Fishing Game Sewing Tutorial

Follow along this fishing game sewing tutorial to make a sweet gift for little loved ones! You can also read a little bit of the story behind the idea!

hand sewn felt fishing game with colorful fish and fishing rod

The story behind the idea…

Growing up I remember always counting down the days till my birthday. So much in advance it was probably more like counting weeks or even months.  Needless to say it was one of my favorite times of the year. The week leading up to it had me filled with anticipation. I would run to the mailbox to see if there were any special little cards in there just for me. Knowing this, you can imagine just how much my insides would about explode when an unexpected package came addressed to my name. Wow did I feel like royalty. As quickly and carefully as I couldI would split open the box to find out what was inside.

My Aunt Kathy was an especially unique gift giver because every gift she gave was something she had made herself, and boy were they the most special gifts ever. Without fail it would be so personalized and fit the recipient so well. She crafted everything with such quality and creativity. Never failing to make you exactly what you didn’t even know you needed. Then again that’s just the amazing power of an aunt. For me now, as an aunt myself, I want to give my niece and nephews the opportunities to have their hearts racing over the excitement and mystery of birthday gifts. I hope to not only give something of just material, but that shows them how special and unique they are. Something that lets them know just how much they are loved and cared for.

Recently it was my niece Chloe’s first birthday! It’s crazy how quickly they grow! Chloe is my first niece and she sure has been spoiled by all her aunties! About a week before her birthday, I was with my mom looking around to find the perfect gift for her. Then the idea hit me. What if I pulled an aunt Kathy and made her a gift?! Immediately this fishing game popped into my head. I remembered seeing the idea on pinterest somewhere, but just went off of the picture I had in my head.

Side note on pinterest. My mom always encourages my sisters and I to use things like pinterest to give spark ideas for creativity, but to not strictly rely on it. I find this helps a lot to nurture my own creativity and avoid getting caught in the comparison game (though I will say sometimes you do need a good pinterest search to get you going).

After I had the idea I wanted to jump on making it as soon as possible. I knew I would need magnets and a wood rod for the pole, so we immediately ran to the hardware store, grabbed what I needed, then went home to get started. First, I sketched out a template for my fish and worm, then I pulled out my favorite wool felts and started dreaming up the color scheme. I love to use a fun playful array of colors, especially when it’s something for children. Thoughtfully, I decided on the colors and began sewing the little fish.

Projects like these are my favorite because they push me to use my creativity, give me the desire to make at my best quality, and most of all fulfill me because I know it will have a good purpose when it’s complete. It was fun to problem solve each piece of this project and come up with such a sweet end result. Being able to gift handmade items to someone is such a rewarding thing. And what a sweet reminder it is of you and your care for them every time they use it. 

So now lets get into how to make your very own fishing game!

Materials you need:

  • 5 different colors of felt & matching dmc floss (thread)
  • 6 stronger (but still child safe!) magnets
  • fabric glue
  • stuffing
  • dowel rod (approx. 12″) and a drill to make a small hole in it.
  • twine
  • paint
  • sewing needle and scissors

*note on the magnet size and strength: I used 3/4″ for the fish. I used 1/2″ for the worm because it is smaller. For the strength, you want it to be strong enough to work through the felt and have a good hold. Make sure that they are not too strong so that they are still safe. So just keep that in mind when picking them out.

Step 1: Cut out your fish and worm

To start off, print off the pattern for the fish and the worm. Cut both pieces out and you will use these to trace onto your felt. Trace with a disappearing fabric marker or lightly with a pencil. You will want to cut out 2 fish pieces of each color. You will have a total of 10 singular felt fish. For the worm you will just need to cut out 2. Match up the pairs or colors to get ready for step 2!

fish and worm pattern drawn on felt to cut out

Step 2: Sewing and stuffing

For sewing this, I used a blanket stitch, but a whip stitch can be used as well if you prefer. Start around the front side of the fish, sewing towards the direction of the tail. Once you have sewn around, leave about a 2″ opening for stuffing and adding the magnet. Stuff the fish very lightly making sure to get in every corner. I find that only adding a little stuffing gives it that plush look but doesn’t cause issued regarding the magnet. Be sure to leave room at the from to attach the magnet as well.

Step 3: Glue on the magnets

Glue the magnet towards the tip of the fish mouth, making sure to leave about a 1/4 inch for sewing. Put glue on both sides of the magnet and sandwich it in between the 2 fish pieces. Allow to dry then sew closed. Then repeat steps 1-3 for the other 4 fish!

Step 4: The worm

The worm will be done in pretty much the same way we sewed the fish. Start by sewing around the worm leaving an opening to stuff and add the magnet toward one tip of the worm. Then add just a bit of stuffing to give it a little plush look and feel. Glue on the magnet, let it dry and then sew it closed.

Step 5: The Rod

First thing you will need to do is drill a small hole to thread the twine through. Make it as close to the tip of the rod, but far enough back that it won’t split the wood. Next to paint the rod, I taped it about halfway down and painted just the bottom section. You can do this, or you can paint it however you want!

After the paint has dried, you can string your twine through the hole. Since the hole is really small, I had to pull the twine through with thread. Just loop it around the twine and pull it through the hole (pictured below). Then knot the string at the top and dab a little glue on it so it stays onto the rod.

Lastly, tie the worm onto the end of the twine. For extra security and few stitches around the twine onto the worm so it doesn’t fall out.

Step6: Play!

Your fishing game is now all finished! Grab your bucket hat and get to it! You have to give it a try before the kids do, just to make sure it works ;)

felt fishing game worm and fish on rod

Hopefully this craft is something you enjoy to make or feel inspired from! May it also bring joy to the little ones you love! Thank you so much for reading! Please leave a comment letting us know what your favorite handmade gift you have ever given/received was!

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