Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Magnetic Fishing Game {A Tutorial!}

Thanks to everyone for their sweet comments yesterday on the Busy Book! I really appreciate it! :) Another gift I decided to make for Josephine this year was a little magnetic fishing set, and I thought making it out of felt would make it a little more toddler-friendly (not to mention cheaper and easier).

You will need:
*Craft magnets (the stronger the better, since they will be inside the fish); one for each fish and two for the pole (I found a pack of 60 at Hobby Lobby for $6.99 and got them 40% off)
*Felt (I used the sheets from Hobby Lobby that are 25 cents each, and I could easily have made two or three fish from each sheet if I wanted the fish to be one solid color. The glitter and patterned felt were a little more - maybe 33 cents a sheet?)
*Polyfill (Usually about 3 bucks for a big bag)
*Embroidery floss (I got it for 37 cents each) - contrasting or matching colors (or both)
*Needle and scissors
*Hot glue gun or some other strong glue

Here's how to do it:

 1. Decide on a shape for your fish, draw a template, and cut out.

2. Get another piece of paper and trace your pieces, adding little margin where you will sew the pieces together (make head, all fins, and front end of body at least a 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer than original).

3. Use your template to trace TWO of each pieces out of your felt.

4. Use embroidery floss to create scales on the body, layer the fins together and make eyes on the head (I used a french knot).

5. Embroider the heads to the body pieces.

6. Begin embroidering the bodies together, beginning with the head. 

7. Place the top fin where you would like it, in between the two body pieces.

8. Embroider through the two body pieces with the fins sandwiched in between.

9. Repeat with the tail.

10. Place a magnet inside the two layers, up at the "mouth."

11. Stuff with polyfill to desired "fullness."

12. Place the remaining fin in the opening and embroider shut.

You made a fish with a magnet inside! Bravo!

The trick for not leaving a knot on the outside of the fish when you are done is to put your last stitch through only ONE layer, so your needle is in between the layers, then knot and cut. To start without a knot showing, put your needle in between the two layers and push through, leaving the knot sandwiched in between the two layers. 

For the pole, I simply screwed a tiny eye screw into the top of a dowel, then hit it with a dot of hot glue to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. 

Next, I tied on a piece of string and also hit the knot with a dot of hot glue. Next, I took two of the magnets, put hot glue on one, put the end of the string in between, and smashed them together nice and tight. I REALLY wanted a donut-shaped magnet, because that would have been much easier, but I could only find them online, and it was like $8 shipping for a 44-cent magnet. No thank you.

Finally, I took some felt and sewed it in place around the exterior of the pole. This makes it a little cuter, but I really did it to prevent slivers and maker sure she didn't poke herself with the eye screw. Obviously it is still a toy that requires supervision, but I was hoping this would help prevent any extra catastrophes.

 And there you have it. A lovely little fishing game. :)


  1. You are on a cuteness roll! I had a magnetic fishing game when I was little, but it was plastic and cheap. I would have loved to have this one!

  2. Ver, I am so impressed with your scissor skills. This was a great idea.

  3. You are the diva of kid crafts!!

  4. I love them! And, I love felt craft. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas. I should start on them now, before I have a kid. haha.

  5. Thanks, Shannon, mom, Joe, and Mari! And Mari, YES, you should start now! :)

  6. I've been lurking for a long time. I love your blog. I've always been into paper crafts but your craftiness is lightyears beyond mine! And we have daughters almost the same age (mine born July 2010). But I had to comment today. I am IN LOVE with this idea! So cute! Kudos. I was struck by an idea while reading. Down the line you could make it into a game. Make a boot or something that is a losing piece if you "catch" it. Maybe even assign point values to the fish. In any case, I must aspire to be like you and make this craft!

  7. I'm impressed! We used to use paper ones in preschool and just kept making them over and over again...

  8. Jill -- thanks! I love to meet a lurker! And I LOVE your idea about the boot!! When she is older, I will add the boot in and add some other game variations. Thanks for the great suggestions! :)


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