Friday, April 26, 2013

Tutorial: Hogwarts House Badge

This week has been exciting for me because I've been getting in the Hogwarts house spirit with my crafts. I released a Gryffindor-inspired lion plushie, and now I'm going to teach you guys how I make some super cute felt badges to help and show your house pride as a Harry Potter fan!

Before I start the tutorial though, I'd like to announce the results of the poll I took in my last post. You guys helped me to determine the order I'll be releasing the rest of the house mascot plushies! The Ravenclaw Eagle will be released next, sometime during the week of April 29th to May 3rd. Then, the Hufflepuff Badger will come out the week of May 6th to 10th. Last but not least, the Slytherin Snake will be available sometime during the week of May 13th to 17th. Yay!

Today, we're making these felt badges! If you're more inclined to enjoy crafting from afar, you can also purchase one of these pins that I've made myself! There are a limited number available in the online merch shop for my wizard rock band. 

Materials you'll need: 
1. Scissors.
2. Two needles. One with an eye big enough to thread through six-strand embroidery floss and a smaller one for use with regular sewing thread.
3. Badge template. You can download a pdf of mine right here or make your own! 
4. Small amounts of felt in a main color and a secondary color (which will be used for the stripe). You can choose these colors based on your favorite Hogwarts house or anything you like! 
5. Regular sewing thread in your main color.
6. Six-strand embroidery floss in your secondary color.
7. Flat-backed safety pins that have holes that allow you to sew them onto something. I got mine from the jewelry supply section at Michael's. You'll only need one per pin, but you usually have to buy them in a package with more than just one. 

Step 1: Print out the template or make your own, then cut out the two pattern pieces. Cut out two of the main piece in the main color of felt (I held two pieces of felt together and cut them at the same time) and one of the stripe in the secondary color. I'm making a Gryffindor pin in this tutorial, with red and gold, but you are welcome to use any of the other houses (and really, any colors you want). 

Step 2: Separate the two main pieces. On just the front piece, line up the stripe on the left side. Tie a knot in the end of your embroidery floss, thread it into a needle, and begin using a simple running stitch to sew the stripe onto the badge. 

If you need a more detailed running stitch tutorial, click here, but it's simply a stitch straight up through the fabric and another stitch straight down along a straight line, creating what looks like a dashed line. Start near the top right corner, sew down to the bottom, then switch to the left side and sew back up to the top. You don't have to sew horizontally along the top and bottom here... we'll do that later when we sew around the edge of the whole badge! 

End by inserting your needle up from the back so your floss is on the front side, coming out of the top right corner of the stripe. Then, add the remaining main piece to the back and hold the two pieces together. 

Step 3: Next, you'll be sewing the two pieces together using a running stitch to reinforce the badge and add a cool stitched effect to the edge. Since your floss is now in front of your badge, begin by pushing your needle back through both main pieces, then move a bit to the right and put your needle back through to the front to get started. 

Continue the running stitch in a border all the way around the badge, close enough to the edge that it looks nice, but doesn't rip through. Felt doesn't fray, but if you push your needle in too close to the edge, the fabric may not hold the stitch well. 

Step 4: Finishing the stitch is a little bit tricky, but I tried to make the pictures as clear as I could. Your last full running stitch should be coming through to the back, so flip the piece over so you can see the back side. Push your needle in and up so it ONLY goes through the back piece and stops in between the two main pieces of felt. 

Then, try to grab the inside of the next stitch over with your needle so you can tie a knot between the two pieces (image A below). If you don't grab it on the first try, keep dipping the needle down between the felt pieces until you are successful. To tie the knot, pull your needle through the side of this stitch, then insert your needle into the loop you're making with the floss (B) before pulling all of it tight (C). To hide the knot and the end of the floss, poke the needle straight down between the two pieces of felt until it comes out of the bottom (D). Then, pull it through gently until the knot either disappears or just barely sits inside the badge (E).

Trim off the floss at the bottom (F above), and you're done with the main part of the badge! 

Step 5: Now, you need to attach the safety pin to the back of the badge so you can wear it. I find it pretty difficult to sew metal and fabric together, so be careful not to stab yourself accidentally when you get to this step. 

