DIY Craft Tutorial: How to Turn an Old Sweater Into a Christmas Tree Ornament
Reuse and repurpose your favorite old sweaters by turning them into cute and cozy Christmas Tree ornaments! This is a great way to recycle your clothing while creating unique holiday decorations for your Christmas tree and home.
This process involves felting your sweater in a washing machine. This is an easy process and the directions are included below. Once your sweater is felted, you can make many ornaments out of one sweater using all different shapes and designs. I chose to make my ornament in a Christmas tree design, but you could also make a star shape, a Christmas ball, or any animal shape. Use a shape that best coordinates with the design or decoration on your sweater.
Materials for Turning an Old Sweater into a Christmas Tree Decoration
The materials for recycling your sweater into a Christmas tree ornament are quite basic, but you can add more decorations and embellishments if you choose:
- a sweater that is at least 70% wool for felting - it's best to use a sweater with a colored design that will create a pattern on your finished ornament, though you can use a solid colored garment and add you own decoration with beads, buttons, and other trimmings. I used a Fair Isle sweater for my ornament.
- some coordinating felt fabric for the back of your ornament. However, you can choose to use your sweater fabric for both the front and the back. Felt fabric is a good choice because it will not unravel when cut.
- sewing needle and coordinating thread
- fiber fill or cotton balls (optional) for stuffing your ornament
- beads, buttons, sequins, and ribbon to decorate your ornament
- sharp scissors, a pencil or marker, and a ruler
- white craft glue for attaching decorations
Directions for Recycling Your Sweaters into Christmas Ornaments
1. The first step is to felt your wool sweater in a washing machine. This is an easy process and does not harm your washing machine. You can find directions for felting your sweater here.
2. While your sweater is in the washer, you can begin to look for outlines or shapes to use for your Christmas tree ornaments. You can find shapes of holiday images online, or you can make your own.
3. I made my own template of a Christmas tree. I folded a piece of paper in half and marked the top and bottom edge of the size I wanted to make my tree. I made my tree 4 and 3/4 inches tall, plus another 1/2 inch for the tree base (5 and 1/4 inches total height). I also marked two inches for the width of my tree.
Then I drew the profile of a tree in the space I marked on my paper. When I cut out my sketch and unfolded the piece of paper, I had a tree template.
4. Once your sweater is felted and dry, decide what area of your garment you want to use for your ornament. I used the Fair Isle design for the top of my Christmas tree, but wanted some of the solid white for the bottom.
Working from the inside of your sweater, pin your paper template down in the area you want to use and trace your shape with a marker. Then cut out your shape, using sharp scissors.
5. Then trace your shape again on your felt or the fabric you are using for the back of your ornament. When you cut out your shape, leave about a 1/4 border all around your design. This will make your back piece of fabric slightly larger than your piece of felted sweater for the front (see photo above).
6. Now, if you choose, you can decorate the front and back pieces of fabric. Although I consider the sweater side of my ornament as the "front" side, I still wanted to add some detail to the back of my ornament. So I added some sequins and ribbon garland to my back fabric using white craft glue. Then I glued seed beads on to my front sweater fabric to look like decorations on my tree.
You can decorate and embellish your ornament as much as you want. You can also add some embroidered stitches or use buttons to decorate your material.
7. Once your pieces are decorated and your glue has dried, you can sew your pieces together. Put your two pieces of fabric together, back to back, so that the fronts are showing on both sides. Taking your needle and coordinating thread, begin sewing at the bottom right hand corner of your ornament.
Note: If you don't want to stuff your ornament, you can just glue your two pieces of fabric together using craft glue or hot glue.
8. As you work toward the top of your ornament, sew or glue in place a loop of ribbon or twine to serve as a hanger for your decoration.
9. Continue sewing around the edges of your ornament until you get to the lower left corner. Leave you needle and thread attached and hanging while you stuff your ornament with fiber fill or cotton balls. This is optional, but will give your ornament a bit more shape. You can stuff it as much as you want or as your fabric will allow. Use a pen or pencil to stuff into the corners of your shape if needed.
10. Now continue to sew your ornament all around. Add any additional embellishments you may wish. I added a star button to the top of my tree by gluing it in place with some white glue.
These recycled sweater ornaments are a wonderful handmade addition to any holiday tree or decor!
Copyright © 2015 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.