Kooky Cuckoo Clock Tutorial

At Unleash Creative my students learnt how to create a fully functioning handmade cuckoo clock featuring some sassy Scandinavian squirrels and a giant acorn stitched out of felt.

This tutorial shows how to make a more elaborate cuckoo clock adding some more traditional design elements and quirky touches to really make it a centerpiece you can be proud of.

Bellow are templates you can print out at home if you didn't get the chance to pick up supplies at the workshop and pictures that detail every step so a complete beginner can make this in a crafternoon.

To download the template for the top of the clock (deer head and roof) click here:

To download the template for the acorn clock face - click here:
To download the template for the base of the clock - click here:

For the base of the clock you will need a long piece of black and red felt for the base itself, tiny bits of green, blue and white felt (colours can be substituted) and red and white polkadot felt and 10cms of gold chain for the mushrooms.

To begin, cut out the template , pin onto the black felt and cut around the edges.

You then take this piece and use it as another template to pin it to the red felt then cut around the edges once more, leaving a 0.5cm edge all the way around.

Glue the two pieces together.

Next we decorate the base with felt flowers you can cut 4 small blue triangles free hand or you can use the template :

To make the stalks, you can pin the template to the green felt and cut around the guide also:

Once you have cut out the white felt bell shape flowers you can cut two little snips from each side of the top of the flowers at an angle to the middle to create little triangle petals for a quirky Scandinavian feel.

Lay out the blue triangles in a square at the other end of the stalk, slightly overlapping the petal before it and when you are happy with the placement glue down.

In the largest dip of the base, we will be putting in an embroidered love heart the size of a 50cent coin. This can be cut free hand from the yellow felt (or another colour of your choice) as it does not matter if one side is higher or rounder than the other, it simply adds to it's handmade charm.

Using a needle and thread, embroider with big simple stitches a swirl on each side that meets at the point of the heart then glue to the base.

To attach the base to the acorn clock face, put a line of glue on the back of the base 3cms from each side (as the base overhangs)  lifting up the bottom of the acorn, glue it to the bottom of the clock face so it looks like the squirrels are sitting on it.

When you are happy with it's position - glue the acorn back down.

Now it's time to make the super cute dangly mushrooms! Those large circles on the template don't look like much but in a few steps they will be 3D toadstools.

Once you have cut out the template on polkadot felt, get out your needle again and with big simple stitches, work your way around the perimeter but do not tie a knot when you are finished. You may have noticed the felt bunching up a little as you went around. Dont get pissed off, this is the very effect we are after as when we pull the start and end strings the whole circle gathers and starts to take on it's 3D shape.

To help it keep it's shape, stuff some left over felt scraps in there, pull tight and secure with a few knots to stop it coming loose.

To finish off the mushy,  cut out the white oblongs from the template onto felt and sew the sides together.
 Making sure to keep the top side of the toadstool stem open, sew it to the inside of the mushroom, using the white polkadots to come up with your needle when using the white thread.

In the very middle of the mushroom, stick the needle and thread out and grabbing the gold chain, sew the first, second and third chain links to the mushroom to ensure it is well secure.

Then secure the other end of the chain (doesn't need to be longer than 10cms) to the back of the base of the cuckoo clock. Making sure to only stitch the red felt not the two layers as we do not want it to show on the otherside.

Once you have stitched on the second mushroom and chain - Congratulations you are almost done!

Go give yourself a pat on the back for your awesomeness and hardwork,  and perhaps have a little dance in the kitchen with another sugar hit before you sit down for the very last steps - where we will raise the roof!

PART 3 -Top of cuckoo clock.

Cut out the triangle from the roof template - before we cut out the super cute scallops, we will be using this triangle to create some roof slats using the left over brown felt - only cutting up to the marked line.

Cut the brown triangle into 2/3cm slats all the way across (don't try to fix up your "timber" slats, as the tops and sides will be pointy - you need to remember these parts will be hiding underneath the scalloped roof so its generally the middle and bottom of the slats that will be visible)

Getting out your needle and thread, stitch large simple stitches along the sides and bottom of the slats but no need to do the pointy top as it will be covered shortly.

The next step is to cut out the scalloped roof template on the polkadot felt, if you cut the join at the top in half you can save a lot of felt by pinning it horizontally rather than cutting out the whole triangle shape.

Once these pieces are ready, lay them out on a thin but sturdy piece of cardboard (even the back of a cereal box) and glue in place with the scalloped roof on top of the slats.

When you are happy with the placement, cut around the edges of the cardboard (but not the gap where the bottom of the slats are)

Turning the clock over, we are now going to glue the cardboard bellow the slats to the back of the clock face cardboard to attach the roof ( you may want to plop a heavy book on the joins for 10 minutes to ensure it stays strong)

The lucky last step is to create the 3D deer head !

Cut out the templates marked as brown - they will be the two deer head pieces and the nose/neck piece.

To join them together, you simply lay the neck piece on the top of one of the deer head templates and stitch all the way around following the curve of the head.

You then repeat this step on the other edge of the neck piece with the second head piece.

