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Monday, December 3, 2012

DIY: Felt Holiday Tree(s)

Danielle Thompson is keeping us inspired and in the Christmas spirit.  We love these felt trees and can't wait to give them a try!  Check out her blog for more DIY!

First I wanted to give credit to my initial inspiration for these (b/c it is one of my pet-peeves when people don't give proper credit... grr.. i've seen this happen so many times to other people, and even me... and it just makes me so sad. I try very hard to always give proper credit! although unfortunately with all of the things i bookmark, i do lose track sometimes where i got the idea in the first place. But very very rarely.) 
My inspiration for this actually came from a project (no surprise!) from Emily Martin/The Black Apple last year. I had the idea of making these felt trees in my head this year, and knew the concept was hidden in my subconscience from SOMEWHERE, and then i remembered her trees from last year. :-) But after looking at them for the first time this year, i realized they're pretty different! But same concept...
I wish I could provide some patterns for the felt pieces, but #1, as I've mentioned, I don't trust my pattern making skills, especially when it comes to fabric! and #2, I'm not sure that all styrofoam trees are standard sizes at all craft stores, so the patterns might end up being off depending on where you buy your tree forms.
But essentially the shape will look something like this and get smaller as you layer up the tree:
You just freehand cut the scallop along the bottom of the shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, and I sort of like the freehand look: :-)
To start:
1. Cut out your pieces of felt. I used generally 3-5 pieces/colors of felt per tree depending on how layered you want it to look. For each color tree, I used 3-5 shades of one color to show a gradiation of the darkest shade to the lightest shade going towards the top. On some I did a dark-light-dark-light look as well. Whatever worked with the shades of felt that I had. I used wool felt, but you could also use craft felt at craft stores... it's cheaper, but not as pretty, and you won't have the same amount of color shades as you'll find in wool felt.. i got mine online.
The first layer will be your bottom layer. It won't have the scalloped edge b/c it will wrap around the bottom of your tree form. You'll need to snip the area that wraps around like this so that it will fold over with little bulk. Then just hot-glue to the bottom:
Then you can glue a circle of felt to cover your bottom completely.
(I used 3 different sizes of tree forms: small, medium and large. So if you do try to make a pattern, you'll need to make a different pattern for each size/shape tree as they will of course differ.) I basically just winged it with each layer of felt... wrapped the fabric around and just cut away til i got generally the shape that i mentioned above. Then i wrapped it around hot-glued, where the ends met, to the tree form, overlapping:
Since I knew my that my trees would only be seen from the front, i didn't stress too much about how they looked on the back. As you can see, the backs of mine look a bit haphazard. They still look tidy at least. If you wanted, and you know they'll be seen from all sides, you could add a strip of ribbon along the seam on the back like I did here, vertically:
If you want to be REALLY tidy, you could wait on adding the vertical strip of ribbon, and first wrap your trims and ribbons around the tree horizontally and when you're done with that, you could add your vertical strip of ribbon to hide all of the felt seams/ribbon-ends on the back. Or just leave the felt seams as-is. It really doesn't look bad, as long as you overlap the ends so that no foam shows through. If you're a sewer, you could even sew the ends together on each felt layer and slip over the form!
The great thing about using these styrofoam forms is that you can also pin things to it (as you can see I used lots of pearly colored pins). And that is actually even easier than having to use hot-glue constantly. I'm not a big fan of glueing (i don't totally trust it!), so i try to use it only if i have to. But you'll definitely want to add some hot-glue to reinforce everything.
2. Ok you're done adhering your felt layers, it's time to embellish. You can start adding your trims and ribbons to wrap around the tree horizontally. (or you can leave them as-is with no embellishment! sort of a more modern look) I wanted to embellish, but not overly, still keeping a somewhat clean design (well, clean for ME at least).

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