Quick & Easy Handmade

Quick and Easy Handmade Projects 15 last-minute Christmas gift ideas

Quick & Easy Handmade

Looking for a few last-minute Christmas gifts?  Don’t have the much time or money?  Check out my list of 15 quick and easy handmade projects.  These projects, including a Sharpie mug, vinyl saying candle holder, photo magnets, Polaroid photo clothespin magnets, shower melts, sugar lip scrub, Thieves© foaming hand soap, fabric bookmarks, super kid cape, sunglasses case, hand-warmers, stuffed dog bone toy, money in a jar, hot cocoa sticks, and Ritz cracker snacks, are quick and easy handmade projects that require little time and money.  Scroll down to check them out!

Christmas Stress Setting In

I don’t know about you, but I am really feeling the stress of Christmas right now.  Counting today, we have 12 days until Christmas.  Yep, that’s right, 12.  I have no idea how I am going to finish all the handmade gifts I have planned, wrap everything, finish shopping for a few last-minute items, clean, and cook/bake in the time left until Christmas.  My anxiety level is at an all-time high.

Quick & Easy Handmade

Add to that, my birthday is tomorrow (41) and I don’t even have time to take the day off.  I really do not celebrate my birthday – we may go out to dinner, but that’s about it.  But this year I was going to go see a movie – Bad Mom’s Christmas.  I loved the first movie (I can relate with the characters) and have been looking forward to seeing the second one.  But, I am watching the first movie while I write this post 😊

We do not go to the movies often because they are way too expensive and we have hundreds of cable channels, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.  Why pay for a movie in the theater when we have so much available at home?  But, I like to go to the movies.  And, I like to go by myself.  When I go by myself, I can see a movie that I want to see and eat all the buttery popcorn I want without having to share.  I will get to see the movie, but it will probably not be while it is still in the theaters (and without the buttery popcorn).

Quick & Easy Handmade

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining.  One of my biggest pet peeves is reading “Woe is me” posts on Facebook.  I honestly do not follow Facebook as much as I used to because of that very reason.  I cannot complain because every project I have on my plate is one that I have given myself – no one is forcing me to make handmade gifts, bake cookies, or clean the entire house before our Christmas Eve party.  But, nonetheless, everything must get completed and therefore I am STRESSED.

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Are You Feeling the Christmas Stress, Too?

I know one of the biggest things that gets me stressed at holiday time is the last-minute stuff.  Things that you cannot do ahead of time – clean, cook, bake, etc.  For me, one of the worst last-minute things is realizing that you forgot to get someone a gift or getting a gift and not having a gift to give in return.

Well, I am here to the rescue!  No, I won’t be coming over to your house to cook and clean, but I can help with some last-minute gifts ideas.  For the last few weeks, I have been working on some quick and easy handmade gifts.  I have compiled a list of 15 projects that I have either seen on Pinterest or created myself.  But, I have made each one of the projects on this list and can attest that each one is a quick and easy handmade projects – and you won’t have to break the budget to make them, either.

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Sharpie Mug

My kids and I made a version of these mugs for last Mother’s Day.  This is a really easy project that you can make as simple or complex as you like.  It is even easy enough for the kids to make for grandparents, teachers, caregivers, etc.

Supplies:

  • Plain mug – white is best (I got mine at the Dollar Tree)
  • An image, word or quote sticker
  • Oil-based paint markers (I used Sharpies)

First of all, make sure your mug is clean and dry.  Then, attach your sticker.  You can design and cut your own on a cutting machine or use pre-made stickers.  Use your paint markers to draw dots (or scribbles, shapes, whatever your heart desires) around the stickers.  The key is to get close to the stickers so when you remove them you will be able to clearly see the word or shape.  That’s it.

Now, I have seen posts on Pinterest where people have baked the mugs to make them dishwasher safe.  I did not do that.  As long as you hand-wash carefully, the design should not fade. This is what I have done with the mugs we made on Mother’s Day and they are, for the most part, in tact.

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Candle Holder with Vinyl Saying

I found a really nice glass vessel at the Dollar Tree a while back and thought it would be perfect for a homemade candle.  I even tried to re-purpose an old candle to make a new candle in this glass.  Well, that was easier said than done.  Definitely a Pinterest FAIL!  So I cleaned it out and came up with a new plan.

