One of my favorite recent felt craft food projects is this spaghetti and meatballs play set that I made for my niece this past Christmas. She loves her play kitchen and I love using the products we sell to create playsets for her that help her express herself and organize her world through the important childhood work of open ended play. This spaghetti and meatballs Italian dinner was one of the simplest felt food meals I have made for her kitchen, but actually looks like one of the fanciest! It wasn’t complicated at all and in this blog post I will be walking you through the steps for making your own!
This meal consists of three parts (four if you add a basil leaf!), all of which are very simple to make.
Below I will walk you through the steps for making pasta sauce, spaghetti noodles, meatballs, and basil leaves.
The spaghetti sauce for this project is just a little harder than it looks. Surprising even myself, it took a couple tries to create a “splotch” of sauce that looked semi-realistic. You can download my free printable template for this meal and just use my puddle of sauce as a template.
To make the sauce I just cut out two pieces of shape out of Bright Red felt, and stitched the two pieces together with a running stitch, adding a few scraps of the red to the interior, sandwiched flat, to add some dimension to the sauce.
SPAGHETTI PASTA NOODLES
The foundation of this spaghetti and meatballs meal is actually yarn! Would you believe I found this 100% cotton yarn in a yard sale Grab Bag!? It’s the perfect shape and color to make a play dinner of spaghetti pasta. (Actually, half of the yarn I purchased in this color was already knit into half of a scarf and unraveled into the perfect curly–style ramen type noodle- but that’s a play food meal I’ll be showing you on another day!) Searching the internet for similar projects, I saw the other crafters using yarn as pasta but couldn’t find a good way to keep the noodles organized will also leaving space to play with them- so I made up my own presentation for the play spaghetti!
Step 1. Bundle Yarn
To make my play food spaghetti pasta I began by wrapping the yarn around my needle case – which happens to be about 10 inches long and about the size of a pencil case. By wrapping, I created large coils of noodles, which I then tied together in one or two places to keep them from uncoiling.
Step 2. Secure Yarn Noodles to Backing:
Next, I took a piece of flat Champagne colored felt that was cut to fit the size of my container (I always send my felt meals to my niece in inexpensive meal prep containers with snap-top lids so that she, and especially her mother, can keep her play kitchen tidy).
Working with one coil of yarn at a time and with embroidery floss in the exact same color as the yarn, I secured the yarn to the felt in a dozen or so places, careful to leave a couple of big chunks of “noodles” loose for play.
This created a tidy “mat” of noodles that were secure enough not to tangle but loose enough for play. Once the noodles were secured in place, I trimmed my felt sheet so felt edges would not show.
On top of my pretend pasta and felt spaghetti sauce I added three meatballs in varying sizes. The meatballs were easily made by cutting circles of brown felt. I then cut notches in the edges of each circle, as shown. These notches help reduce the bulk of gathered folds when the circle is formed into a sphere-shaped meatball.
After cutting notches, I added a running stitch around the edge of the circle, and tightened my thread, gathering the edge and forming the circle into a sphere. As the opening closed, but before tying the thread off, I added a few pinches of poly-fill stuffing to keep the meatball round.
TIP: you can use felt scraps as stuffing on most dimensional felt food projects. Just keep your felt scraps together, and use scissors to chop them into pieces no larger than 1″ x 1″. You can use the scraps to stuff items like these meatballs that benefit from a firmer fill than plush stuffing can offer.
After the meatball edges are gathered and tied, you can place a few stitches through the thickness of the meatball to create “dimples” that emulate the texture of real meatballs. I used a solid brown felt for my meatballs, but using a heathered brown shade could add layers of colors that reflect the color and texture of meatballs a little better than this solid color.
Final Touch: BASIL LEAF
Rather than reposting my salad instructions, I will just redirect you to the post on creating dimensional crafted felt leaves for salads and garnishes. Creating dimensional leaves that hold their shape takes a bit of extra time, but these 3-D leaves are such a cute finishing touch it’s a satisfying way to finish off this felt food dinner.
These four simple elements make up my pretend-play Italian dinner worthy of the most discriminating tiny felt-food play chefs! Did you find this instructional post and free downloadable pattern helpful? Let us know in the comments section below!