November 19, 2012
Decorating the Christmas tree is an important ritual for my family. We all gather wearing itchy Santa hats and sipping hot cocoa while my father plays festive songs on the piano and we all sing out of key while meticulously placing ornaments on our carefully chosen tree. In our family, however, the most prized ornaments are not the fancy hand-blown glass kind, but rather he home-made ones. Cork reindeer, family photos and salt dough angels are our most cherished. Now that I don’t live in the family home, I wanted to create some hand-made ornaments to decorate my own tree, which resulted in these traditionally inspired modern felt ornaments that use the often-neglected decorative stitches on your machine and some tinsel-like metallic thread.
- Wool Felt Squares in festive colors plus grey
- Wonder Under
- 1 or more spools metallic or contrasting thread (I used an entire spool for this project)
- 1 skein embroidery floss or thin ribbon (for loops)
- Scissors, Sewing Machine, Pins, Iron
Draw your desired ornaments shape on a piece of paper and cut it our to use as your template. I made mine in the shape of a tear drop traditional glass ornament. You can be creative with your shapes and use household objects such as glasses and cookie cutters to create fun shapes like circles, gingerbread men and trees. Just remember to add a “tab” to the top of the ornament to represent the metal cap on glass ornaments.
Mark with pins on your felt square the area in which you want to keep your stitching so that you don’t cut out any cool details later
Start Stitching! I used a variety of decorative stitches that came with my machine to create designs, but straight stitches and zig-zags look good too! Use patterns of stitches next to each other to create fun patterns all the way down the length of your felt square. Your stitches don’t have to be parallel either. Criss-cross many straight stitches for a fun abstract look. This is the most fun part!
Using your template as a guide cut your felt square in two. The non-stitched part of the square will be used as a backing later. Then cut a strip of wonder-under to match your stitched segment. Iron the Wonder Under to the stitched segment of felt making sure that the fusible web is against the felt and that the parchment is against your iron.
Trace your template onto the parchment fitting in as many as you can whilst avoiding any imperfect stitching that may have occurred due to bobbin-reloading or lost tension.
Cut out your ornament shapes and carefully peel off the parchment starting at the top of the ornament. If you’re having difficulties removing the parchment, iron the ornament for longer.
The fusible backing now attached to the ornament should be visible.
Cut 4″-5″ lengths of your embroidery floss or ribbon and place them in-between your ornament fronts and un-stitched backing (left-over from step 3) and iron the ornament fronts to the backing, fusing your loops in. A pressing cloth might be useful for protecting your felt and stitching. You can use a scrap piece of cotton or dish towel.
Cut your almost-done ornament from the backing piece of felt. You will have a stitched front with a clean solid backing and a loop for hanging fused in-between.
Cut small pieces of grey felt slightly larger than your top tab and attach these to the top of your ornament, either with glue or more Wonder Under.
You’re all done! Allow glue to dry or your fusible web to cool and then hang your hand-crafted ornaments on the tree while sipping hot cocoa and making holiday memories. These also make great gift tags for your hand made gifts!
Happy Holidays form the Harts Staff!