Instead, I made a glass candle holder.  I cut “Sparkle, shimmer, shine” in vinyl on my Silhouette.  I even layered 2 colors of vinyl so I could use some silver for the “shimmer”.  At first I was intimidated to layer vinyl (I never did it before) but I used this tutorial from Expressions Vinyl.  It was SO easy! You really should try it.

I added a white pillar candle (also from Dollar Tree) and now have it on a shelf in my bathroom.  Who says all the gifts have to be for someone else?

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Photo or Quote Magnets

This is another quick and easy handmade project.

Supplies:

  • Wood circles (1-1/2″+)
  • Photo or quote printed on plain copy paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
  • Magnet

Measure your wood circle.  Then print a photo or quote a bit larger and cut it out.  Use Mod Podge to adhere the image to the wood (but you could probably use regular glue or even a glue stick).  Just make sure that the edges are firmly attached.  Since I cut my image larger than the circle, I used a sanding block (the one you use for fingernails) to smooth the edges around the circle.  Cover the image with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. Make sure to cover the entire image and to pop any bubbles.  Let it dry completely and then add a magnet on the back.  I made a few of these with both images and photos and they all turned out great.  (I just prefer not to post pictures of my family.)

Quick & Easy Handmade

Polaroid Photo Clothespin Magnets

I got the idea for these Polaroid Photo Clothespin Magnets from a post I saw on Pinterest.  The project I saw on the Sundae Sins blog was mounted and used as magnets alone.  If you want to see how this version is made, check it out here.

I had a somewhat different version in mind and I wanted it a little it more quick and easy handmade.  And, in the tutorial, she used Photoshop which I do not have.  So here is my version:

  1. Go to Canva.com and create a free account
  2. Click on “Use custom dimensions” in upper right hand corner
  3. Choose your dimensions (default is in pixels) – I used 4”x6”
  4. Add the Polaroid frame – search “polaroid” and choose one of the options (I used the free one with the landscape inside)
  5. Click on “Upload” on the bottom of the left sidebar and upload the photo you want to showcase
  6. Drag and drop the photo into the Polaroid frame – the photo will automatically resize to fit the frame
  7. Click on “Download” on top-right toolbar. You can choose to save it as a png or a jpeg
  8. Insert the graphic into the program you are using (I used Microsoft Publisher)
  9. If you want to make magnets like the ones I made, resize to 1-1/2” x 2”
  10. Print on heavy cardstock, cut, and glue to a clothespin
  11. Add a magnet to the back

Quick & Easy Handmade

Thieves Foaming Hand Soap

Throughout my life, I have had crappy immunity and have always gotten sick way too often.  Until a year ago.  Last August I started using an immunity blend of essential oils and I have had the healthiest year ever.  So, I decided this year to give the gift of health to some of the recipients on my gift list this year.

Thieves© from Young Living is a miracle blend that kills germs and helps boost immunity.  I use a blend of thieves on the bottom of my feet each night to boost my immunity.   And I also started using a soap with Thieves oil to kill germs and boost my immunity just a little bit more.  I found this recipe for DIY Thieves Foaming Hand Soap on Simply Being Mommy and made a bunch for quick & easy handmade gifts this year.

To make Thieves Foaming Hand Soap, you will need liquid castile soap, vitamin E oil, Thieves essential oil, filtered water, and a foaming soap dispenser.  For my gifts, I bought foaming soap at Dollar Tree and just used those dispensers.  You can buy foaming soap dispensers, but they can be pricey.  Since I made quite a few of these, I opted for the more frugal version.  But, if you are only going to make a few, I really recommend purchasing a foaming soap dispenser lid for a mason jar.  I got these a while ago for my mason jar dispensers in my kitchen and powder room.  They are fantastic!  I replaced the rusty metal ones I had and these are so much better.

Quick & Easy HandmadeFor the soap I am giving as gifts, I made labels for the front and back of the soap dispensers.  Since I think the legend of the Thieves© blend is fascinating, I added that to the back label and also a tip to shake the bottle if the soap settles.

Quick & Easy Handmade

Shower Melts

I make and use shower melts for 2 different reasons:  to boost my energy in my morning shower and to help with congestion when I have a cold.  And these are another quick and easy handmade gift.  The basic recipe for shower melts that I use comes from the One Essential Community blog.  This blog is great for anything related to essential oils and this post has a ton of different recipes for shower melts.

All you need to make shower melts is baking soda, distilled water, 25 drops of essential oil, and a silicone mold.  Head over to this One Essential Community post for the recipe and a how-to video.  If you cannot find a recipe you like from One Essential Community, try one of the 2 blends that I have created.

