My boys love collecting sticks to build “campfires” in the backyard. It’s as if they claim their territory using little bundles of twigs. So, when I saw Land of Nod’s S’more the Merrier campfire set, I thought, “I need to make that!” I then became a mom on a mission to find wood-patterned fabric. Luckily, I found just the supplies I needed at Hobby Lobby and a few other shops. Read on for the full tutorial to sew a kids campfire set…
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Supplies Needed for Kids Campfire Set
The amount of supplies you’ll need clearly depends on the size of your campfire. I made three flames, five logs and nine stones. Below is what you need to do the same.
|Log fabric - dark*||¾ - 1 yd||Order this first|
|Log fabric - light*||¾ - 1 yd||Optional, if two log patterns desired|
|Red, yellow and orange fabric*||1 ¼, ¾ and ¾ yd|
|Grey fabric*||1 yd|
|Lightweight fusible interfacing||1 - 1 ½ yd||Optional, for a crisper look on flames|
|Poly-Fil (20 oz bag)||2-3 bags|
|Cotton piping cord||1 ½ yd||Smaller width is better|
*Tip: Take a photo of the care instructions on the fabric bolt before you leave the store. Also, don’t forget other sewing notions you might need: fresh pins/needles, thread, scissors, rulers, mats, etc.
How to Create Pretend Logs for Kids Campfire Set
Fabric Supplies Needed
After lots of digging, I eventually found two awesome prints to make my logs. For the piping edges of the logs, I used the same wood-grain fabric and other scrap pieces I had on hand.
- (Left) Woodgrain, brown with white, sold by papercanoefabricshop
- (Right) Farm – Wood Grain, sold by scarletthreadquiltco
To get started, wash and iron your fabric according to the care instructions. Let’s be honest…this is my least favorite part! But it pays off in the end, and it’s important when using fusible interfacing.
Creating Log Patterns
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I modeled my logs after a bolster pillow in this great tutorial by diydesign blog. However, I skipped the zipper and pillow form, since I planned on using a different stuffing.
Below, I’ve listed the dimensions of fabric cuts needed for each log. I strongly suggest cutting and sewing one log at a time, so you can learn as you go.
Suggested Campfire Log Dimensions
|A: Length (in.)||B: Width (in.)||C: Diameter (in.)|
|20 1⁄2||11||4 1⁄8|
Note: The dimensions above include a ½-inch seam allowance on each end. For the circular ends of the logs, I calculated the diameter (Column C) by taking the total width of the log (Column B), subtracting 1 inch for the seam allowance, dividing by pi (3.14), and then adding 1″ for the seam allowance. Yes, that’s pi I just threw out there!
I used MS Word to print perfectly sized paper circles and trace them onto my fabric. A Cameo or Cricut machine would also work if that’s more your style.
After cutting your main log pieces, you’ll prepare the piping for the circles. The piping length should roughly match the width of the log (Column B in the table above). Wrap the piping in the fabric of your choice and measure a ½-inch seam allowance from the edge of the piping to cut your fabric. Technically, you should cut bias strips when making a piped edge, but for a kid project like this…let’s not get crazy!
How To Sew the Logs Closed
Follow the rest of the tutorial to sew the piping and attach it to the circular end pieces. As mentioned above, I made one important change to the bolster pillow tutorial—I omitted the zipper and sewed the entire length of the log, leaving a small opening of about 3-4 inches for the stuffing.
When attaching the circular ends of the log, your log will be inside out. Use the small opening to turn your log right side out again and stuff it with Poly-Fil. Once you have stuffed your log, hand-sew the gap closed with an invisible stitch. Now, you’re ready to play with fire….
How to Create Pretend Flames for Kids Campfire Set
Remember to pre-wash and iron your fabric before cutting, if possible.
Designing Flame Patterns
To begin, I sketched a flame pattern on printer paper that I could cut and trace onto my red fabric. My largest red flame measured roughly 19 x 16″ when finished, and my smallest measured 9½ x 11″. For the orange and yellow parts, I sketched smaller-scale versions of the outermost flame pattern. Remember this is art, not science. Be creative!
When tracing the paper patterns onto fabric, fold the fabric in half with the right sides together (wrong-side out). You can then use a marking pen to outline the shape onto the fabric.
Pin the fabric through both layers so you can cut the two sides of the flame at once. Repeat these steps for the orange and yellow fabric pieces.
For a crisper look, apply paper-backed fusible interfacing (like Heat’n Bond) to the orange/yellow flames. The interfacing should come with directions on how to do that.
Once you fuse the orange and yellow pieces together, sew along the border using a zigzag stitch*. Repeat the interfacing step when applying the joint orange/yellow piece to the red flame. To save time, you can choose to apply the orange/yellow flames on only one side of the red flame.
*For the peaks of your orange/yellow flames, use Fray Check to prevent fraying. You can also replace the zigzag stitch with an embroidered stitch if you’re fancy like that.
Option 1: Simple Finish
To make a simple flame, sew the red fabric pieces together (inside out) using a straight stitch. Leave a small gap of 3-4 inches on the bottom edge to flip the fabric right side out and insert your stuffing. You’ll finish with another invisible stitch, just like you did for the logs. Done!
Option 2: Advanced Finish
For a slightly snazzier flame with a wider base and more tapered edges, follow these steps:
- With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, pin your flame together along the top edge.
- Use a piece of rope/piping to measure the length of the bottom curvature, from one peak of your flame to the last.
- Decide how wide you want the base of your flame, and add 1 inch for a seam allowance. Cut a rectangle with this width and the length of your rope in step #2.
- Pin the rectangle to the bottom edge of your flame, beginning roughly in the middle and working your way out. You will have pieces of the rectangle sticking out as you taper toward the peaks of the flame.
- Trim the excess portions of the rectangle, and sew along the entire bottom of the flame with a ½-inch seam allowance on each side. You’ll want to cut notches along the curves after sewing to reduce bulk when you turn your flame right side out.
- Sew the top of the flame, leaving a gap of 2-3 inches somewhere between your peaks. Flip your flame right side out, stuff it with Poly-Fil, and close it up with an invisible stitch. Now, pat yourself on the back for doing the “advanced” method!
How to Create Stones for Kids Campfire Set
Now, it’s time to create your stones. Hobby Lobby sells a fabric called Gray Cotton Calico that looks like stone…especially if you sew it into the shape of a stone and tell your kid it’s a stone!
There is no set pattern for the stones. Mine averaged about 8.5×7″ when finished. Begin by folding the fabric in half (inside out), draw your shapes, and cut through both layers of fabric. Next, sew a straight stitch around the border leaving a small 2-3 inch gap, flip the stone right side out, stuff it using Poly-Fil, and close it with an invisible stitch.
If you’re a boy mom, keep in mind these stones will definitely become projectiles! You knew that already, didn’t you?
Enjoying Your Kids Campfire Set
I thought that if I sewed a campfire for my boys, they might stop collecting sticks in our backyard. I should have known better! Now they have an outdoor stick collection and an indoor set of “logs” used for pillow fights. At least they’re enjoying the set, even if it’s not the way I intended!
The boys are now hounding me to make pretend hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick. Perhaps that will become Part 2 of this series!
Until then, stay warm by the fire, my friends…
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