When I was in the third grade my class took a field trip to Point Reyes, California to look at the tide pools. I was fascinated by them, each pool was like a small secret world. There were orange and purple sea stars, tiny little fish, and flower-like sea anemones. When I stuck my finger in an anemone's mouth it's sticky petal-like tentacles would close around it, thinking it was food (this probably isn't a nice thing to do to an anemone, but it certainly made an impression on me). My love for the ocean and all of its creatures has only grown in the subsequent years. I did some snorkeling in Hawaii and saw fish of every size, shape and color though the crystal clear water. It's hard to believe that some of the fish I saw were even real, they seemed too bright and too bizarre to be found in nature.

When we decided to make a set of felt-covered magnets I knew I wanted to make an underwater scene. I found pictures of my favorite fish and other sea life and came up with nine different creatures. Making them with of our bright, beautiful 100% wool felt was very simple and so much fun! I loved watching them come alive and once they were all done I had a surprisingly fun time posing them on their light blue magnetic board (AKA the Aquarium).

This underwater world makes a great gift for a child, or even an adult, who loves the ocean. The tiny magnet inside each creature is super powerful, which makes this a really useful present, a whimsical take on a bulletin board. Thanks!- Molly

Materials

 

To make 20 magnets:

Tips for all Magnets

These magnets are all very simple to put together and don't require any fancy embroidery or techniques. However there are a few rules of thumb for all the magnets:

  • First cut out the paper template of the shape and then trace it onto the felt as shown above.
  • The magnets I suggest above are amazingly strong, which is great, but it means you'll want to put them inside of the shape you're sewing up at the few stitches before you sew the shape closed, otherwise they will stick to your needle.
  • Make sure all of your sewing knots are on the back.
  • All of the sewing in this project is done with a small running stitch using embroidery thread to match the felt, unless otherwise noted.

Please follow the instructions and diagrams below to put together all the different aquatic creatures.

Clownfish

Finished size: 1 1/2-inches wide

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 fish pieces in one color and 3 stripe pieces in a contrasting color.
  • Place and sew the stripe pieces on to a fish piece as shown above.
  • Sew both of the fish pieces right sides facing out with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet. When you get to the stripes sew underneath them so the orange stitches do not show through on the stripes.

Sea Anemone

Finished size: 1 1/4-inches tall

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 base pieces in one color and 1 ring piece in a contrasting color.
  • Tie a French knot in the middle of one of the base shapes using a contrasting color of embroidery thread as shown above. Click here for an explanation of how to tie a French knot.
  • Sew the base pieces together with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet.
  • Cut notches from outside of the ring shape until it resembles a pom pom or flower shape, as shown above.
  • Sew the ring onto the base around the inner circle of the ring (you will also be sewing around the magnet on the inside of the base.

Angelfish

Finished size: 1 3/4-inches wide

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 fish pieces in one color and 2 stripes in a contrasting color.
  • Sew the stripes to one of the fish pieces as shown above.
  • Sew both fish pieces right sides facing out with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet.

Coral and Urchins

Finished size: 1 3/4-inches tall

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 coral pieces in one color, 1 small urchin piece in a contrasting color, and 1 large urchin piece in a third color.
  • Sew together the two coral pieces with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet.
  • Cut notches all along the curved sides on both of the urchin pieces.
  • Sew the urchins to the bottom of the coral.

Jellyfish

Finished size: 1 3/4-inches tall

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 body pieces in one color and 1 tentacle piece in a contrasting color.
  • Sew the body pieces together with the top section of the tentacle piece and the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet and the tentacles.

Lemon Butterflyfish

Finished size: 1 3/4-inches wide

  • Cut the pieces. You will have: 2 fish pieces in one color and 1 spot marking in a contrasting color.
  • Sew the spot marking to the front of one of the fish pieces.
  • Sew the two fish pieces together with th e magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet.

Parrotfish

Finished size: 2 1/4-inches wide

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 fish pieces in one color and 1 fin piece in a contrasting color.
  • Sew the fin on towards the middle of one of the fish pieces.
  • Starting from the bottom fin curve of the fish shape, sew the two fish pieces right sides facing out using a contrasting thread color, ending at the top fin curve. Sew over the fin curves with the contrasting thread using a big running stitch to highlight the fins.
  • Stick the magnet into the fish shape and sew the head of the fish shape shut using a matching embroidery thread.

Sea Star

Finished size: 1 3/4-inches wide

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 star pieces.
  • Sew both star pieces right sides facing out with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet. Instead of using a running stitch sew it together using French knots. Click here for an explanation of how to do French knots.

Threadfin Butterflyfish

Finished size: 2 1/4-inches wide

  • Cut out the pieces. You will have: 2 fish pieces in one color, 3 fin pieces in a contrasting color, and 1 dot marking in a third color.
  • Place the fish pieces together and place the fin pieces on top of them. Sew the fin pieces on through both fish pieces.
  • Sew the front of the fish pieces together with the magnet in-between the layers thus encasing the magnet.
  • Sew on the dot marking through the top fin.

All Done!

Once you've made all the magnets it's really fun to pose them on the magnetic board!