  • Good Morning Shower Melts – 12 drops peppermint essential oil & 13 drops lemon essential oil
  • Cold and Flu Shower Melts – 12 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 10 drops peppermint essential oil, & 3 drops lavender essential oil

And, if you are going to give these for a gift (and not just keep them for yourself), you will need a label for the jar and a tag with usage instructions.  So, here are some for the 2 blends that I use.Quick & Easy Handmade

Quick & Easy Handmade

Sugar Lip Scrub

Who does not get chapped lips in the winter?  No one!  Lip scrub is the perfect quick and easy handmade gift for everyone because it helps to slough off the dead skin and then soften the lips.  I saw a post with many different recipes for Sugar Lip Scrub on Lydia Out Loud. You can make one of her many recipes, but I just used her basic recipe and made my own flavors using essential oils.

For my lip scrubs, I used ½ Tablespoon Fractionated Coconut Oil, ½ Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 drops essential oil.  I also added a few drops of food coloring make it prettier.  However, beware when using food coloring – a little goes a long way!  I did not intend for my lip scrub to be such a dark green, but I was a little heavy-handed with the bottle.  I had a few of containers around the house for my lip scrub, but I have seen small containers that would be perfect at both Dollar Tree and Five Below.

Here are a few recipes for Sugar Lip Scrubs with essential oils:

  • Peppermint – 2 drops Peppermint
  • Citrus Bliss – 2 drops Young Living Citrus Bliss or 1 drop Orange and 1 drop Lemon
  • Coconut Lime – 1 drop coconut extract and 1 drop lime essential oil
  • Lemon Ginger – 1 drop lemon essential oil and 1 drop ginger essential oil

And of course, what is a quick and easy handmade gift without a cute label?

Quick & Easy Handmade

 

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Fabric Bookmarks

Who doesn’t need a bookmark? Just a few fabric scraps, interfacing, and ribbon and you have a quick and easy handmade gift for the book lover in your life.  To make these bookmarks, I used this tutorial I found on 7 Layer Studio. Enough said!

Quick & Easy Handmade

Super Kid Cape

A few months ago, I made a super easy cape for my nephew’s birthday.  I used this free pattern and tutorial from Create Kids Couture.  I mean, what kid doesn’t want to be a superhero?

You only need about a yard of fabric and either snaps or Velcro.  But I wanted to personalize my nephew’s cape, so I created a stencil and painted “Super Tommy” on his. Since you probably don’t have a Tommy who needs a cape, I just changed the stencil to “Super Kid”.  Download it here: Super Kid

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Sunglasses Case

Since I wear glasses, I need to be extra careful with my prescription sunglasses.  A handmade sunglasses case is perfect for anyone who wears glasses or sunglasses.  I have made several cases for my sunglasses but this tutorial from Crazy Little Projects is super easy.  I used some coordinating fabric scraps and it only took me maybe 15 minutes to make one.  I even added an antique button to mine for a little pizzazz.

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Handwarmers

Cold weather is here and everybody’s hands get cold in the winter.  Hand-warmers make a great gift for anyone who spends time outdoors – even if it is just a quick walk to the bus stop.  Just pop these in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’ll have warm and toasty hands.

If you have four 3-1/2” squares of cotton fabric and 6 tablespoons of rice, you can quickly make 1 pair of hand-warmers.  I used this tutorial from This Grandma is Fun to make a few for all of our stockings this year.  Mine will be the ones with the hearts!  They will be perfect for long, freezing cold afternoons at the skate park.

Quick & Easy Handmade

Stuffed Dog Bone Toy

Of course, we cannot forget {wo}man’s best friend.  I always make Gunner some homemade treats and get him a cool toy for Christmas.  But this year, I also decided to make him a stuffed dog bone toy.  He has this old, dirty bone-shaped toy that I bought him when we first brought him home.  It has no stuffing left but he still carries it around anyway.  I find it covered in dirt and dog hair every time I move the furniture to vacuum, but I never have the heart to throw it out.  So, I figured if I make him a new one, maybe I can chuck that gross old one.

I made a pattern and used some denim fabric I had leftover from a previous project (I used about 1 pant leg of a pair of jeans).  Since Gunner is a pretty big dog, I made his toy about 11” long, but you can resize the pattern to whatever size suits your dog.

