I love a simple isosceles tree silhouette. It is not fussy to cut, feels fresh from fall through winter season and can be used in many different ways from garland, mantle decoration, bunting, table runner or gift wrapping. You also have the opportunity to use the word isosceles, which you probably never thought would happen back in the school days. Felt garlands are also a great craft idea for groups looking to create something together; just a few steps and none really requiring any special skill or tools. And since it is 2020, you could do this all on Zoom, sigh. I will put some tips and ideas for variations at the end and if you create your own drop a picture or link in the comments.
Felt Garland Overview
Decide on a shape
Make a pattern to trace.
Trace and cut out the shape
Prep the shapes either to sew or glue
Save the scraps!
For Tree Garland –
Felt, 4-6 sheets (~ 9 x 12 inches, per sheet)
Two felt triangles per tree
One small felt rectangle (tree trunk)
Craft glue, scissors and/or rotary cutter, ruler
Buttons or sequins
Twine, yarn or ribbon, cut into desired garland lengths (e.g. 7-8 feet)
Trace and cut out felt triangle trees that are about 3-4 inches in height and 2-3 inches wide. For a group project last year, I did make a tree pattern (laminated paper) for a group project last year, so that they were consistent in shape when cut by multiple people. approximately 12 large trees per 6 feet or 18 small trees per 6 feet.
Cut out trunks. It is easy to cut a strip and then cut in to shorter lengths forming rectangles. Play around with different widths. No need to make a pattern or get to exact here.
Pair up two triangles, trim if necessary to have the edges match or remove any errant pen. Pair up different colors too if you like.
Glue a rectangle at the middle of the bottom edge between the two tree pieces. Eyeball it, don’t measure.
Glue the two triangles together. Suggest craft or Elmers’s glue and in a thin layer so that trees don’t dry lumpy. Leave the top points of the trees free/not glued together (maybe about 1/2 to 3/4 inch). This is where the string will be glued to form the strand of garland.
Plan out your spacing along the twine. I like to leave 8+ inches on either side for tying or hanging. If putting 12 trees over 6 feet, space them every 6 inches.
Hot glue is the easiest gluing the trees to the strand as it dries the quickest. Place a small dot of glue inside between the two trees and lay the string/twine in the glue then press the tops of the trees together.
Once trees are connected to string and dry, you can glue or sew a button or sequin to the top of the tree. You could also bedazzle the heck out them with glitter or puffy paint but I wanted a more plain aesthetic.
Buy or plan to use more felt than you will, so that you can have variety and scraps for other projects.
Play with colors or white felt for completely different looks. Most of my trees are different colors on front and back.
Mix in fabric with felt on the back.
When cutting out traced shapes, cut on the inside of the drawn line so that no ink shows when done.
If cutting two layers at a time with scissors, I suggest pinning them to hold them together.
Make the shapes over-sized or mini for different looks.
Scraps Rock! They are useful for other projects (e.g. ornament, baubles etc) or can be recycled in my Ridwell bin (love mine!)
Another fun, quick and easy toddler art activity – bowl-y bugs. Not a specific insect per se, but you could certainly do red and black lady bugs, yellow and black bees but I really like letting my little guy chose his own colors and be creative.
Paper bowls or plates
pipe cleaners (or fuzzy sticks now a days)
paint brush or sponges
scissors, glue, tape
Poke holes in the top (aka bottom) of bowl for antennae (future step) with a pen or scissor blade. You can also make holes after painting but I found this a little harder to do.
Paint the bowl upside down. I did use a little blue tape to affix it to table so it didn’t slip around while being painted, aggressively at a times. Mix or layer colors, add stickers, such as dots etc. This is the fun part!
Glue or stick on google eyes.
Cut pipe cleaners, bend them into your favorite antennae shape and insert into holes.
Try to contain yourself (or small ones) while they dry. They can be stacked, turned into a story, taped on the fridge (bug attack!) or made into hats. Share photos if you make any.
When done, pull off the eyes and antennae and compost or recycle!
Home-baked goodies are a meaningful way to engage your littles in creating a gift and saying thank you to teachers, neighbors or others. While the sample baskets below are made by a toddler for daycare staff, there is no reason older children will not have just as much fun and creativity in designing the simple paper plate baskets. Include them in the baking too!
