Not Martha

Mother’s Day Felt Dahlia Corsage, a few notes

(Note added Feb. 2014: The website where this DIY originally appeared so I moved the full instructions to a page here on Not Martha and I also added the notes that appear below to that project page. Go see it: Felt Dahlia Corsage.)

[dahlia corsages in reds, pinks and yellow]

Remember the Mother’s Day Felt Dahlia Corsage I created for Holidash? I made a bunch more to send out as Mother’s Day gifts and wanted to write down a few notes on what I learned.

[glued petals clamped inside clothespins]

note on forming the petals

Making a whole stack of these, I quickly discovered that clothespins work really well to hold petals as the glue sets, shown above. Admittedly I went out and bought these for this purpose ($2 for 50 or so at Target, laundry basket aisle), but I’m finding all sorts of potential uses. Including, uh, actually hanging laundry. If you’re going to make more than three dahlia pins I highly recommend seeking out some clothespins.

[pin backs showing pockets stitched in matched thread colors]

notes on giving them

I used matching thread for the backs. (I apparently have so much thread now I can match almost anything, yay? or too much?) I also included a little one-fold card with a message, and a rounded tab that says “pull me” so that it wouldn’t be overlooked.

[wrapped in tissue, sealed with a For You sticker]

Then I wrapped them up all mysterious like.

[three red felt dahlias]

notes on various weights of felt

Here are three flowers I made from different felts. The one on the bottom is a test flower, made using polyester felt. From this I learned I wanted lots more petals, and a more rounded shape to them. The top-left is made from nice, thick wool felt and is one of the ones I used for the pictures in the tutorial. The top-right is made from slightly thinner wool felt and I cut the petals much rounder. The thinner felt was easier to form and glue, but in the hand the thicker felt feels better, more substantial.

notes on where to find felt

For those living in Seattle here is what I learned about buying felt locally, with huge thanks to @dancingsheepnw and @raintea for the source tips on Twitter. The sturdiest felt with the most saturated colors was found at Clover Toys in Ballard. It comes in sheets and it was $2.50. (But I seem to have bought all the bright and dark reds, sorry about that.) Nancy’s Sewing Basket has wool felt in sheets and yardage. It was a bit thinner but the colors were still pleasing, I think it was $1.75 per sheet. Both Stitches and Pacific Fabrics have polyester felt for around $.75 per sheet. This was much thinner, but in the reds didn’t have the shiny/fake quality that polyester felts in the green range seem to. With the polyester felt the petals didn’t have as much structure, but still make really nice flowers.

Online I have two felt sources to recommend (I have not purchased from either, but they come recommended from multiple sources): Filzfelt and Joggles.

notes on adhesives, needle felting and tacking the petals down

For my dahlia flowers I used Fabri-tac glue, but I had considered a few different options. Needle felting and hot glue guns were passed over due to the potential to stab or burn one’s fingers, and because of the extra supplies needed. Sewing each petal down individually sounded like an awful lot of work, and I was afraid that the petals would shift around too much on the soft base before it was attached to a stiff backing, making it a frustrating process. I initially used fast grab Tacky Glue, but found it wasn’t strong enough to give a good hold on the thicker wool felt (I had a big tragedy moment finding this out) so I switched to Fabri-tac (it’s more expensive and therefore wasn’t the first adhesive I tried) for the final project.

All that said, each of the above options were used by other people, thrilling! Ansley of Bleu Arts made this one in blue using the quick grab Tacky Glue. Kristin at Briney Deep needle felted the whole flower and attached it to a headband, she includes notes for needle felting. Laura from Bugs and Fishes tacked everything down with thread and the petals turned out with a less rigid arrangement, I think utterly charming. And in the comments from my initial mention of these Megan (no relation) reports that hot glue worked just great and didn’t weigh down the flower.

Two more dahlia corsages I’ve found are at Fries In A Cone, a lovely snowy white, and Urban Comfort in a range of pinks.

if you’ve made one I want to see!

Did you make a dahlia corsage? If so I’d love to see it, and I’ll add a link to this entry if you’ve posted it online (Flickr, Twitter, your blog). Let me know!

[dahlia corsages in reds, pinks and yellow]

Note, February 2014: The Holidash website shut down earlier this year so I’ve reposted the tutorial, all the links above go to it’s new location here on Not Martha.

· comments [100] · 05-6-2010 · categories:craft ·

100 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joy // May 6, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Oh my god…these are amazing! I hope I’ll have time to make them. I just need to get some felt. :)

  • 2 Carla // May 6, 2010 at 5:37 am

    These are beautiful!

  • 3 Elle Sees // May 6, 2010 at 6:03 am

    lovely!! i love the vivid colors.

  • 4 Melissa // May 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I did make two and have high hopes of making at least one more, but….

    Anyone of near middle age from Chicago might remember Ray Rayner? He did an AM kids show and would do crafts. Someone on his set would do the “see” craft and then Ray would do one live. And Ray was not a crafter. What should have looked like the beautiful swan would end up looking like used popsicle sticks and glue.