Quick & Easy Handmade

  1. Cut 2 pattern pieces (on the outer line of the pattern) from your fabric
  2. Pin the fabric pieces, right sides together, and sew a ¼” seam around the edges leaving a 2” opening for turning
  3. Cut notches around the curves
  4. Turn right-side out – poke out and smooth all curves
  5. Stuff with Polyfil
  6. Stitch the opening closed

 

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Money in a Jar

Every year, we tip the wonderful men who take our garbage (they always put our cans back where they belong).  But I hate just putting money in an envelope.  So I searched Pinterest for different ways to make giving money a little more interesting.  I found tons of ways to fold money and other creative ideas.  My favorite idea was hiding money in a jar of M&M’s.  But, of course, I did not have any M&M’s.  So, I filled a jar with some peppermints, made a cylinder with a piece of cardstock, and placed a bill inside.  I hope our garbage men appreciate the little extra effort as much as we appreciate theirs!

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Hot Cocoa on a Stick

Now this is an awesome idea as well as a quick and easy handmade gift – Hot Cocoa on a Stick.  Simple yet yummy.  I found the idea and tutorial for Hot Cocoa on a Stick at Thirty Handmade Days.

All you need is 2 cups of chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon of extract (I used mint), a silicone mold, and disposable spoons.  (In the tutorial, she used wooden spoons, but I really did not want to spend the money for a bunch of spoons when I only needed a few.  So, I used some heavy-duty plastic ones and they worked just as well.) I wanted to use a Christmas shape mold but the one I ordered has not arrived yet.  So, I used the cube silicone mold that I use for ice.  Since my cubes were on the larger side (about 1 ounce each) I was only able to make about 10.  Since I made peppermint cocoa, I crushed up some candy canes and added them on top of the melted chocolate.  When I packaged them, I also added some mini marshmallows because who can drink hot cocoa without marshmallows? Not me!

Quick & Easy Handmade

I also made a label for my Hot Cocoa on a Stick and used my Stampin’ Up! tag punches.

 

Quick & Easy Handmade

Ritz Cracker Snacks

Instead of making super-complicated cookies and candies, I like to make some quick and easy handmade snacks with Ritz Crackers.  When I saw the limited-edition snowflake Ritz crackers at the grocery store last week, I knew I had to make some Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers.  I found this recipe on the Cakes Cottage blog a while ago and have been making them on a regular basis.

To make Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers, you “bake” a Rolo on a Ritz cracker at 350 for 3-5 minutes.  When the Rolos are melted just enough (I bake for 3 minutes), you smush (is that a word?) the melted Rolo with the other cracker to make a sandwich.  But, instead of following the recipe from Cakes Cottage and just making 10, I buy a bag of the unwrapped Rolos and make the entire bag (there are approximately 35 in a bag). They are so good!  And they look super cute with the snowflake Ritz crackers.

Since my family loves peanut butter, I also wanted to make some peanut butter cracker sandwiches as well.  But, it is Christmas, so I dipped them in chocolate and added some Christmas themed sprinkles.  The chocolate adds just enough sweetness to make them oh, so good.  To make these, sandwich 2 crackers with peanut butter.  Then, melt some chocolate chips, dip 1 side of the sandwich in the chocolate, and then sprinkle with the candy sprinkles.

Well, that about does it.  15 quick and easy handmade gifts for Christmas.  Do you have any quick and easy handmade projects that you will be making for Christmas this year?  I can always use more ideas to keep in my last-minute gift arsenal!  Leave a comment below to let me know what you will be making in those precious last-minute moments before Christmas day.

Make some quick and easy handmade gifts to Add a Little Shimmer to your life today.

Nicole Warren-Missimer

And – If you like what you are reading on Adding Shimmer to Life, take a minute to subscribe to my blog via email (below). As a subscriber, you will get an email when I post, add a page, or share content just for email subscribers (coming soon). I also appreciate you sharing Adding Shimmer to Life with other people who may enjoy my content.  Or, if you like Facebook and Pinterest you can follow me there, too.

Add a Little Shimmer to your life - Subscribe today!

 

Nicole Warren-Missimer

Adding Shimmer to Life: A DIY lifestyle blog helping you add some shimmer to your everyday life.

www.addingshimmertolife.com

addingshimmertolife@outlook.com

 

All contents – text and images – belong to Nicole Warren-Missimer of Adding Shimmer to Life (unless otherwise noted).

