Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bean Bags

When I graduated college, a few months away from setting up my very own Kindergarten classroom, I had never used a sewing machine. Nope. Not once. There were many things on my wishlist, but being a recent graduate and first year teacher, money was tight. My cousin graciously sewed up some bean bags for my classroom. After I stopped teaching to stay home with the kiddos, those bean bags came home with me and my own kids played with them. They have held up pretty well in the last ten years -- whoa. wait. it's been that long already??? Anyways, they've held up until recently when I started finding popcorn seeds all around the playroom. Time for Mama to sew some new bean bags! I am obviously not the first person to post about bean bags, but here is what I came up with and you can go here to see what I plan to do with them:)

Besides your general sewing supplies you will need:

*charm squares
*freezer paper
*paint (fabric or craft)
*paint brush
*beans (or other filler in case you run out, ahem)

I used a charm pack of Half Moon Modern and separated it into two piles. I tried to use the squares with more white backgrounds (on the right) for the fronts in order to make the paint easier to see. I chose this fabric line because it has a lot of primary colors in it so it will be easy to add to our bean bag collection later.

I plan on using the bean bags as educational tools and well as a play thing for the kids, so I wanted to add letters and numbers to one side of the bag. I used my trusty ole Silhouette to do the hard part for me. I placed my freezer paper, waxy side down, onto the cutting mat that came with my Silhouette machine and cut out numbers 1-5 and the letters of my kids' names. If you don't have a cutting machine, you can of course trace and cut out letters by hand. Here is what it will look like.

I cut out each number and letter, making sure to leave enough room on all sides so paint won't get on my fabric later on. I placed each number/letter on a charm square and ironed the freezer paper down. It took me a long time to use freezer paper for some reason. It is SO easy to use and gets great results!

Ready to paint! The girl wanted glitter, but it didn't really show up. Once I told her the blue paint was called "Wild Blueberry", she forgot all about the glitter. Yes! We are a family that can be easily swayed by food!

Cover the stencils in two thin coats, waiting an hour between coats.

Let dry completely. Peel off the freezer paper and do a little happy dance! You've got a pretty little charm square to turn into a bean bag! No matter how many times I use freezer paper, I get really excited when a project turns out so nicely!

Sew the front and back together, right sides together, using a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving about a two inch opening for turning.

Turn right side out and poke corners out. I don't even bother clipping my corners because you are going to fill the bags with beans anyways.

Complete side note: I know I am the last person to get on the red and aqua train, but better late than never, right??!! Now to only convince Ben that these colors do indeed go in our house...

Once I fill the bags with the dry beans (sorry, no photo of this, as I had two small helpers...), I sew the opening shut. I like to topstitch twice across the top for extra security.

Let the kiddos spell their names! Let Abigail show off her number recognition skills!

I know they will never be stacked like this, but they sure do look pretty, hey?


  1. Love that last picture. This will be a great project to do with my kiddos this summer and I just got that same paint so perfect timing!

  2. These would be a great baby gift!

  3. These are so cute! I have a lot of friends with little ones who would love these!

  4. This is an awesome idea! I love the tip about using craft paint.

  5. Brilliant!!! I might just have to try this with some Thomas Fabric I just picked up for my little one. New fan and follower can't wait to see more!

  6. I just love these bean bags! That's a great way to fabric stencil :)

  7. Thanks for the tutorial. These are adorable and so useful! I need to make these for grandma's house. : )

  8. These are so fun! I will definitely be making some :)

  9. Hi great to meet you :-) The beanbags are fab! I made some a few years back for my daughter with embroidered numbers on them, it makes counting much more fun! x