Today’s post comes to you from my crafting idol, my mom! I really didn’t have a choice to become anything but crafty with her as a mom – growing up, we didn’t have a dining room in our house because mom had transformed it into an arts and crafts room for my us! She is still my go-to resource to call with questions like “What glue do I use to stick tiles to a mirror?” or “Do I REALLY have to prime before I paint?” I’m so glad she agreed to write up a tutorial to share with you all!
This project uses wool upcycled from old garments. You can pick up sweaters, suits, or jackets from your local thrift store for a few dollars. To utilize the material for this project, we will use a process called “felting.” Felting the wool will make the material softer, thicker, and denser, and it will not unravel when cut. It will also give it a more fuzzy, warm, texture, which is perfect for rustic crafts like this.
How to felt:
- Find clothing items that are at least 80% wool (check the tag). You can felt several items at a time, but they must be in the same color range (don’t felt light colors with dark because the wool fibers will transfer)
- Put items in washer with a teaspoon of LIQUID DISH SOAP – not laundry detergent
- Wash at the hottest temperature on your machine, in the longest cycle
- Dry on hot temperature**
- Repeat the wash and dry process
**This process will yield a lot of fluffy lint. You can save it to use as stuffing.
If felted wool is curled or hard to flatten, iron it on the steam setting to smooth it out, then cut the garment apart on the seam lines to get usable pieces to work with. Remove any linings or unusable stuff.
To make the trees, you will need:
- felted wool fabric from old garments (I used men’s suits, but you could use skirts or sweaters, too)
- wooden spools from thread or craft store (for bigger trees, use bigger spools)
- craft paint or wood stain
- dowels or old pencils that fit the holes of the spools
- craft glue
- stuffing (from an old pillow, fabric scraps, dryer lint, whatever)
- buttons or other small trims
- needle and thread and/or sewing machine
- fabric scissors
For the bases, paint or stain the wood spools as you like, or leave the wood natural. Cut dowels or pencils to about 5-6″ long, and fit them into the holes of the spools. If they’re not snug, use a little craft glue to secure them.
Decide what size trees you want, up to a maximum about 12″ or they won’t stand very well. Lay out your fabric in double layers with backsides together and cut tall triangles for the trees. You can measure and make patterns if you like, but I like them wonky so I just cut free-form style. Just make sure you cut two triangles of each size.
For each tree, pin the two sides together (backsides together, still). Sew along the two longer sides about 1/4″ from edge (sewing machine or by hand). Raw edges and seam will be on the outside for a rustic, shabby look.
Put a little stuffing inside and push to the pointy tip. Get your buttons or trims and hand-sew them to the top. Stuff the tree pretty firmly.
Grab your prepared base and some craft glue. Stick the dowel into the center bottom of the tree adding a little glue and some more stuffing. Press it all together, pin and hand-sew the bottom edge of the fabric closed around the dowel. Let trees lay on side until glue dries a bit, before standing them up.
You could also make these a bit smaller, add a ribbon loop to the top and hang as ornaments!
How are your holiday crafts coming along? Share via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter, or comment below to be linked in the next Holiday Link Love post!