Felt bulb string tutorial

Hello friends, it's Nicole from Modern craftsmanship and I'm excited to show you how to make your own felt light bulb string.

Before I started quilting, creating with felt was my favorite creative medium. It's easy to work with, comes in many colors, and gives me the ability to sew with clear monofilament thread. I've been making felt Christmas ornaments for years and thought it would be fun to take my favorite ornament and make a wreath tutorial for you.

The felt bulb string can adorn your fireplace, an entryway, or even drape it over your tree – the decorating options are endless! The hardest part you will have with this project will be choosing the felt colors you want for your holiday bulbs.

Materials for sewing a garland of felt bulbs

Felt light bulb tutorial - cut out the light bulb shapes

Download the free template

  • BERNINA 770 QE PLUS
  • Reverse pattern foot #1C
  • Printable Light Bulb Template
  • Wool Blend or Acrylic Felt Sheets 9″ x 12″ – choose an assortment of colors for your bulbs and one color for your bulb toppers
  • Transparent monofilament thread
  • Polyester fiber filling (this usually comes with a stuffing tool, any pencil sized tool will do)
  • Double ply, double width bias tape – 3 meter pack or 3 meter ribbon (to match your light bulb decoration felt)
  • Straight pins or hot glue (optional)

Instructions for making a felt bulb garland

Step 1: Cut out felt light bulb shapes

Start by printing the light bulb template. The finished size of the felt bulbs will be just under 4 1/2″ tall, if you would like to make a larger bulb shape, simply enlarge the template to your liking. Cut out the light bulb and light bulb decoration templates.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - Cut out the shape of a bulb

Pin your light bulb templates to a piece of felt and pin them in place. This will prevent the paper template from slipping when cutting out your shapes. Cut out two bulb shapes for each finished bulb you want on your garland.

Felt Bulb String Tutorial – Cut Out the Bulb Top

Pin your light bulb decoration template to the felt you have chosen for your light bulb decoration pieces. Cut out a decorative piece for each finished bulb.

Step 2: Machine Settings

For the light bulb shapes, I like to use a zigzag stitch around the edges of my two light bulb cutouts. Clear monofilament thread is a great choice for this project because it blends well with the felt and you don't need to change thread colors for each bulb you sew. Monofilament thread is easy to work with and works well with the zigzag stitch and straight line we'll be using in this project.

I chose Reverse Pattern Foot #1C for this project. It is a versatile foot that works for both straight and decorative stitches.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - Machine settings

Stitch: Zigzag, option 2 / width 3.5 / stitch length 1.25 / needle down

Step 3: Zigzag Stitching Your Light Bulb Shapes

Start by matching two light bulb shapes of the same color, pin them together to keep the felt pieces from moving.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - before sewing the bulb

Starting halfway down the flat side at the top of the bulb, begin sewing. You will align the edge of the zigzag stitch with the edge of the felt.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - Start sewing bulbs

Continue around the perimeter of the bulb shape, when you get to the bottom corner use your leg lift to lift your foot so you can easily move your shape while sewing.

Felt Bulb Garland Tutorial – Sew Around the Corner of the Bulb

You will finish the seam halfway down the other side of the top of the bulb. Below shows the start and stop points.

Tutorial Felt bulb garland - Stop lines for zigzag stitch

Repeat this step until all of your pairs of bulb shapes have been sewn into the finished bulbs. Cut off any loose monofilament threads at the start and end of your zigzag stitches.

Tutorial Garland of felt bulbs - bulbs with seams

Step 4: Filling the Light Bulb Shapes

Take a small handful of polyester fiberfill material and the upholstery tool – a small wooden dowel or pencil also works. Open the top of your bulb shapes and insert a small amount to start.

Felt bulb string tutorial - start stuffing the bulbs

Twisting a section of fiberfill sometimes helps start the process if you're having difficulty.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - inserting stuffing into bulb

Using the stuffing tool, push your fiber filling into the bulb shape until you have enough to give the bulb some shape.

Felt light bulb garland tutorial - finish stuffing the light bulb shape

You will have enough fiber in your bulb shape when it looks like the bulb below – make sure you don't overfill your bulb shape or it will distort the appearance.

Felt bulb string tutorial – plush bulb shape

Felt Bulb Garland Tutorial – Brightly Colored Stuffed Bulbs

Step 5: Add Bulbs to the Garland

You have several options for your garland, matching ribbon, twine or you can use double width, double fold bias tape. These are available in a wide assortment of colors and can be found near the thread at your local sewing shop or online. I love the look and thickness of this bias binding and feel like it really adds to the handmade look of the felt bulb string.

Tutorial Garland of felt bulbs - open bias

Since the bias is open, you will need to close it using a straight stitch. I used my clear monofilament thread and a quick straight stitch to secure my ribbon.

Tutorial Garland of felt bulbs - sewn bias

Once you know what order your bulbs will be in, we can start adding them to our string. Lay your bias tape or ribbon on your work area and once place the bulb underneath halfway onto the felt shape.

Felt bulb string tutorial - placing the bulb decoration

Place your plush bulb shape with the top edge along the top edge of your bias/ribbon.

Felt bulb string tutorial - place the bulb on top of the bulb

Fold your mattress topper by moving the bulb and topper until you have an even fold.

Felt Light Bulb String Tutorial – Fold Down the Light Bulb Topper

Using a straight pin, pin all layers just below the bias/ribbon.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - pin bulb topper

On your machine you will switch to the straight stitch, still using your transparent monofilament thread. Sew just along the top edge of your bulb decoration – one at a time or you can do a chain stitch if you have multiple bulbs pinned and ready to go.

Adding a backstitch at the beginning and end of each section you sew will give you a more secure hold.

Felt light bulb garland tutorial - chain stitch light bulb topper

Your straight stitch will look like this along each bulb shape of the garland. This will allow you to move your bulbs around on your finished garland, as it is not sewn onto the bias/ribbon. If you want to secure the bulbs in place, a small dot of hot glue just inside the top of the bulb and some bias tape will hold it in place.

Felt bulb garland tutorial - sewn bulb topper

You are now ready to decorate!

Felt bulb garland tutorial - Finished garland on fireplace

Felt Light Bulb Strings Tutorial – Finished String Lights


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