Place the safety pin parallel to the top edge of your badge on the back side, and hold it there as best you can. Thread your smaller needle with regular thread and tie a knot at the end. The following images are my method of attaching the safety pin, and it's a little bit difficult to explain. If you can figure out a way that's easier for you, feel free to try that instead! You could even try to glue it, but I prefer to sew it down to avoid a mess and to make it more durable. When completing these stitches, be gentle and try to grab just enough of the fabric that your stitches will be sturdy but won't show on the front of the pin. You don't want your needle to go all the way through both pieces of felt. 

A. Push the needle from the top right corner of the pin down into the fabric and to the left, aiming it into the hole in the right side of the safety pin. Pull the thread through until your knot catches in the corner. 

B. Start your needle under the hole on the right, grabbing a small bit of felt and aiming the needle to come up in the same hole in the safety pin. Pull the thread through. You want to pull tightly enough that you can keep the safety pin from wiggling later, but not so tight that the safety pin rips into the thread. 

C. Anchor the top of the safety pin by repeating the same motion in the same hole, this time from above the top of the pin, grabbing a small bit of fabric and aiming the needle to come up through the hole. Repeat these two steps until you have two or three strong threads anchoring that hole down to the badge.

D. Next, you'll be switching over to the middle hole on the safety pin. Do this by putting your needle just under the first hole and angling it to the left so it comes up through the second hole. If you find this difficult, try putting the needle in a slightly different spot until you get it right. Try not to pull too hard on the badge, and hopefully your strong stitches earlier will keep everything nice and intact. Repeat steps B and C but this time on the middle hole. 

E. When it's time to move onto the last hole, be really careful when trying to angle your needle to come up into the hole on the left. I have the most trouble with this step because the needle often hits into the little mechanism that keeps the sharp end of the safety pin from coming undone. Just follow the same steps as above, trying again until you get the needle into a position that allows you to safely pull the thread through. 

F. For the last time, follow steps B and C but this time with the final hole in the safety pin. Continue until you have two or three strong threads holding the pin down. It should feel secure at this point. 

Step 6: All that's left to do is finish off with a knot. Slide the needle under some of the threads tying your safety pin to the badge so you can anchor your knot there (A). Start to pull your thread through, but remember to swing your needle back through the loop it created before pulling it tight (B). I like to tie a second knot here, just in case. Then, to get rid of the tail end of the thread, stick the needle into the felt and pull it back out further down the line of the safety pin, as shown in image C below. Make sure that the thread didn't poke through to the front... the goal of this step is to hide the thread between the two layers of felt! Finally, cut the remaining tail of the thread (D). 

Now, your safety pin should be firmly attached to the back of your badge! It should look like this:

You did it! That's how I make my Hogwarts house badges. These pins would look great on a jacket or a backpack, and you can make them in all of the house colors (or even your school colors)! You can use these techniques to really make any shape badge you'd like... your options are endless! 

Please don't sell any crafts that you make from my pattern, but feel free to make them for yourself and to give them away as gifts if you'd like! As I mentioned earlier, if you'd like to buy one of the ones that I made, check to see if there are any left in my online wizard rock merch store

If you enjoyed this tutorial, I'd love for you to pin it on pinterest or share it via twitter or facebook! I'd also love to see how your badge came out if you made one, so post a picture of your finished badges on my Fairweather Friends facebook wall! Thanks for reading, and keep on crafting!


  1. thanks! they're really cute, I'll have to try to make one!

  2. Hey, my girlfriend saw this and made similar pins inspired by this, but changed the design - she has two, both split into quarters, with one shaped like a shield and one that's a circle, with an H on one section. She was wondering whether you'd be ok with her selling these, as she changed the design but originally got the idea from you.

    1. That's awesome! As long as they're a different design, that's totally okay! I've learned to do so many things by seeing the techniques of others, so I'm glad that she was inspired enough to develop her own design from this tutorial. It's my specific pattern that I'm mostly concerned about. Thanks for checking with me! :)

    2. That's awesome, thanks, she's thrilled! (She was just nervous about asking.) :)

  3. Hey Lauren! I am a big fan of your work! My name is Rachel (in case you remember, I also messaged you about the eagle plushie on etsy last week. I am kind of an obsessive person). So, I'm turning 14 next month and want to make a bunch of these badges for my Harry Potter-themed party. :) I wouldn't be selling them, but I know how hard you work on your patterns, so I don't want to take advantage in any way. Would it be okay to make them and give them out?

    1. Hi Rachel! Of course! That is totally okay. Thank you for checking with me! :D

    2. Thank you! It means a lot to me. :)