Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fabric Scrap Christmas Tree: A Tutorial

My apartment needed some holiday love, so I started to brainstorm. I've been seeing little Christmas trees popping up all over Pinterest, so instead of going out and buying all kinds of scrapbook paper or yarn I don't have, I figured I would use what I DO have (okay, besides the styrofoam cone)! As a result, I have an easy, cheap, scrappy, and stylish Christmas tutorial to share with you today!


A bunch of Christmasy scraps - I raided my too-little-for-most-projects-but-I'm-hoarding-anyway scrap bin for white, red, and green (a mix of modern and traditional fabrics was my goal),

Said 18" styrofoam cone, which you can get from any of your local craft stores (mine was from Hobby Lobby for around $3.00) (you can also make smaller ones!),

A glue gun - mine is tiny and doesn't get too hot, which works really well for me. Sidenote: by the end of this project you will be encased in a spider web of dried glue, but it's worth it :),

A spool of coordinating (or non-coordinating!) ribbon - you won't use the whole thing (half or even less, depending how much you use it - you'll see),

And a Q-tip with its cotton picked off (haven't you always wanted to do that?) (okay, maybe I'm alone in that endeavor. Moving on.) You'll also need a small scrap of cardboard, a square of scrap yellow fabric for the star, and scissors.
Step 1: Chop your scraps into squares or rectangles - they don't need to be too precise. I would go for around the 2" mark, and you can use smaller or bigger ones, too.

Step 2: Make a line of glue about the width of your first scrap at half of its length, and stick your first fabric scrap WRONG SIDE FACING YOU onto the cone. See where I'm pressing my finger in the picture? That's where my line of glue was (even though this was taken a few rows up from where I started). Yes, this is the WRONG SIDE of the fabric facing the camera!

Step 3: Dot the hot glue at the very bottom of your scrap (or, if you want the whole thing to look neater, make a line of glue at the very bottom. I ended up adding more glue overall at the very end to clean things up). FOLD your fabric scrap towards you and press down.

You want the bottom scraps to fold over and hit the bottom of your styrofoam and not go over, NOT like the picture below shows. AFTER the first row, I glued only a quarter of the length from the bottom up initially, and then glued BELOW the fabric to cover the styrofoam, and overall, use less fabric. Hopefully the picture below explains that!

I ended up doing rows of inital gluing at one time, and THEN folding over. Then you aren't picking up and putting down and watching your glue gun fall over quite as much. :)

Step 4: Repeat and repeat until you reach about the last 2.5" of your cone at the top. You made it, hopefully without glue gun burns! That's the most lengthy part, though without taking pictures, this relaxing process probably took me about a half hour. Fill in any styrofoam gaps with small pieces of folded fabric (follow same process above).

Many of my fill-in fabric scraps were the solid green fabric scraps - I wanted to give the whole thing a pop!

Step 5: Likely, you're cursing me by now because you ARE encased in a spider web of dried hot glue. Brush it all away (I suggest using a lint roller on yourself AND the tree - it works!) Take your ribbon (I suggest just keeping it on the roll, don't cut it yet), and glue the end to overlap the tops of your last row of your fabric gluing spree. Carefully wind the ribbon around until you get to the top, gluing every inch or so. Cut off when you've completed a round around the very top and neatly glue at the end. Easy peasy!

Step 6: This is optional. I wanted to give my tree some more pizazz, so using the same process as above, I glued three other rounds of ribbon around different parts of my tree (see picture below). It also helps reign in some of those scraps.

Step 7: The star - every Christmas tree needs a topper, don't you think?! Free hand a star on a scrap of cardboard and cut out.

Place a dot of glue in the middle of the star and press to the back side of your yellow scrap. I used a scrap of Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelet in Yellow because, well, I'm obsessed. Cut lines into each inlet of your star - if that doesn't make sense, the picture below speaks a thousand words:

Complete each spike of the start individually. First, dot your glue on one of the star spike, and press the fabric onto it (see below).

Place another dot of glue on top of the fabric and fold the other part of fabric for that spike over.

Snip off the end of fabric that is left. Repeat for each star spike (is that even a thing? It is now, I guess!)

Step 8: Place a line of hot glue on the back of the star, and press the Q-tip on. Once it's dry, stick the Q-tip right into the top of your tree...

It's supposed to be scrappy, and a little stringy, and a little frayed - embrace it! :)

And you're finished! Take your obligatory pictures by your Christmas tree (and on your bookcase, if that's where you've chosen to showcase its beauty).

AH, I know, my real Christmas tree needs a skirt and a topper! I'm working on it!

The beauty of this project is that you can use any color scheme at all, and it will look beautiful! I would LOVE to see one in purple, blue, and gray or white. Use yarn instead of ribbon. Even paper would work instead of fabric!

That's it! This was a really fun project, and as soon as I can drive out to Hobby Lobby again, I'll be grabbing some smaller styrofoam cones. If you make one, please send me an email (see sidebar) or link it to this post so I can see it - I'd love to!

I have to go and get ready for work - it's been a crazy week but things are slowing down for the weekend. Yay! Also - don't forget about the Sewing Confrontations linkup TOMORROW!

Happy decorating!

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  1. I bet you could use empty thread cones too.

  2. The whole thing is brilliant, but I especially love your star. I may have to try this myself next year! -RLQ (here via FYFF at OKMQG)


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