process. However, stop at 50 rolls to check the shrinkage of the felt.
Top tip! This change of direction enables the wool fibres to shrink evenly.
10. Turn regularly, never exceeding 50 rolls per direction in each turn, until the wool fibres have shrunk and matted together.
11. Rinse the newly-made felt with cool water, squeeze out the excess and pull back into shape. Leave to dry naturally.
12. Repeat the above steps to create the leaves, using the green merino wool fibres.
Top tip! If you prefer not to make your own, acrylic felt pieces will suffice. However, handmade felt gives a much more attractive and textured look to the piece and gives the opportunity to experiment with a new technique!
13. Trace the templates onto tissue paper and carefully cut out both the flower and leaf shapes.
14. Carefully pin the poinsettia template onto the red felt.
15. Set up your sewing machine for free machine embroidery by ensuring the feed dogs are down and setting the stitch length and width control to ‘0’. Attach the darning/embroidery foot to the sewing machine and use black machine thread (top & bobbin).
16. Begin stitching around the poinsettia, following the cut edge of the pattern on the template. When complete, remove the tissue paper. Don’t worry if you stitch into the tissue paper, this can easily be removed after stitching with tweezers.
17. Carefully pin the leaf template to the green felt and stitch around the edge of the pattern on the template. Make two leaves and remove the tissue paper from the felt once completed.
18. Free machine patterns that resemble veins onto the leaves.
19. Use sharp scissors to cut carefully around the stitched edge of both the red poinsettia and the green leaves.
20. With the pink and orange embroidery threads, make large straight stitches radiating from the centre of the poinsettia to add interest, texture, and colour to the flower.
21. Attach a cluster of beads in the centre of the poinsettia.
22. Stitch the green leaves in place from the back of the poinsettia, using black machine thread.
23. To make the poinsettia look even more three-dimensional, use your fingers to push into the middle of the flower, bringing the petals up around your fingers whilst cupping the base of the flower head in your other hand. This will then hold its shape.
24. Simply attach your finished poinsettias to your wreath or Christmas display for a cheerful pop of everlasting colour.
25. For a fantastically festive brooch, attach the pin securely to the back with black hand sewing thread.
Other fabulous ways to use your poinsettias
As a gift tag...
As a handbag decoration...
As a hair accessory...
On your Christmas stocking...
Find out more
Enjoyed wet felting? Then why not explore needle felting. It still uses wool tops, but you don’t need to get your hands wet. Check our guide or try the technique for yourself with this colourful felt sunset project. Or for a different medium, try our paper poinsettias tutorial!