So what you thought at first were a couple of odd shape felt pieces are now starting to come alive :)

You then turn the head inside out (unless you like the charm of the big exposed stitches-up to you)

As cuckoo clocks are the epitome of all things kitsch and we are sticking a deer head mount on top, instead of trying to replicate a glassy eye stare, I have stitched crosses on the eyes as a fun quirky touch. Feel free to play around with the eyes if you would like the deer to be more animated. Its pretty astounding to see how much the personality of the deer changes due to the placement and different ways you can embroider an eye.

I also thought it would be cute to give him a love heart nose using left over contrasting fabric.

To make sure our deer looks awesome 24/7 I've popped some stuffing in his head so his little ego doesn't deflate over time. You could use a tissue or felt scraps like we did for the mushroom filling.

For another quirky touch, I used the bottom half of the neck template to cut out some white felt that I used to give this fawn some chest hair.

Using some of the left over felt scraps, cut out the ear template in brown or black and glue an even smaller oval on the inside to make it look like his inner ear. With the needle and thread, stab the needle through the bottom of the two needles so it slightly folds inwards, go over this stitch a few times and when you are happy with the shape, stitch it on to the side of the deers head behind the eye.

The very last step is to cut out the antler template onto white felt and stitch around the edges. I've called for two pieces per antler just to make it stronger and to make sure it wont get all droopy as time goes on.

We then glue the antlers onto the scalloped roof instead of stitching it on to the deer to give it reinforcement.

To complete your kooky cuckoo clock, you place glue a center around the perimeter of the inside of the deer's head and lining him up with his antlers, you stick him down on the roof slats.

You've just made yourself a super quirky and fully functioning handmade cuckoo clock that will brighten up any wall (not to mention brighten up the faces of all that gaze upon it!)

Hope you had an awesome time discovering the awesome possibilities of felt and have picked up some skills you can use for your own projects :)

Love Freckles and Ginger

Things that inspired me : December

This month was like all my Christmases came at once when Frankie Mag kindly wrote about our DIY Crafternoon Kits

Look how handsome Freckles was in his bow tie at the shoot :D

The luck kept pouring in when I was invited to fly down to Sydney to have another stall at the Sydney  Finders Keepers

It was the first 2 day market I did all by myself and boy was I running on adrenaline! The Finders Keepers is not one where you set up and sit down - its the biggest market in Australia with the best and brightest designers under the one roof .

It was hosted in a giant industrial turn of the century train shed that still had giant hooks, pipes and steam train engines lying about - (which was a trendy way of saying it was in a giant tin shed in summer) - the crowds were also huge so with the live music playing on the stage behind us and the thousands of cool kids walking around squished together in flower crowns , it really was like we were at a summer music festival but the main attractions were handmade goodness.

As I grew up in Sydney , I ran into a lot of old friends who came out to support me and family members who were so sweet to travel long distances to see me and even helped spruik my wares when my voice died (my dad even found me a meter of super squishy carpet under the house that he brought along when I told him my footsies were dying from wearing clogs on concrete all day)

I was also incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by not only super talented makers but also incredibly kind stall mates who knew I traveled interstate by myself so offered to watch by stall when I needed to get some tasty treats to keep me going and reapply my makeup that kept melting off from the heat! 

My Very Own Eye Goggles and Middlemost , Sconnie and Jam and The McKean studio!

Megan McKean not only had the cutest stall around but she also made my a little Freckles brooch for good luck! (so make sure to hit up their shop and give them all your money for me :)

In my rush to get some sleep I stupidly left my suitcase underneath my stall instead of taking it to my Dad's house so when I woke up for day two I realized I did not have a single thing to wear for the next day so arrived at the market extra early in my pajamas , grabbed a dress off my rack and ran into the toilets to change before the crowds arrived! *facepalm* Very glad to say I sold a crate of my kits and lots of customers went home with my dresses so my suitcase was much lighter on the way back to Melbourne :)

While I was in Sydney I also checked out the Etsy Pop Up Shop 

Had the best breakfast of my life at the Vegan cafe in Newtown - Revolution Foods and FINALLY got to grab a burger at the Veggie Patch Van.

This month I was also very inspired by Ally's( from Now That's Pretty) Christmas snowflake crown :

So made my own to go with my xmas pudding dress :

(These earrings from Kate Spade would have been the perfect addition to my outfit at the work xmas party)

I also adored studiodiy's balloon ornament decorations :

Loved this fun take on the traditional tree set up :

Drooled over these Liberty fabric crackers (that are waaay too cute to break open) :

And wished this troll pendant from loandchlo would be inside our actual christmas lunch cracker:

 This sweet as candy bag from lolibrary would be the ultimate stocking stuffer :

I also left a few tabs open in the lead up to Christmas to give little hints to my BF what could make a great present such as this amazing pillowcase from Stayhomeclub that is entirely me to my core:

But I got an awesome vintage swimsuit to add to my collection instead and I am not complaining in the slightest! Never taking it off this summer!

Look what Santa got the Freckly boy! He's so happy!

This year we didn't host Christmas at our house so let another family member slog it out whilst we brought yummy vegan treats:

I hope you had an amazing time over the silly season with your loved ones, ate too much so you could nap all day guilt free and as luck would have it you got to tell the best dad joke that fell out from the bonbons :)

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