I used felt last year with my 5th grade student's 'Pop Art Plushies' as well (http://www.artwithmsgram.com/2012/11/pop-art-plushies-5th.html). I LOVE the look of it - much more vibrant colors... but gosh it is so much harder to poke through. What kind of needle did you have them use?I bought a TON of smart fab last year thinking that I might try that instead this year. If that works out it would also be much more economical.
I would like to try this and I am also curious about the materials you used. thanks!!