Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week 37 Craft: Rustic Fabric Christmas Tree

OK, it's happening.  Halloween hasn't even passed and I've already moved on to the Christmas crafts.  Personally, I think Tim Burton got it right with Nightmare Before Christmas - just combine the two!

This week's craft was inspired by my need to seriously whittle down my stash pile.  Like most of you I buy fabric because I can't pass up the great price, or the great print, always with the best intentions of using it.  And like most of you the latest inspiration NEVER seems to fit with the fabrics on hand.  Sigh....So here is a project that will help clear up at least a little of that long forgotten pile of fabrics.  As a matter of fact, this gives you a chance to use up some of your ribbon and paint stash too.  The only thing I bought for this project was the peat pot.

What you need:
mini peat pots
acrylic paint (pick a color that coordinates with your fabric)
cotton fabric scraps
ribbon scraps
large upholstery needle
branch from one of your trees (or a small dowel or wilton lollipop stick)
glue gun

1. Separate you peat pots.  They break apart quite easily either by folding the seam back and forth, or by cutting with scissors.  I found mine at Home Depot.  I think I paid a whopping $3 for 50 of them.  50!!  You can make a whole forest of trees!  The top is 2" square, so these will be petite.

2.  Paint your pot(s).  You only need to paint the outside.  I chose burnt umber to keep with the rustic look of the fabrics I selected.

3. Sort through your stash and select at least five fabrics.  I decided to stick with greens, but these would be super cute in hot pinks and purples, or black and white, or whatever colors your heart desires.

4.  Cut out two squares of each color.  My largest is 3", then 2 1/2", 2", 1 3/4, 1 1/4" and 1".

5. Place your squares wrong sides together and using a 1/8" seam allowance sew all four sides.  Leave a small opening on one side for stuffing.

6.  Now it's time to distress the edges just like you would for a rag quilt.  Get your squares wet and wring them out.  Now is not the time for being gentle.  Really rub them around in your hands to help with the fraying.  Toss them in the dryer with a few rags and let them dry. I don't really think you needed photos for this part, but who doesn't love a "water action shot"?

7. Once dry, loosely stuff your squares.  Don't over do it; you just want a little dimension.  Sew the opening closed.

8.  Time to sharpen your stick/dowel/lolli.  Grab a knife and whittle it to a point.  Be careful!  I'm guessing you could use a pencil sharpener if you're worried about cutting a finger off.

9.  Grab your upholstery (tapestry?) needle and work it through the center of your largest square.  The large needle is to create an opening so the stick fits through easier.  Don't have an upholstery needle?  Use the tip of sharp pointed scissors.  Once you have a hole work your stick through.

10.  Work your way through the rest of the squares except for the smallest one.  With a glue gun, glue the final square on top instead of poking it through.  Trim your stick to your desired height.

11.  Drip a big bunch of glue from your glue gun into the bottom of your peat pot.  Place your stick into the glue and hold in place until it hardens.  I propped mine between two glasses so it would stay upright while the glue hardened.  While your tree doesn't have to be perfectly upright you do want it to stand on its own, so take some time to make sure it is balanced.

12. Grab a few small stones or some dirt to place in the peat pot to help with the balance.  Glue some moss on top to cover the stones/dirt.

13. Once the moss is in place add some ribbon to give the peat pot a little bling.

There you go!  These make the sweetest little trees; mine ended up at about 6 1/2".  They are so petite they would work as unique little place cards on your holiday table.  

I left space between my squares so the "trunk" showed more, but you could easily place the stuffed squares one on top of the other.  If you did it that way, you wouldn't even need the trunk - you could just glue the tiny pillows together and glue them on top of the peat pot.

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