Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
(Elementary and up)
Badges and patches are widely used for many purposes. We collect them for places visited when traveling. Badges are also important elements of scout programs. They celebrate the accomplishments that young scouts make when they explore new things to learn. Badges can be sewn onto jackets, bags, or backpacks and add to our sense of identity. You can purchase badges for almost any person, place, or thing you might imagine. But creating your own felt badge with hand embroidery can deepen the experience or memory for the creator.
Purchased commercial badges for collecting
Big Ideas are concepts that are common to all of humanity. These ideas provide an entry into a creative project encouraging the artist to think about way a Big Idea is relevant in their life, allowing the artistic journey to have a real world connection with the maker. For this project, you can choose one of these Big Ideas to launch from:
Essential questions are the start of the inquiry process of creation. They deepen the preliminary thinking of artistic creation by reflecting on the artist’s life and experiences. Some essential questions for this process are:
All artists use the 8 Studio Habits of Mind in the creation process. Although they are listed below, there is no particular order they should be used in. The image of the Studio Habits of Mind reflects them in a circle, and artists move from one habit to the next in an order that is personal to their creation. See how many of the 8 habits you can tap into during the creation of your felt badge:
Hand embroidered felt badge by Alexis Walker
Embroidered patches by Defne Güntürkün
Embroidered badges by Kelly Ryan
Sophia Narrett, So Many Hopes, 2016-17
Girl Scout Badges
Basic Techniques for Embroidery:
Basic Books for Embroidery
NOTE: This non-commercial patch is not intended for frequent laundering! It’s best to attach it to a bag or backpack instead of a garment.
Commemorate a special event – the text in this example was added by eye, and is one way to add text.
2. Write the text on the notebook paper.
3. Have your badge ready for the text addition.
How to turn your badge into a fusible patch: once you have completed your felt badge, use Heat n’ Bond to put an adhesive on your badge, then you can iron it onto a fabric surface. Here is a Heat n’ Bond tutorial video:
Heart badge by Connie Elliott
Another advanced extension is to use machine embroidery to create your felt badge!
If you don’t have embroidery thread, if you are working with younger students, or if you have a student with special needs, consider cutting out the felt pieces for your badge and use white glue to build your badge from the bottom up, carefully gluing the pieces to create the design.
Artists use the Studio Habit of Reflection to think about their art after it’s created. Here are some questions you might use to reflect about your own work: