I am always finding new supplies to help make crafts, but there are certain staple items that got me started and now I could not work without them! I generally use the same supplies for most of my projects, so below is my list of general supplies that I use for all of my crafts. If you are new to hand sewing or making felt crafts, here is my suggested list of essential supplies to get you started:
FeltSo far I have only worked with craft acrylic felt, but you can also buy wool felt and even felt that is recycled from plastic bottles! Wool felt is thicker and sturdier, but more expensive and a little harder to come by in stores. You can buy 9x12 inch individual sheets of felt from most craft stores, or buy it in a bulk pack of assorted colors. There are also many online stores that sell felt and leftover felt scraps. You can also buy felt by the yard at fabric stores if you need something bigger than a 9x12 inch sheet.
Embroidery NeedlesI bought this multi pack of embroidery needles from Joann a few months ago, and I have been using them ever since with no problems. Embroidery needles have a larger eye which makes it easier to thread embroidery floss.
Embroidery FlossFloss comes in many different colors and can be bought individually by the skein or in large packs of assorted colors. Buying a large assortment allows you to have a matching floss color for each color of felt you use. A skein of floss is made up of 6 strands of thread grouped together to make one string of floss. You can sew with the entire piece of floss, or separate it into individual strands. I generally do all of my outline sewing with one or two strands, doubled over and then knotted, but I sometimes use more strands or the entire piece of floss for decorative stitches.
Scissors and Rotary CutterYou just need a pair of sharp scissors to cut felt shapes (micro tip for small details), but if you are cutting a lot of pages for a quiet book then a rotary cutter is a great investment. I received this set as a Christmas present and it's made fabric cutting go so much faster for me! I also use the mat to catch all of my felt and floss scraps when I'm working at our dining room table.
Marking PenI have a yellow chalk marker and a blue water soluble pen that I use to draw shapes onto my felt. If you are using patterns, find a pen that works well for you so you can trace your pattern shapes onto your felt or fabric. I don't use patterns, but I usually draw the rough shape that I want to cut out first, then make adjustments as I cut. Just remember to make your markings on the back side of your felt.
Hot GlueIf you are reading this page or looking at my crafts and thinking "Wow, I really want to make this but it sounds like a ton of work...isn't there a faster/simpler way to make this stuff?", the answer is yes, there is! Unlike most fabric, felt won't unravel at the seams when you cut it, so you could just as easily construct your felt crafts by gluing them together rather than sewing them. If you are short on time, don't own a sewing machine or just don't have the patience for hand sewing, a hot glue gun is your new best friend. You can cut all of your shapes out of felt and assemble them with hot glue instead.
The plus side is that you can construct your craft much quicker this way, but just know that it won't have the same finished look that sewing provides. Below you can see on the left how the socks looked before sewing them, which is how they would look if you hot glue them together. On the right is the final page after they are hand sewn. Hand sewing and machine sewing add an extra bit of richness and detail to your crafts, but using glue instead won't take away from the fun of the activity for your child.
Snaps, Eyelets and Velcro
These supplies are the little pieces that help finish off your crafts or help keep pieces together. For quiet books, eyelets and grommets are an easy and polished way to secure your pages together. You can either install these with a hammer and setting tool, or buy specific pliers for installing them. You can also buy sew on snaps. Velcro and snaps can be used to help temporarily secure loose parts to your crafts. In the sock matching game above, I sewed small craft magnets inside of the socks (see original inspiration), but you could use snaps or velcro instead.
Extras: Buttons, Zippers, Ribbons and Beads
This is the fun part! What do you want to add to your crafts or quiet book pages to make them fun and entertaining for your kids? What skills do you want them to learn? Keep in mind that some of these objects present a choking hazard for younger kids, so it is at your discretion to decide what pieces to incorporate into your crafts and how to secure them down. I choose to use small pieces like buttons and beads for my toddler's crafts, but I make sure they are extra secure and I never let him play with his toys unattended.