    Well, that’s how I feel — like Ray. Your dahlias are gorgeous, and mine have glue ‘hair’ and aren’t as lush, etc. But they will do for the purpose. And I’m thinking about mixing pink petals on one, hot pink and soft pink. Too much? We’ll see! (Sorry, no blog, and camera battery currently shot.)

    Thanks for the lovely idea!

  • 5 Kindra // May 6, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Are you planning on selling these? I love them, I just don’t feel like making them :)

  • 6 Ascender Rises Above » I thought it was about what it looked like it was about. // May 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    […] Dahlia corsage […]

  • 7 megan // May 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Kindra – Holidash owns these so I cannot make them to sell. This might be for the best, they take a while to make so they would be very expensive :)

  • 8 megan // May 6, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Melissa – My first few flowers were not nearly as nice looking as my later ones. What sort of glue are you using? I found I needed to wipe the tip of my glue bottle very often. Also, stiffer felt makes a big difference in how the petals come out. You can certainly mix pinks, if you do a Google image search for dahlia flowers you’ll see a lot that have petals that go from dark to light, and even pink to yellow.

  • 9 Anna-Beth // May 6, 2010 at 9:44 am

    These are gorgeous and inspiring – I am just about to make Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern pillows in silk dupionis (from Pacific Fabrics’ rainbow of silks in the Galleria) for a dear friend’s b-day gift, and I might have to make one of these for the tag. I love your attention to detail – the little pull-me tag fills me with joy.

  • 10 Candace // May 6, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for the clothespin suggestion! I was not having much luck with the heavy pan as a weight and was thinking about “Chip Clips,” but the clothespins will be perfect!

  • 11 Kayla // May 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I made one and have the petals all cut out for 3 more. I just have to get around to gluing them!

  • 12 Jessi B. // May 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I made one for my mama! I tacked down each petal individually, and it was A LOT of work. I used super glue to attach them to the base, because I was too lazy to go out and buy the right kind, and my flower has some white spots where the glue dried that I’m trying to get off before Sunday. At least the shape turned out well! I will post it on my blog on Monday (I don’t want to ruin the surprise, she reads my blog :). Thanks for the tutorial Megan, it was a lot of fun.

  • 13 megan // May 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Jessi – If you have an exacto knife you can short of shave the glue off. I did get glue spots on mine and either used small detail scissors or an exacto to get rid of stray glue bits.

  • 14 Rachel // May 6, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I made four dahlias the day after you posted the pattern! I found excellent wool felt at Fancy Tiger in Denver for $0.75 a sheet. I used the hot glue method. Although there were burnt fingers, I whipped up each in about an hour. Here’s my post where I talk about the flower and I have a few more photos on flickr here

  • 15 kim // May 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I made four of these over the weekend. 3 in red 1 in black. So far I only took a photo of one of the red ones. I used the Fabri-tac without much issue. A little execess glue but I see your exacto suggestion above. I’ll give that a try. Here is a link to my flickr:

  • 16 Jess // May 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I made three of them as soon as I saw the tutorial :)
    I used some super cheap felt ($0.39 a sheet) for the red and purple ones, and more expensive wool felt ($3) for the pink and yellow one. There’s definitely a difference in the colors of different kinds of felt. I live in Seattle too so I’ll have to check out some of your sources!

    It’s not a great pictures, but you can see all three together:
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  • 17 Kristie // May 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’m in the middle of making one… using a different/cheaper glue that takes a while to dry. My problem has been with the shape of the petals. Mine don’t taper in at the bottom, so they were difficult to place on the circle…so I cheated and trimmed them before gluing them down. I think a template for trimming the petal shape would be nice to have.

  • 18 Diana Lee // May 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    They’re incredibly gorgeous. What a cool project.

  • 19 Adrienne // May 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I love these… I’ve made 2 so far :O) they are a great TV watching project too! I’ve used the “cheap felt” from the local craft store & they are pretty cute… the colors arent as nice though, so I am definitely on the look out for more felt…

    Thanks Megan – you always have great projects!!

  • 20 Sílvia Batista // May 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Ficou lindo, vale o esforço na confecção das pétalas.

  • 21 Jen // May 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    at some point, I’d like to make a white one highlighted with pink. I’m thinking I’ll try some kind of powdered pigment.

  • 22 Melissa // May 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks, Megan. I did use the fabri-tac, which is pretty goopy and yeah, I had to wipe the tip often. I did find using a toothpick to help me fold the petals or schmear glue helped.

    As for the felt, all I can find around by me is the poly stuff, which I got at JoAnn’s. The deeper colors are ok and a bit stiffer than the pastels, for some reason. We do have one serious art store here, not highly accessible to me, but I may check to see if they have wool felt.

  • 23 Tiff // May 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Hi there,

    Just stumbled upon your website and wanted to tell you that I absolutely LOVE it! The crafts are so unique, do-able, adorable and detailed. Plus, I love your hints, links and suggestions from your trip to Paris. All of this info is so useful and I can’t wait to try all these crafts, recipes and traveling tips. Keep at it!! :)

  • 24 Lilly // May 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

    This is probably obvious, but we keep all our clothespins in the kitchen for closing snack bags and cereal/cracker bags inside the boxes. Love the dahlias!