Cheap sort of flimsy paper plates (the best kind for crafts)
Markers, stamps, stickers etc
Double stick tape, glue and/or hot glue
Using a stripe or two of blue tape mark off a portion of the plate. This will ensure a little white space to put personalized messages. Then let the kids (or yourself) color and decorate the plates, mostly on the underside, but both sides can certainly be adorned. I also use it to affix the plate to counter as the coloring gets pretty physical around here. In the photo below I have multiple stacked so as one is colored up I could remove it quickly and keep the little guy coloring. 🙂
Once decorated, let dry if necessary. Then remove the blue tape carefully, stamp or write in the resulting white space.
Now cut four short cuts from the edge towards the center and then make for folds to create the bottom and sides and allow plate to be folded up into the basket shape. You can alter the shape of the basket by changing the cuts. The diagram will make a rectangle shaped basket perfect for mini loaves. If the cut are shorter and all equal distance from edge and around circumference of plate your basked will be more square and a great fit for multiple muffins. I usually make a template with a blank plate to fit the baked goodies that I want to gift. Its a little different each time.
Tape and/or glue up folded edges to make the basket. It is now ready to be filled with goodies. Feel free to line with parchment or waxed paper.
This DIY ‘simply’ involves a trip to the auto parts store, a drill, some nails/hooks and all the magnets you can stomach (figuratively, many magnets are total choking hazards).
At the auto parts store look for the world’s largest appearing cookie sheet, also known as oil drip pan. Select the least warped one. They tend to bend pretty easy due to material and size, they will also feel a bit oily to the touch, so a good wipe down with a cleaner and rag is a good next step. Cost less than $15.
You could also use a cookie sheet, not the air/insulated kind though, and probably not from the auto parts store. Costco has some quite large simple sheets.
Drill two holes in the top edge of the pan, a few inches in from the right and left side and about 1/2 inch down from top edge. We used a 3/8 inch drill bit.
Decide where you want to hang the metal board and use nails/screws or hooks to mount to the wall. You could also put holes at the bottom if you want to screw into the wall in four spots.
Originally I had wanted the logo imprint to be towards the bottom of the pan when hanging and then cover with fabric to make a pocket but forgot to communicate that detail to the hubs. Oops, no biggie. I just covered with a strip of busy fabric and hot glue.
Glued a few magnets to the back of a large google eye, some pompoms and to a cardboard tube for some additional fun things to play with on the board.
This tutorial is for quick and simple toddler or mini-sized bowties. I like the contrast of the ribbon, setting it apart from other ties. Using ribbon, snaps and scraps of fabric – I made these up as fun shower favors. You could even put them on your pet or use elastic instead of ribbon and make headbands. They are easiest to sew with a sewing machine but you could stitch all by hand, just less quick.
Fun fabric about 8 1/2 inches by 6 inches
Ribbon lengths, I used 5/8 (preferred), 1/2 inch and one with 1 inch wide grosgrain
Snaps or velcro
Needle and thread
Cut your fabric into 8 1/2 by 6 inch rectangles.
Fold in half, wrong sides together the long-way.
Sew with a 3/8 inch seam (or along the presser foot edge). Pick a width really, just be consistent.
Turn right side out and press with the seam down the middle (not the edge. this is the ‘back’.
Fold in half match up raw edges. The seam will be on the outside.
Sew again 1/2 inch. Turn the fabric so that the raw edge you just sewed is on the inside. Press.
Using needle and thread (i used doubled up thread), make a running stitch with a big knot on the end so you can pull and gather up the fabric. This stitch goes just long side the seam.
Before cutting thread, pull and gather fabric up a bit. This helps give the bow its shape. Once you have it gathered to your liking, wrap the extra thread around the pinched part and tie off the thread.
Cut an approximately three inches length of ribbon to sew around the middle of tie. This covers up the gathers. I do like to finish my raw grosgrain edges really quickly with a lighter or fray check.
Measure and cut the ribbon to make the neck portion. Choose a length to fit the neck it is intended for (child, adult, dog etc). I cut 18 inches which was plenty more than I needed for a bunch of 2T little people but I prefer it to be loose on them.
Thread it through the middle ribbon loop you attached to the tie.
Affix snaps or velcro. I used up some white plastic snaps I had on hand, placing two for sizing options. You could also use actually bowtie hooks and clasps. I hate sewing velcro.
Well, it only took me about a year to push publish the last post about Little Bee’s nursery, albeit, it is hard to use the word nursery now but the ‘decor; and space are growing. Future modifications will be to keep making it more ‘montessori’ but for now, it is a space for some stories and sleep. The most fun part of putting this room together was curating and creating all the art and decorations(see post Fresh Nursery Wall Art Ideas and this one Simple Stitched Paper Garland or Bunting) but I also made simple custom curtains to help darken. This room will continue to be a work in progress as he grows.