Copyright 2017 Adding Shimmer to Life

 

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Chalkboard Memo Board An easy project for only $2!

What’s inside:  Need a way to remind your kids, your partner, or even yourself of something important?  I always do.  So I created this Chalkboard Memo Board and it only cost me $2.  Yep, you read that right –just $2.  You can make this as simple or as complex as you want (I’ll show you a few ideas for both). I plan to use this board to remind my kiddos of important school things in the morning, but I am sure I will use it in many other ways as well!

What is Our World Coming To?

When I came downstairs on Monday morning, I made my coffee, sat in my chair, and turned on the television.  This is my normal morning routine – I spend about a half-an-hour to drink my coffee, get caught up with the news on the Today Show, and wake up my brain before I wake up the boys.

But this morning was different.  The first thing I saw on the television was the headline for the special edition “Mass Shooting in Texas Church”. And I thought, as I have many times in the past few months, “What is this world coming to?”

Just over a month ago, the special edition of the Today Show was “Las Vegas Massacre” – How many of these special editions will there be?  I constantly worry about the state of our world and humanity in general.

Mental Health Issues on My Mind

After reading a few news articles about both shootings, I notice yet again an all too prevalent commonality.  This common thread – both of the perpetrators of these horrific massacres had a history of mental health issues.

Now I have written before about my own struggles with mental health, so this fact hits me especially hard.  Although my history with depression and anxiety has been a true struggle, I have been extremely lucky to have a strong support system, access to excellent medical treatment, good insurance coverage, and the ability to pay for medical treatment and necessary medications.

Without these factors my story would be much different.

But my case is the exception to the rule.

The State of Mental Health in America in 2017

According to Mental Health America,1 in 5 adults – over 40 million Americans – have a mental health condition.  Although in 2017 more Americans have had access to mental health services, most still do not.  In fact, 56% of Americans with a mental illness did not receive care.

A Correlation between Access to Care and Incarceration

In addition, there is a strong correlation between untreated mental health issues and incarceration.  For example, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama have the least access to care and the highest rates of imprisonment.  In these 3 states alone, there are over 57,000 people with mental health conditions incarcerated.

Mental Health Illnesses are Diseases

The shortage in access to services for Americans with mental health issues is a serious problem.  And I personally believe that the lack of understanding of mental health in general is one of the main causes.  Many people still believe that people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and other mental health illnesses are not sick but weak.  “Just get over it” is a common statement to people suffering with mental health illnesses.  But all mental health illnesses are DISEASES.  Just like diabetes and cancer.  And they must be given the same attention.

My History with Mental Illness

I have many reasons for starting Adding Shimmer to Life.  The first reason is very selfish – I need an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings.  But, I also hope to help people –especially people suffering with mental health issues – while sharing my story.  For many years, I hid my disease because I believed that I was weak and I was ashamed of my condition.  It should not be this way – for anyone.

If these 2 sick men who killed and wounded so many innocent people had been successfully treated for their mental health issues, would they have committed these deeds?  Unfortunately, we will never know.  However, I believe we can prevent future tragedies by treating mental health conditions as the diseases that they are and therefore give appropriate help for the people who suffer from them.

My Mission

I believe if we educate more people about mental health concerns more people will seek treatment. With a greater understanding, eventually and hopefully, the increasing trend of tragedies like the 2 we just witnessed will begin to decrease.

It all begins with awareness.  At the moment, I am just 1 person with a little blog and only a few followers (so far).  But in light of the current situation, I feel compelled to do something however small it may be.  Consequently, in each blog post I write I will include at least 1 statistic, fact, story, etc. related to mental health concerns.  I do this in hopes that I can reach at least 1 person and maybe help change someone’s life.  I also hope that you will continue creating awareness by sharing my blog or Facebook page.

Do you have a cause that hits home for you, too?  Tell me about it!  I love helping people and will use my little blog to help raise awareness for any good cause.

Let’s Get to It

Now, I will jump down from my soapbox and get back to the real reason you are reading my blog – a $2 Chalkboard Memo Board.  Again, I really do not feel right touting this as a tutorial because this is such a super simple project.

Chalkboard Memo Board

I was inspired to do this project when I saw a mini chalkboard easel used as a table number at a wedding.  There are so many ways that you can put together a Chalkboard Memo Board and I will give you a few ideas.

Supplies

As usual, I started this project by picking up a few supplies – and I do mean a few.

