Today we’ll be walking you through step by step instructions for creating little bundles of “shredded cheese” as part of our felt taco play set series. In this post, we’ve slowed it down and provide instructions, materials, and links for resources step by step. If you are looking for a quick summary, you can skip straight to the video at the end of this post.
Shredded cheese can be a difficult texture to represent in felt food, so when it came to our felt food taco playset, it took some creativity and research to come up with these little orange and yellow “pom-poms” of felt “cheese”. These little poofs of multicolored felt simulate the blend of Cheddar, Jack, and Monterey shredded cheeses popular for American-style crunchy tacos.
In this tutorial I’ll be showing you how I made these little shredded cheese bundles. They fit perfectly inside the tortillas and taco shells made from other tutorials on our blog.
Begin with Strips
Start by cutting two strips of felt from a complementary yellow–orange pallet. Colors that work well for this felt cheese project include Mac & Cheese 0434 in 20% wool felt, native maize, eternal sunshine 0431, Sunburst 0436, Mystical Mandarin Orange 2862. In the acrylic felt, the three-way combination of yellow 0414, gold 0416, and orange 0821 replicates the color and texture of Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese perfectly.
To begin, cut a strip of each color approximately 3/4 inch wide by 7 inches long. Stack these two strips on top of one another.
Grasping the strips together, fold them back and forth on themselves – accordion style – and stitch together.
Stitch through the center and back with at least three or four strands of strong embroidery floss. You’ll want to make your stitch very short, since we need the fabric to twist around on this single stitch and a long stitch will prevent twisting.
You can hide your stitch by beginning your stitch between the folds and ending in the same place. By tucking excess thread in to a fold, no extra thread or knots will be visible on the finished felt cheese bundle.
Once securely stitched, cut the loops on each side, so each loop becomes two flaps.
Cut each flap into three or four strips- varying the width of the strips can help create a more natural look. I like to vary it- cutting one color into four strips and another color into three strips.
Once the loops are cut into to flaps, and the flaps are cut into strips, it’s time to twist this layered fabric a bit so it looks more like a pom-pom than a pile. To do this, simply grasp the top and the bottom layers and twist around the central stitch. Continue twisting, layer by layer, as needed to create a variegated and textured look.
Once you are happy with how your bundle of shredded cheese looks, you’ll want to add some extra stitches through the core to help it stay in place.
These stitches help the cheese hold its shape and helps ensure that it holds up well to play. Quality felt – whether wool felt or our premium acrylic felt – will be the best bet to keep your creation looking great through lots of hours of open ended play in a child’s play kitchen. Unlike craft felt sold in stores, both our wool and acrylic lines are made in the USA from longer fibers then craft store eco-felt – and these longer fibers help the felt hold up longer and look great through lots of handling.
Once securely stitched into place, trim any exposed loose threads, match your pom-pom with a few more shredded cheese felt pom-poms and combine with other ingredients for our felt taco (or burrito!) playset.
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