Making Felt Christmas Trees
Whether you create one, two, or entire grove, these trees are fast, simple, and fun. You can make several of them in a couple of 2 to 3 hour sessions which allows time for the paperclay trunks to dry. They're easy enough for kids (with adult supervision) to create and embellish... A perfect way to spend some weekend time!
I made six of the seven here and Jess made the one with the button decorating the top. I could have made some tree topper stars out of paperclay, but ran out of time. There are lots of ways to embellish these fun little trees, far more than I've shown here.
There are 6 different styles/shapes of these little trees and the patterns are available by clicking here.
The kit that contains all of the items noted in the list below. Click here to see the it.
Supplies you'll need include wool felt: 1 - 12" x 18" sheet per tree with the exception of the second pattern in the file which requires 2 sheets. You'll also need DMC floss or something similar to sew the tress together, a wood dowel and base for each tree, some fiberfill, paperclay for the trunk, and of course embellishments! I used seed beads, rhinestones, glitter, Snow Tex, Diamond Dust, bells, and some other odd bits.
I've created a kit which contains enough items so you can make 6 trees, including the one that requires 2 sheets of wool felt. Items in the kit are:
• Wool Felt - one sheet each of Babbling Brook, Butternut
Squash, Chartreuse, Mellow Yellow, Moss, Ocean Kelp, Old Gold, Pea Soup
Click here to see the kit!
Are you ready to get started making trees? Great, here we go!
Step 1 - Wool felt prep & patterns
I always wash wool felt before using it. It's crisp and flat as we buy it and I much prefer the more timeworn, slightly wrinkled look (like you see in the photo above) that comes from washing. You can toss the wool felt into the washer and drier or do what I find quicker and easier... put all of the fabric in the sink, run hot water over it, squeeze out the water and dry in the dryer. I always use high heat which encourages the most shrinkage and adds to that timeworn, "I've been here for a while" look.
Print the patterns on plain paper and cut out the tree shapes you want to create. Trace the shape onto the felt using an air soluble marker. All but the one that requires 2 sheets of wool felt will fit onto one sheet that's been folded in half.
Step 2 - Pin & cut
Making sure your fabric is doubled (or that you have 2 sheets for the larger tree), pin and cut out the tree shape.
Step 3 - Sew
One word of warning... like an idiot, I sewed all of my trees together, thinking I would embellish them after they were assembled. Um. great idea, but if you want to stitch on the trees it's far simpler to do that BEFORE you sew the front and back together. If all you want to do is glue stuff on, fine - sew them together and assemble, then you can embellish once the tree is done. If you want to stitch any kind of a design you'll find it much less frustrating to do that first!
Choose a color of floss that you like and sew the tree together. Be sure to leave an opening that's large enough to allow for stuffing the tree and for the dowel to be inserted. I used 3 strands of floss and a simple running stitch. You can blanket stitch the layers for a different look. You can knot one end off, but be sure to leave enough floss on the other so that you can close the opening later. I left about a foot or so. Floss is cheap, so don't skimp here or you'll pay later.
Step 4 - Prep the base & dowel
Sand the base with a reasonably fine grade of sandpaper (I used 320 grit) and paint with colors you like. I used Lumiere silver and dry brushed Pearl Turquoise for the one pictured here. I also used Pearl White and Halo Blue Gold on some of the others. Once the paint is dry you'll need to drill a 3/8" hole in the approximate center of the base. I said "approximate" because this isn't rocket science and I wasn't worried about them being perfectly centered. The trunk will cover the fact that the hole isn't perfectly centered.
The dowels, as they come from the package, are too long. Once you have the trees sewn and the holes drilled in the bases, insert a dowel into the base and slide a tree over the top. You'll need to determine how much trunk you want to show and then can figure out how much to trim off of the dowel. There really isn't a standard measurement - you just need to play a bit with each one.
Once you figure that out and have cut the dowel, mark the dowel and base with something that will remind you which tree it's set up for. They're all going to vary a bit and you want to match the three parts that make up a tree. The final prep step for the dowels is to use a utility knife or something similar and shave the top of the dowel so that it's slimmer than the rest. Mine are not pointy, but they are considerably smaller in diameter than the dowel itself. If you don't, the dowel is going to cause an unsightly bulge at the top of the tree.
Once the dowel is cut and trimmed dip the untrimmed end into a little glue (I used The Ultimate) and insert it into the base. Leave to dry for a couple of hours.
Step 5 - Creating the trunks
When the glue is dry pinch off a piece of paperclay and smoosh it around the bottom of the dowel. I used about 1/6 of a 4 ounce package per tree so a 4 ounce block is plenty to make a grove of 6 trees.
Begin to gently push the paperclay up the dowel...
And pull out the bottom of the clay into something that looks a bit like roots. Dampen your fingers with a little water - this will help you move and smooth the clay as you work with it. What I've done so far is to just rough in the shape of the trunk and roots.
You can see the moisture here and that I've refined the trunk a bit more. Be sure that it extends far enough up the dowel, otherwise you may end up with bare dowel showing under the bottom of the tree. Once you're satisfied with the trunk clean any water and paperclay from the base, otherwise you'll see the clay since it's white when it dries.
Here are several of my bases with the trunks applied and dried. Once yours are dry paint with brown acrylic paint and let the paint dry.
Step 6 - Assemble the trees!
Now it's time to put the pieces together and finish your tree. Though it would be easier to stuff without the dowel in the way, it would not be easy to position the dowel in the top of the tree while fighting the fiberfill. So.... lay the base on its side, push the dowel so that the end you narrowed is positioned in the very top of the tree. Pull off a small bit of fiberfill and poke it up into the top, moving it around the dowel.
Continue to stuff the tree from the top toward the bottom, being sure not to overstuff it. Though this picture makes it look as though the tree is bursting with fiberfill, it's not. It's puffy and a little goes a long way.
See? It's not nearly as full as it appeared in the first photo!
When you're satisfied with the fullness you'll want to add a bit of glue to the front of the trunk, just above the bottom of the felt. Do the same in the back. Once you begin to stitch the bottom closed you're going to have to pull the bottom down to cover the glue and close the opening. You'll want to have three hands, but the two you've got are going to have to do!
Thread the needle with that floss you left hanging way back in the beginning and begin to stitch the opening closed. Once you get to the trunk you'll need to slip the needle around it to begin stitching on the other side.
Stitch till the opening is closed and then slip the needle through the seam so that the floss exists between the front and back. Tie a knot up close to where the floss is exiting the seam.
Run the needle back up in the same place, or close, to where you pulled the thread through and then poke it out somewhere above that. Pull everything through and cut the floss flush with the surface of the felt. If you see a tiny end, just poke the felt around it and it will disappear inside.
Now you can get into embellishment mode! Add bells or rhinestones. You can even stitch beads on now if you want, though admittedly it is easier before the trees are assembled. Now's the time to use Snow Tex to add snow to the branches or around the base of the trunk. I like glitter, so once the Snow Tex was applied in a way I liked, I sprinkled Diamond Dust over it. You can do the same with regular glitter of course.
Here are some additional images of the trees I made...
Diamond Dust over Snow Tex
See those stitches? They would have been way easier to do before I stitched the front to the back!
If you missed the link to the patterns in the beginning, you can grab a copy by clicking here.
Click here to see the kit which give you enough supplies to make 6 trees - wool felt, floss, fiberfill, bells, glitter, Diamond Dust and more!
If you want to make more trees, or trees using other colors of wool felt, click here to see all colors of the National NonWovens wool felt.
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