Chalkboard Memo Board supplies

I found a rectangular chalkboard at Dollar Tree and a giant wooden clothespin at AC Moore. That’s it – $1 for the chalkboard and $1 for the giant clothespin. And you can leave it like it is – no embellishments, no painting, no nothing – and you have a great Chalkboard Memo Board.

No Muss, No Fuss Chalkboard Memo Board

Chalkboard Memo Board

But I cannot resist adding a little shimmer to a project – and who doesn’t want to add a little shimmer to life – so you can spice it up.

Add Some Color

I wanted to add a little color so I painted my giant clothespin bright red.  I also added a “Don’t Forget” vinyl sticker that I cut on my Silhouette Cameo.

Chalkboard Memo Board

Add a Border and a Title

On the other side of the rectangular chalkboard, I cut a white border and a red “Don’t Forget” vinyl sticker on my Silhouette Cameo.

Chalkboard Memo Board

Or, Make a Different Shape

If you want a different shape or cannot find a $1 chalkboard, you can pick up just about any shape piece of wood and then paint it with chalkboard paint.  This way does take a little bit more time and effort.

On that same trip to AC Moore I also picked up a 6” wooden circle (also $1) and some chalkboard paint ($1.99 – but I used a 50% off coupon).  I painted both sides of the circle with the chalkboard paint.  However, when painting, make sure to use at least 2 coats and then let it cure for 24 hours before using it as a chalkboard.

And, since I can never leave anything plain, I added a border and message with some paint markers.  You can see from this picture why I tend to use my Silhouette Cameo for any text!  This attempt is rather pitiful, but I just wanted to give you another idea of what you can do with this project.

Chalkboard Memo Board

The Possibilities are Endless!

This project is full of endless possibilities – I have a feeling I am just getting started.  If you make a Chalkboard Memo Board, send me a picture in the comments below.  Maybe you can give me an idea for my next one!

Make a Chalkboard Memo Board and Add a Little Shimmer to your life today.

Nicole Warren-Missimer

And – If you like what you are reading on Adding Shimmer to Life, take a minute to subscribe to my blog via email (below). As a subscriber, you will get an email when I post, add a page, or share content just for email subscribers (coming soon). I also appreciate you sharing Adding Shimmer to Life with other people who may enjoy my content.  Or, if you like Facebook and Pinterest you can follow me there, too.

Add a Little Shimmer to your life - Subscribe today!

 

Nicole Warren-Missimer

Adding Shimmer to Life: A DIY lifestyle blog helping you add some shimmer to your everyday life.

www.addingshimmertolife.com

addingshimmertolife@outlook.com

 

All content – text and images belong to Nicole Warren-Missimer of Adding Shimmer to Life.

©2017 Adding Shimmer to Life

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Felt Leaf Fall Wreath Tutorial My first tutorial!

Wow, so many horrible things have been happening in the world today:  first there was Hurricane Harvey, then Hurricane Irma, now an earthquake in Mexico.  Not to mention recent terrorist attacks abroad.  What is our world coming to?  If anyone reading this has been affected by any of these events or any other tragedies lately, I am thinking about and praying for you.

Personally, I have been stressing lately.  Not only do I worry about the horrible events happening in the world today, I also worry way too much about things in my life that I cannot control.  Add to that the extreme amount of pressure I put on myself and I end up with – you guessed it – STRESS!  Since stress in my life leads to migraines, I have been fighting one all week.  Do stress and worry play a too-big part in your life, too? Let me know about it and how you combat their effects in the comment section.

So this week, let’s focus on the positive side of life and make something pretty today.

Since Friday is the first day of fall, I decided that I needed a new wreath for my front door.  I wanted to do something a little different from traditional leaves, so I choose felt for the leaves. Felt is so versatile – don’t you think? It’s not just for kids’ crafts anymore.  I think my wreath turned out really well and I hope you like it, too.

If you want to make your own Felt Leaf Fall Wreath, follow the steps below.  DISCLAIMER:  This is my first tutorial and the first time posting photos of this type.  I tried my best, but I am sure there are at least a few mistakes and some of the pictures are not the best. But, if you see any mistakes, are unclear about any steps, or think something is missing or needs to be clarified, PLEASE let me know!!!

Now, let’s get going!