To make the curtains, I used some simple grey heavy fabric curtains from Ikea. I hemmed them to the window length and then sewed two strips of coordinating bee and yellow honey comb fabric along the bottom to match the theme. I did the same thing (sewing coordinating fabric) to the tie backs. Easy peasy!
Sure these are all over Pinterest, but I still want to share my version of the felt Christmas Tree. Easy to make and the amount of time will really depend on how much detail you want to put into each ornament. I kept the ornaments simple but let the packages at the bottom be fun prints. Definitely use your craft store discount coupons to buy the big piece of felt. For this version I bought a yard of light blue for the background, a yard of the green tree and then smaller variety pack of sheets. Plenty to make a good size tree, as the felt on the bolt is really quite wide. I also picked up some half inch wood dowel for hanging, but you could also mount to the wall with velcro, tape, command strips etc.
Background and Tree: To make blue background: cut to size and then fold the top edge over about 1.5 inches and sew, creating a sleeve to slide the wooden dowel through. Just free hand draw your tree either on paper first or right onto the back side of the felt, doing the modern triangle or more classic tree outline with branches. Cut out the tree shape and position on the blue background. I put some tacky craft glue on the back of the tree to help hold it flat on background. Add a trunk if you want using brown felt. Then pin the edges of the the the tree and trunk to hold in place and sew onto the blue background with matching thread and a zig zag stitch. For the hanger, I used a length of twine tied to each end of the dowel.
Ornaments: Have fun! I used some clip art images, traced some cookie cutters and freehand drew a few items. My favorite are the Washington and Montana state ornaments. Home is where the heart is…… Usually felt will just stick to felt but some of the thicker colored felt didn’t seem to stay quite right AND to make cutting out easier, I traced on to iron on interfacing, ironed to felt (with a piece of fabric in-between to avoid any melting) and then cut out. In hindsight I might have not ironed it on as permanent and then pealed off the interfacing when done cutting. BUT the interfacing gives the pieces a little more shape and I couldn’t peel it off without incident. For some of the easier shapes I just traced and cut or used my circle rotary cutter (‘lights’). The interfacing sticks alright to felt tree but I sprayed the backs lightly some repositionable craft adhesive (3M, Elmers or others) for some extra grabbiness. For the bows on the packages I hotglued on velcro, putting the soft side on the package and the hook side on the bow.
Hang up and enjoy! Now, we might still be a little young for unsupervised felt tree interactions, so I put some of the interfaced ornaments up out of reach (since things tend to go right in his mouth) and left the lower ornaments for his repositioning enjoyment. The circles for tree lights are my favorite and will be easy to make more of, should any end up with teeth marks.
A share of easy and sometimes quick wall art crafts ideas I made for the little tot’s room.
I shared a post where I made garland from greeting cards and gift bags [Here is that post!]. Well, I had quite a few left over…. so I cut more in coordinating colors, including gift bags, and then using a piece of scotch tab to line up and hold them, arranged them on a blank white canvas prepped with a fresh wet layer of modpodge and then applied a mod podge top coat. Hardest part? Letting it dry and not putting TOOOO much on as the paper will bubble. Another fun way to remember special events!
Next is decoupaging fabric onto a canvas. The funky horned game bird (?) print, is part of the same series of gems I found years ago at a craft fair, but you could do this with any fabric or maybe a fun t-shirt, make your own prints using iron-on transfers or actual screen printing. I love how after modpodging the black canvas shows through, giving it a slight antiqued look.
From this same craft fair fabric treasure trove, I had a piece printed with a butterfly winged clock. I glued it to the back of a hexagon floating shelf, using blue tape to hold it tight, so the fabric is framed at the back of the shelf (below). These funky fabrics make appearances all around our house actually.
Another idea – I sewed some solid fabrics together in a large geometric shape and then glued to the back of some wood framed vintage filters -basically sheet metal with holes punched in it.
Finally – Always an quick, easy and not necessarily permanent way to decorate a room: stretch a fun fabric tightly over a canvas or put it in a frame (see the funky antler bird below). I used a staple gun to attached the fabric to some canvas with prints on them that I had around. When the fabric is lighter, you can add a layer of muslin or interfacing to block the canvas design from showing through. Dress up the fabric covered frames with ribbon, buttons, pictures etc. the fabric for the most part isn’t ruined nor is the printed canvas. If you were to look at the back you would see all the extra fabric. If you want you can add a hanger using brads and brackets.
The scrappy fabric ‘orbs’ are from some holiday ornaments I made a few years ago. And the green deer letter press is a coaster I have been saving. What tips and ideas do you have?