Sunday, April 6, 2014

Art Project: Sewn Collages with Felt and Burlap

Over the last 5 years of doing after-school clubs, I have become better at recycling (or "upcycling") art supplies to reuse in new projects. When planning the Easter Club this year, I looked around at what I had and saw that we still had tons of burlap left over from our wool pictures that we have used in several clubs and children's church. And as you can imagine, being a Godly Play teacher, I have lots of felt scraps lying around as well. So, inspired by an idea that I saw in an art book where the children sewed pictures onto cloth, I came up with this idea for sewn collages. 

In setting up this corner of our Godly Play room, I tried to visually explain the process to the children with the examples below, so that they could figure out what to do without asking. This was, of course, motivated by the Montessori principle, "help me to help myself". I then threaded several needles with embroidery thread and had them in a pin cushion with a needle threader beside it. 

Here are the visual examples of the process for the children to follow:
1) pinning the cut-out felt pieces onto the burlap
2) sewing the felt pieces onto the the cloth

I also made my example as simple as possible, because I have learned that if I make a full picture, some children often simply copy my work rather than coming up with their own ideas. 

The children needed about two sessions to complete their work. These were 1-5 graders, who worked independently for the most part. Preschoolers would probably needed more time and slightly more assistance. 

Here are a couple of examples of the children's work:

In general, I have found that both girls and boys in the elementary years love to sew. Obviously, sewing is good for their fine motor skills, and there is something very satisfying about the end result. 


  1. Looking forward to trying this, as yet haven't had anyone take up the burlap, I thought they might try to do some simple embroidery but maybe stitching some felt might work

    1. Be sure to post some pictures of the children's work on your blog for us to see , Nicky!

  2. Wonderful idea, Sheila! Love how you invite the children to use new techniques, yet leave space for them to create on their own.