  • 25 kim // May 7, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Your tutorial was brilliant. Had a blast making these in front of the TV.

  • 26 Taylor // May 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Your amazing, I’m making one of these tonight! (with hot glue because I’m impatient!)

  • 27 maine « fries in a cone // May 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    […] margaritas were consumed, white sangria was concocted, and more felt flower corsages from “not martha” were […]

  • 28 c // May 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    These are ABSOLUTELY gorgeous.

    I didn’t do the flower portion of the corsage (NEXT year fo’sho) but I DID use your idea for backing, right HERE:

    Thank you for sharing your awesome ideas.

  • 29 Allyson McCombs // May 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Ooo, I made one but it didn’t turn out as pretty as yours! Here is a link….

  • 30 Kimara // May 8, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for a lovely craft and for all of these additional hints. Your suggestions are very helpful. I’ll be linking on Facebook :)

  • 31 Veronica // May 8, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I made one for my mother-in-law. It turned out great! My picture doesn’t do it justice, but it is posted on my blog:

    I made mine before you posted your notes, and the clothespins are definitely a good idea– my petals ended up sticking to my pans a bit. Thank you for sharing this tutorial!

  • 32 karin // May 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Megan!

    I tried my hand at one of these with some felt in my stash: and ended up needle felting the entire thing when I realized the glue I had wasn’t working. Great project: used supplies I already had and made me try out my needle felting tools for the first time!

    Thanks for the tutorial and helpful notes!

  • 33 hannah // May 9, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Helas! I bookmarked this as soon as I saw it but for some reason, it didn’t work out for me at all. I used the clothing pin method, but the super glue ended up fixing the felt to the pins themselves so I couldn;tget the pedals separated from them. Now I have dozens of pedally-felt-tipped clothing pins…:(

  • 34 Patricia // May 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I made a yellowy-gold one and gave it to my mama today, she loved it and wore it to dinner. It was really fun to make and the end result was really cute, albeit a bit different from yours (I sewed the entire thing as being vegan, I tend to not use glue much). Thanks for making Mother’s Day Craftacular!!!!

  • 35 ira // May 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks to you! I am so inspired to make one for myself (self mother day’s gift) heh and here it is
    planning to make more!!

  • 36 Patricia // May 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I made a few of these but forgot to take pictures, doh. The clothespin tip is brilliant (it would have definitely made the petal-gluing stage much easier than sticking each petal under a skillet).

  • 37 Allie // May 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I made three for the moms in my life – they came together pretty quickly! I went the glue gun route though. But all in all, each one took less than an hour to complete. I will definitely be making more in the future…thanks for such a great idea!

  • 38 Elizabeth // May 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    I made this, but I actually sewed each petal. Mine ended up looking very different, but I never would have thought to do this if I hadn’t seen your blog!

  • 39 Gorgeous Dahlia brooches, and working with felt « lorigami // May 11, 2010 at 8:05 am

    […] Now, the tutorial is awesome, but what I really found really noteworthy is the section she added on working with various weights and types of felt. […]

  • 40 QuirkyKnitGirl » Blog Archiv » Wednesday Wanderings: Lavender Dahlia Monogram // May 12, 2010 at 7:47 am

    […] Martha has some adorable felt dahlia corsages for Mother’s Day. Or any other corsage worthy occassion, […]

  • 41 Joelle // May 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks so much for such a great tutorial! I made a bunch of these as Mother’s Day gifts –
    I used Fabri-Tac and then regular glue when I ran out. I also held the petals together with pins as they dried. Thanks again so much – everyone loved them!

  • 42 kathy // May 14, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I love your ideas! I can’t believe all the things you make. I will keep watching and try a few things out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 43 Starrilicious » Blog Archive » Finishing Friday: Friday Feature // May 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    […] out these gorgeous corsages tutorial from Not Martha. They’d make great alternative button […]

  • 44 MadeStuff » Dahlia Brooch // May 16, 2010 at 2:33 am

    […] tutorial was created by Megan of Not Martha and she has provided some further guidance on her […]

  • 45 more felt flowers « fries in a cone // May 17, 2010 at 6:38 am

    […] this one i like.  a mustard gold felt dahlia made out of the good wool felt.  (click here for the how-to from “not […]

  • 46 Loni H // May 17, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Hey Megan! LOVE the flowers! I made them, only I adjusted it a bit and constructed them from paper instead of felt… I didn’t want to cut out all the pieces by hand so I used my Silhouette cutter instead. You can see at my blog,

    Thanks again! They are beautiful!

  • 47 brigitte // May 18, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    megan, thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea. i made your dahlia with batik fabrics and sent it on its way to a very happy receiver.

  • 48 Kelli // May 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I LOVE these flowers, and just wanted to let you know I “featured” them in my blog post today. Thanks for the great tute!

  • 49 LeeAnne // May 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I finally got around to making a felt dahlia this weekend. Thanks for the great tutorial. :o) Here’s my blog post about it:

  • 50 zeshuregi // Jun 3, 2010 at 4:47 am

    excellent tutorial…very well.thnx 4 sharing

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