Part 1. Felt Shredded Cheese
Today we’ll be walking you through step by step instructions for creating little bundles of “shredded cheese” as part of our felt taco play set series. In this post, we’ve slowed it down and provide instructions, materials, and links for resources step by step. If you are looking for a quick summary, you can skip straight to the video at the end of this post.
Shredded cheese can be a difficult texture to represent in felt food, so when it came to our felt food taco playset, it took some creativity and research to come up with these little orange and yellow “pom-poms” of felt “cheese”. These little poofs of multicolored felt simulate the blend of Cheddar, Jack, and Monterey shredded cheeses popular for American-style crunchy tacos.
In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how I made these little shredded cheese bundles. They fit perfectly inside the tortillas and taco shells made from other tutorials on our blog.
Begin with Strips
Start by cutting two strips of felt from a complementary yellow–orange pallet.
To begin, cut a strip of each color approximately 3/4 inch wide by 7 inches long. Stack these two strips on top of one another.
Grasping the strips together, fold them back and forth on themselves – accordion style – and stitch together.
Stitch through the center and back with at least three or four strands of strong embroidery floss. You’ll want to make your stitch very short, since we need the fabric to twist around on this single stitch and a long stitch will prevent twisting.
You can hide your stitch by beginning your stitch between the folds and ending in the same place. By tucking excess thread into a fold, no extra thread or knots will be visible on the finished felt cheese bundle.
Once securely stitched, cut the loops on each side, so each loop becomes two flaps.
Cut each flap into three or four strips- varying the width of the strips can help create a more natural look. I like to vary it- cutting one color into four strips and another color into three strips.
Once the loops are cut into to flaps, and the flaps are cut into strips, it’s time to twist this layered fabric a bit so it looks more like a pom-pom than a pile. To do this, simply grasp the top and the bottom layers and twist around the central stitch. Continue twisting, layer by layer, as needed to create a variegated and textured look.
Once you are happy with how your bundle of shredded cheese looks, you’ll want to add some extra stitches through the core to help it stay in place.
These stitches help the cheese hold its shape and helps ensure that it holds up well to play. Quality felt – whether wool felt or our premium acrylic felt – will be the best bet to keep your creation looking great through lots of hours of open ended play in a child’s play kitchen. Unlike craft felt sold in stores, both our wool and acrylic lines are made in the USA from longer fibers then craft store eco-felt – and these longer fibers help the felt hold up longer and look great through lots of handling.
Once securely stitched into place, trim any exposed loose threads, match your pom-pom with a few more shredded cheese felt pom-poms, and combine with other ingredients for our felt taco (or burrito!) playset.
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Part #2. Make Felt Shredded Lettuce for Tacos
This quick tutorial covers how I make “shredded” iceberg felt lettuce
for my felt food taco play sets. No American-style taco is complete without the finely shredded pale green crunch of iceberg lettuce. In this tutorial will be re-creating that important ingredient using the perfectly suited pistachio green color wool felt sold in our shop.
To begin, will start the same way we did for our felt shredded cheese: cut a strip of felt, this time in pistachio green. Your strip can vary, but 1/2-3/4 inch by 6-7 inches should be perfect.
Now, simply fold the green felt back and forth in on itself for three or four layers. Once in an accordion shape, pinch the felt together with one hand and begin stitching starting with the second from the top layer.
Starting your stitch inside of a fold, instead of on the outside, will help hide any excess thread shown on the outside of your stitch. Once your thread is anchored, sew down and back through all the layers, loop the top layer into this stitch, and when you return to your starting point, tie off once. This will help keep your stitches tight and the layers from pulling apart as you continue to stitch.
Next, continue stitching along the edge – sort of like a bookbinding stitch that goes through the full-thickness back and forth. When you’ve covered the whole edge with a few stitches, tie-off your thread using the same method we used for starting – hiding your knot within the folds of the felt lettuce.
At this point, you can either be finished or continue with another set of for a longer piece of lettuce. For younger children you’ll probably want to continue on in the second loop of lettuce.
A good rule of thumb is to make your felt food size-appropriate for the hands of the child when they receive them. For younger kids, ingredients will be a little more fun to play with if they are larger and easier to grip. For older children, you can err a bit more of the side of realism, and size down your ingredients if you want.
Because we are making American tacos with very thinly shredded iceberg lettuce, I need to take this big section of looped felt and make it look more thinly shredded. To do this, I grab some sharp scissors and cut each of the loops into one or two smaller loops. I like to cut very narrow loops – with the wool felt, you can cut just under 1/4″ wide loops and still have a very sturdy bundle of felt lettuce.
Once cut and paired with all the other toppings, your felt food Mexican taco dinner will be ready to be presented to your felt food chef.
Part #3. Free Template for Cutting Felt Cilantro Leaves for Felt Food Tacos:
Felt cilantro is the perfect finishing touch to a fake food Mexican food playset. It’s a bit tedious to cut, but with very small, sharp embroidery scissors they don’t take too much time at all. And you only need to do to get the effect of having the cilantro topping as an option in your taco topping buffet. Enlarge the image below to use as a template for cilantro leaves
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