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Christmas Felt Ornaments by Ellen Luckett Baker for

Felt Ornaments

By Ellen Luckett Baker

Thrifted Sweater Ornaments
By Ellen Luckett Baker

It’s all about doing more with less this holiday season. So deck the halls with these miniature wreath ornaments made from cast-off wool sweaters. Felted sweaters are a thrifty and eco-friendly way to use recycled materials. Your old moth-eaten or thrifted sweaters can be made into plush toys, mittens, patchwork blankets, skirts, purses, scarves, laptop covers or anything else that you can imagine. The possibilities are endless. To felt a sweater, you must wash it in hot water and run it through the dryer. Keep in mind that your sweaters must be 100% wool in order to felt properly.
I used tapestry needles for this project because they are easy for young kids to handle and have a blunt tip. You could make these ornaments as large as you want, but if you get any bigger than 5″ in diameter you might need to use wire to keep the circular shape.

· Felted sweaters
· Tapestry needle
· Heavy-duty coated cotton thread
· Twine or ribbon

Once felted, you’ll need to cut your sweaters into 1″ squares. Older kids can do this, but I find that my young kids are frustrated when trying to cut any type of fabric. After I cut the sweaters, I put the squares in a bowl for the kids and let them choose their colors. You’ll need about 50 squares for each ornament. This may seem like a lot but once you get going, it moves along quickly.
Then cut a length of thread at least 30″ long. Thread the needle and tie the ends of the thread into a knot, forming a loop. You’ll want to make a couple of knots so that it won’t slip through the loose fibers of the sweater. Older children can practice their knot tying skills. I have found that a loop is easier for children to sew with as the needle won’t come un-threaded.

The kids can string the felt pieces by simply poking the needle through the center of each square. Once the thread is close to full (with a few inches on either end), you’ll want to make sure that it will form a nice loop. You can see that my kids ran out of patience on a couple of these. Then you can pull your knot down a bit to make room to tie the two ends together a couple of times. An adult or older child will need to do this as the thread needs to be pulled tightly. Then add some twine or ribbon for hanging and you’re done.
When crafting with younger kids, it’s essential to have all of your supplies prepared and ready to go. My four-year-old stayed focused on this project for about 15 minutes, which was long enough to make one full ornament. My older daughter (almost six) made four of them! I think these little ornaments would make great teacher or neighbor gifts. Remember that these are made of wool, so be sure to store them in an airtight container to keep the moths away.

Find more Christmas Crafts here!

About the Author

Ellen Luckett Baker

Ellen Luckett Baker is the author of the long thread, a blog about handmade goods. She has always enjoyed making things, but the flexibility of staying a...

Ellen Luckett Baker is the author of the long thread, a blog about handmade goods. She has always enjoyed making things, but the flexibility of staying at home with her two daughters along with the creative inspiration they provide has led her to craft on a daily basis. Combining her love of graphic design and sewing, she has created an Etsy shop selling machine embroidery designs and sewing patterns.

Ellen lives in Atlanta with her husband and two young daughters. She holds a B.A. in Art History and a Master’s of Public Administration with a focus in Non-Profit Management.

Ellen recently wrote 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects her crafting book. She is crazy talented!

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  • jaelithe

    December 11, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I love this idea. Thanks! My husband is rather notorious for accidentally felting my wool sweaters anyway, heh.

  • sandy

    December 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    What a terrific idea, sure wish I could get wool around here. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mimi

    December 11, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Great idea! Another ornament my baby girl will be able to touch and play with 🙂

  • Pumpkinbear

    December 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

    That’s very cool–I saw that the Just Tutes blog has a project just like this with regular fabric scraps, but I also especially like how thick and full the wool scraps make these ornaments.

  • Rachel

    December 12, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Wow, these are gorgeous! I’ll be linking.

  • erica

    December 16, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I love this idea, we will definelty be making some next year 🙂

  • Jewel Goodwin

    December 29, 2008 at 3:26 am

    I love this idea, but it’s only one among MANY great ideas you’ve shared on this site. Thanks so much for all your time and effort, I have bookmarked you and will be back!

  • Lenetta @ Nettacow

    January 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I really like the looks of these! I linked to them on my weekly roundup, the post is under my name. Now to find some wool . . . :>) Thanks!