First, you will need to gather your materials.  These are the materials I used but you can change it up any way you want.  For this project I used:

  • 18” Straw Wreath (it can be straw like mine, grapevine, even a pool noodle wrapped in burlap)
  • 4 pieces of felt – each a different fall color
  • 2 skeins brown embroidery floss
  • 2 bundles of Fall Berries (I got mine at Dollar Tree)
  • Burlap (I had some scraps, but about 1/8 yard should do)
  • Acrylic paint (I used a dark red)
  • Twine
  • PolyFil
  • Wire (thin jewelry wire or floral wire will do)
  • Leaf & banner templates (downloads below)
  • Freezer paper
  • Glue gun
  • Peltex 71F Ultra Firm Fusible Interfacing (optional)

You can use any leaf and banner pattern you want or you can use my template.  Some of the images I used to create these templates came from this pin I found on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/151292868712059794/. However, when I went to visit the link, http://www1.craftitbakeit.com/?kw=bread%20makers, it was gone. If any of these images are yours, please let me know so I can give you credit!

Click the link below each template to download.

Leaf template

Leaf template2

CUT THE LEAVES

You can cut out the felt pieces one of two ways:  1) print the template on cardstock and trace with a sharpie or 2) print the template on printer paper and pin to the felt.  Either way will do.  For this project, I printed on cardstock and traced the pattern with a sharpie.  If you use the tracing method, trace one leaf right-side-up and then one right-side-down.  This way, the trace marks will be on the inside when you put the leaves together.  Either way, draw the veins on 1 leaf of each pair, on the inside, to stitch later.   I cut 2 pairs of each of the large leaves.  For the smaller leaves, I ironed Peltex 71F Ultra Firm fusible interfacing to the back of the felt and then cut out the leaves; I wanted these leaves to be sturdier.

STITCH THE FELT LEAVES

I wanted to create some texture by stitching the veins on the leaves.  This, of course, is your choice.  You can use a Sharpie or a fabric marker and draw the veins (I could have stitched the veins on the smaller leaves as well, but I wanted to save some time and just used a brown Sharpie).  To stitch the veins, I used the brown embroidery floss and a backstitch.  Since I did not want to see the trace marks on the final product, I drew the veins on the back.  At first it was difficult to get the stitches right, but eventually it worked.

After I had stitched all of the veins on half of the leaves, I matched the pairs and used a blanket stitch around the edges to join them together.  I stitched around the leaf, left about a 1” opening, stuffed with Polyfil, and then finished stitching.

In case you do not know embroidery stitches, you can learn them easily from many tutorials on the internet.  My favorite embroidery tutorials are from Anne at Pumora.   She has a huge glossary of stitches and many really good tutorials. At Pumora you will find a tutorial for backstitch and just about any stitch you can imagine.  I have gone to this site numerous times when I forget how to do a specific stitch or I am looking for a fun new stitch.

If you need help with the blanket stitch on the edge of the leaves, I like the tutorial at Holiday Crafts and Creations. Kelli and her mom Greta share some really neat projects; I am already thinking about their Thankful Felt Garland.

PAINT AUTUMN ON THE BANNER

Now that you have the leaves ready, it is time to make and assemble the banner.  I wanted my banner to read AUTUMN.  I do not have a steady hand and I do not paint or write nice-looking freehand letters so, I made a stencil. Because my drawing skills are minimal at best, I use stencils, patterns, and templates a lot.  Nevertheless, if you have a steady hand and can paint or write letters well, go ahead and just paint AUTUMN on your banner pieces – You will save yourself a bunch of time.

For this project, I decided to make a Freezer Paper stencil.  You can make a Freezer Paper stencil two different ways.  1) You can print the letters directly on the non-shiny side of the Freezer Paper and cut them out using an Xacto knife or 2) use a cutting machine.   Since I have a Silhouette Cameo (a relatively old one) and wanted to save some time I used this method.  To make the stencil, I started by opening trusty Microsoft Publisher (my go-to for this type of work).  I created the letters in Publisher and saved the file as a JPEG (the image is below).  Next I went to my Cameo.  But, this is the first time I have used my Cameo in a while so it was covered in about an inch of dust.  So, after I could see the machine and found the cutting mat, I opened Silhouette Studio and got to work.  I attached my Freezer Paper to my cutting mat, shiny side down, let the Silhouette do its work, and then cut out each individual letter stencil.

The JPEG is below and you can use it to make your own cut file.  Or, if you do not have a cutting machine, you can print it on Freezer Paper then cut it with an Xacto knife.  Any method will work.

