Create a Felt-Heart Card With Your Child Who Is Blind or Low Vision With Optional Beginner Hand Sewing
Here’s to seasonal fun with your child as you create a tactile Valentine-heart card! Note the varying levels of difficulty—choose what works for your family.
- Tray with raised edges and small containers for an organized work station
- Cardstock or a blank card
- Double-sided tape
- Embroidery thread (contrasting color to the felt may be helpful)
- Needles (1. a plastic needle for practicing and 2. a self-threading needle for the project, or a needle and needle threader as an alternative, if your child is ready to learn to thread a needle)
- Stuffing (can be purchased or removed from a once-loved stuffed animal)
- *Glue (as an alternative to sewing)
- *stylus, awl, pen, or hole punch (for adults to punch holes in cardstock so your child can practice lacing, a precursor to sewing the basic running stitch)
Set up the workstation with your child. Use a tray to keep items together. Store materials in short, stable containers like jar lids to prevent spills. For kids with low vision, add task lighting and use contrasting colors.
If your child is not ready to learn to sew, precut multiple felt hearts and have your child glue the decorative hearts to the card. Simple and sweet!
Ready to teach your child sewing? Start with simple steps. First, make holes in cardstock in a heart shape (about 4 inches in size). Use a stylus, awl, pen, or hole punch. Give your child a plastic needle and embroidery thread or yarn. Show them how to lace up from the first hole, then down the second, and so on. Begin at the heart’s top (“12:00”) and go clockwise. They can feel for the next hole with their fingers.
When your child is ready to practice sewing on felt, here’s the game plan
- Cut two felt hearts, each about 4 inches wide and long. Smaller hearts are harder to sew. Your child doesn’t have to cut them. But if they want to, use double-sided tape to attach a cardstock heart as a guide. Experienced sewers can fold the felt and cut both hearts at once.
- Adhere the felt hearts together using double-sided tape to keep them from sliding about when sewing. Pins can be used for the experienced sewer.
- To gauge the amount of thread to use, your child can measure the thread using an extended arm, shoulder to finger-tip. Cut the thread.
- Thread the needle, and knot the thread’s ends together. If your child is threading the needle, consider using a self-threading needle; stabilize the needle by sticking the needle into Styrofoam or cork. Alternatively, the needle can be threaded using a needle threader.
- Time to sew! New sewers should try a simple running stitch. Start at “12:00” and go clockwise. If your child knows this stitch, teach them backstitch, whipstitch, or blanket stitch. Begin sewing from the heart’s back. Pull the thread until the knot stops at the fabric’s back. Then, push the needle through from the front. If your child practiced on cardstock with pre-made holes, they might know stitch spacing. If not, they can use their fingertip to measure. But be careful not to prick themselves. You can also use a comb, pencil, or pipe cleaner for spacing. Remember, extra tools might make sewing harder.
- Once 80% of the heart’s edge is sewn, take a break. Have your child put the needle in a safe spot, like a magnetic pin cushion. Then, lightly stuff the heart.
- Complete the stitches and tie off the thread.
- Sew the heart on the front of a piece of folded cardstock or a blank card using ten or so wide stitches.
You now have a personalized Valentine card ready to be brailled or written in and delivered!