Yes, I know, it’s a long title. I promise it’s worth it thought As always, all tutorials are for personal and/or gifting purposes only. Please let me know if there are any typos, questions, mistakes…I wrote this up pretty quickly and last minute since I was surprised the idea in my head was actually WORKING.
PDF version available here.
- Various sized bowls/plates/jars (you can also cut paper patterns if you’d like)
- Green Felt (or fabric)
- Brown Felt (or fabric)
- Sew on Velcro (I used 1” wide Velcro—a 2” wide Velcro will work better)
- Light stuffing (like polyester)
- Heavy stuffing (like rice)
- Sharpie pen (or fabric marking device)
Part 1: Make the Layers (Note: It helps to work from the bottom (biggest) layer up)
Step 1: Position pattern
Fold your felt in half (or take two pieces—we just want a double layer). Take plate/bowl of desired size make an imprint in the felt (this works best on carpet). Make sure there is enough felt surrounding your imprint to create your tree spikes (1.5-3 inches space depending on your piece). If you don’t like the placement, smooth out the felt and re-press.
Tip: If you are using fabric, make sure you fold the piece right sides together.
Step 2: Draw out piece
Trace circular imprint with sharpie pen (doesn’t have to be perfect). Draw around the circle soft spikes to create the pointy bits of the tree. I usually had at least 5 points. If necessary, redraw as needed to space the points so that they’re aesthetically pleasing to your eye. Don’t worry if your drawing looks ugly (like mine).
Step 3: Cut and mark
Cut out your pieces around the pointy lines you’ve just drawn. Make sure you cut through both layers of felt (you need 2 pieces). Before you separate the pieces, write a W in the center of the top piece (the piece with all our ugly sharpie marks). Holding both pieces as if they are one, flip your cutout over. Draw a W in the center of this piece as well. These Ws mark the wrong side.
Step 4: Decorate (optional)
This is your chance give your tree that oomph it needs. I took this chance to practice my free motion quilting (well, minus the batting and backing). I quilted one of the pieces with some contrasting brighter green thread. This quilted piece became the top piece of each layer. Be creative!
Step 5: Sew on Velcro
Cut a piece 2” length of Velcro (both the scratchy and soft side). Take the scratchy side and center it on the right side (the side without the Ws we drew in step 3) of the top piece. Sew around the Velcro twice for extra strength. Similarly, take the soft side and sew it to the bottom piece.
Tip: Your top (final) piece will not need the scratchy Velcro piece in Step 5. Save this scratchy piece for your base in Step 9.
One more comment: You may want to cut a bigger piece of Velcro to help keep your tree less wobbly (especially if your base starts out bigger than mine). As long as the Velcro can be hidden by your next piece, it’s fine. For simplicity, keep all Velcro pieces the same size. If you choose to vary the sizes, sew the scratchy side to the top piece of your current layer. Sew the soft side to the bottom piece of your next smaller layer.
Step 6: Pin and Sew layers together
With right sides together (Ws facing out!), Velcro and pin your pieces. With a 3/8” seam sew the pieces together, backstitching at each end, and leaving a gap for stuffing. Flip right side out and use a pointing tool to get your points looking pretty.
Tip: The best place for the gap is along one of the sides of the longest spike.
Tip: You can use a 1/2” seam if you prefer. Felt is very forgiving so don’t worry too much if you’re slightly off while sewing the curves.
Step 7: Finish
Stuff well. It helps to stuff the spikes first. Sew opening closed using an invisible stitch (like the ones used for sewing pillows closed).
Repeat Steps 1-7 for each layer of the tree. The variation in bowl size will vary depending on your spikes, but you probably want the base circle to decrease about 1-2 inches for each layer. You can stack each layer as you finish and determine if you want to add an additional layer or if you need to add one between two layers. You do not need to finish the top piece with a tip since you can always top it off with a pretty bow or star.
Part 2: Make the Base
Tip: My instructions here are pretty brief and I didn’t document any photos. For a similar cube, check out this tutorial. Just make sure your top and bottom use the 5×5” pieces.
Step 8: Cut pieces
2 5×5” pieces of brown felt (these are the top and bottom piece of the base)
4 5×4” pieces of brown felt (these are the side pieces of the base).
Step 9: Sew on Velcro
On one of the 5×5 pieces, center and sew on the piece of scratchy Velcro you set aside earlier in Step 5 when making your top layer. Sew around the piece twice for extra strength. This piece is the top piece of your base. The remaining 5×5 piece is the bottom piece of your base.
Step 10: Assemble Base
Take the bottom piece of the base. Take a side piece and pin right sides together to the bottom piece. Starting 1/2” from the edge, sew along the side with a 1/2” seam, stopping 1/2” before the end.
Make sure to back stitch at each end. Repeat for the other 4 sides. Sew the 4 sides together.
Take the top piece (the one w/ the Velcro) and sew 3 of the 4 sides in a similar fashion (start and stop 1/2” from the end). Flip base right side out and use pointing tool to with the corners.
Tip: On the final side, starting 1/2” from the end, sew about an inch (don’t forget to backstitch). Repeat from the other end. This leaves a gap for stuffing, but also helps you create your corners.
Step 11: Fill and Close
Fill the base with rice (or other heavy stuffing like beans). Sew the opening close using your favorite invisible closure stitch. I used contrasting thread for mine and purposely had it the closing stitches exposed since I’m expected to return the rice (there’s 5-6 rice-cooker cups in there) to my rice stash after the holidays.
Step 12: Stack and Fiddle
Stack your pieces together, rotating until you like the way each layer looks. Top with a bow (mine’s from a bow demo I made at the Container Store) and enjoy!