CREATE THE BANNER

Now that you have your AUTUMN stencils made, you need to put them on something.  Cut out the banner template and trace six onto the burlap.  After you have them traced, cut them out – but be careful to cut inside of the tracing lines so you do not see the lines on the finished product.

Okay, now you have your stencil and your mini banner pieces.  Center the letter on the banner piece and iron the stencil to attach it to the burlap.  Your iron does not have to be at the highest setting – start lower and add heat if needed.  Make sure all parts of the stencil are adhered to the burlap – let cool.

After the stencils are attached, you are going to paint the burlap.  Make sure you have something under the burlap because the paint will soak through.  I have a variety of Dollar Store placements that I use for painting, gluing, etc.  Also, when stenciling on fabric I prefer to use a brush as opposed to a sponge dauber because fabric really soaks up the paint.  So, I paint carefully and make sure that the entire open area is covered with paint.  Paint all of the banner pieces and only remove the stencil when the paint is dry.

Once the banner pieces are dry, I applied some Fray check to the edges.  Yes, I wanted the frayed look of burlap but I did not want my little banner fraying to pieces.  So, I applied some Fray Check to the spots that were really fraying.  Of course, you can skip this step.

Okay, you have now spent what seems like forever on this teeny, tiny banner.  But now it is time to put it together.  This is really easy.  Cut your twine about 24” (it is better to have too much than too little) and center your banner pieces on it;  I placed mine about ½” apart.  Then, use your glue gun to put a small line of glue on the twine and place each banner piece on the glue.  Now, I have a habit of burning my fingers whenever I use my hot glue gun.  So not too long ago (yes, I burned my fingers for many, many years before seeking a solution) I purchased some finger protectors.  The finger protectors I got at Joann (with one of my 40% off coupons, of course) are non-stick silicone so you can press the fabric to the glue, not burn your fingers, and then peel them off easily.  I’m still burning my fingers, but not as much.

MAKE BURLAP ROSETTES

We only have one more part to make before assembling the wreath.  I decided that I did not want a bow on this wreath – all of my wreaths have bows and again I wanted something different.  But, my vision of the layout had a blank spot.  So, I thought I would make some burlap rosettes to fill in the gap.  As usual, I searched “Fabric Rosettes” on Pinterest and found a ton of tutorials.  Craftaholics Anonymous always has great tutorials so I clicked on the How to Make Burlap Flowers Tutorial.  For my rosettes, I cut 3 strips of burlap in widths from 1-1/2” to 2” or so (I was not precise at all) and 24” in length (that’s all I had) and followed Linda’s steps in the tutorial.  Easy, peasy.

ASSEMBLE THE WREATH

To assemble the wreath, I arranged my leaves and rosettes on the bottom center of the wreath.  I used some pins to hold some of the leaves in place until I liked the arrangement.

To attach the stuffed felt leaves, I threaded some thin wire (mine was 24 gauge, but even floral wire will do – this is just what I had) through the back of the leaf and twisted it around the wreath.  I only twisted the wire together a few times; I did not want it too tight because I wanted to be able to adjust them later.

Now, when I originally arranged my leaves, I forgot about the berries.  So before I attached the smaller leaves, I added the berries.  I cut 4-5 of the berry stems with wire cutters and placed them where I wanted them.

After placing the berries, I added only a few of the smaller leaves (remember, having more is better than not having enough).  Once I had everything where I wanted it, I hot glued everything to the wreath to make sure it was secure.

ATTACH THE BANNER

To attach the banner, I centered the letters but offset it so it would hang at an angle.  I just used a little hot glue at the ends to attach it to the wreath.  Then, to give it a more finished look, I tied two twine bows and hot glued them over the raw edges.

CLEAN IT UP

Once everything was secure on the front, I turned my wreath over and cleaned up the back.  I made my wires tighter and cut the tails.  Also, I made a loop out of wire (nothing fancy) and attached it to the top of the back to use as the hanger.

HANG IT UP AND ADMIRE YOUR WORK!

Finally, it has all come together.  Hang your wreath wherever you want it – on the front door, over the mantle, even on the bathroom door – hang it wherever it will make you happy. And lastly, admire your work.  You made something pretty today.

The Final Product

Thanks for reading my tutorial and I hope you were able to make a pretty wreath, too.  If you are interested in other tutorials like this one, stay tuned; I have many planned for the future.  Take a minute to subscribe to my email list to get all posts as soon as they are available.

Don’t forget to make something pretty today!

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