Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Plastic Canvas Christmas Ornament

My 2 year old (almost 2 and a half) has been trying to help me sew. He keeps crawling up into my lap while I am using the sewing machine. The only way to get any of my work done was to provide him with a task. As I was thinking back to what my Mom might have done when I was little I remembered plastic canvas. It comes in many colors and sizes and can be found in most craft or sewing stores near the yarn. The fabric store I went to had pre cut out shapes with a clean edge. However if you want to make more than one it is a lot cheaper to buy a sheet.

Plastic Canvas $0.59
Green Yarn (7 foot) $2.99
Brown Yarn (3 foot)
Plastic Needle $1.99 ( I bought children's needles in the needle section. They do sell plastic canvas needles next to the plastic canvas but I thought the one I picked looked nicer. It came in a 2 pack and was the most expensive option.)
Note: While this needle is not sharp it is still firm and pointy and you could still stab yourself in the eye. Don't pull the needle through the canvas toward your face. Don't let your kid stab their eye!

 Cut out your tree. Mine is about 6" tall and 4" wide. It is not symmetrical because I am lazy and didn't bother to measure. But I figure it's OK because real trees are rarely symmetrical anyway. Save canvas by alternating which end is up when cutting out multiple trees.
 I like to trim off any bumps on the canvas before I start. Do this on the bottom strait side only. I'll show you later how to handle the angled sides while sewing. I have about 7 foot length of green yarn.
 I like to start to the left of the trunk leaving about 3/4" yarn and looking the yarn around it. This way you don't have to tie a knot. You can tie a knot if you want but then there will be a bump. When you reach the corner do two stitches in the same hole. One wrapped to the bottom and another wrapped to the side. It just gives it a cleaner look.
 When you reach a hole in the canvas that is partially cut just skip it and sew one square farther into the tree. This will give your tree a nice tapered look.
 At the top leave a loop before continuing down the other side. This will be to hang your ornament. Don't worry if you forget you can just tie a loop on later. I like to do three stiches in the top hole.
 Now that you have reached the trunk just continue strait across to where you started. No need to cut the yarn when you are done.
 Not if your child is like my 2 year old they have been eagerly waiting for their turn to play with the needle. I think it helps if they watch you do the border instead of preparing it while they are napping.
 I held the tree and told his to pick a hole to push the needle through. I made sure to have him push the needle away from his face. We are a family who would like to keep our eyes. :) After pulling all the yarn through I would turn the tree over and repeat from the other side. That way the yarn doesn't wrap around the outside.
 The far left tree is the finished product. With some brown yarn I filled in the trunk after my son was done sewing.

1. An older child could fill in the entire tree just like the trunk.
2. I bought red yarn with the intention of using it for garland or ornaments. I wasn't sure how to make that look good so I skipped it.
3. Add small bells or pony beads for ornaments while stringing the yarn all over the tree.

It's a great way to introduce a young child to sewing.

Guest author,
Jessica Baker

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