I have a 2 1/2 year old girl and a 1 1/2 year old boy. Olivia, my little girl, likes everything to be in it's place (my OCD librarian tendencies for sure). Lucas, my little boy just likes to destroy things. I knew our little boy would love to destroy our real Christmas tree. I knew that if I had another, or even two, Christmas trees that could handle his destruction maybe he would not destroy our real tree as much. Maybe. Plus, then my 2 1/2 year old can have a tree she can protect and keep it in the way she prefers.
Those thoughts led me to the fast and easy Felt Christmas Tree construction one afternoon. Seriously, this tree is fast (less than 30 minutes), no sewing is required, a hot gun can be used if you want to go "all out," and it can all be made for less than $10 (and that is only if you live in an expensive location, otherwise you are looking closer to $5 if that). Plus with JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby coupons you are looking at a super cheap craft and educational toy.
What you will need:
- 1/2 yard of green felt (this is your tree).
- felt of as many colors as you desire (they sell small 8x10 sheets of felt for about a quarter, but I just used scraps on hand)
- hot glue and glue gun if you are getting fancy
- cookie cutters for templates or other objects to trace though you can free hand it if you are skilled and gifted that way
- blue sewing pen (that washes off) or a marker of any kind b/c it's felt and not that fancy, plus this will be for your kids to play with so it doesn't matter how perfect it is (at least that is my motto)
- masking or painters tape
- 1 clean vegetable brush or other stiff brush (optional, not necessary)
First, lay out your felt and draw or just free cut a Christmas tree. As you can see from my beautiful tree it lacks symmetry and it is far from the professional look, but yet again my kids love me the same. Plus, a little imperfection gives this tree/craft the "homemade" look.
Second, brush your felt tree with a vegetable or bristle brush. You don't have to do this, but brushing it pulls the felt fibers up a bit and allows the felt to stick to each other a bit better.
Third, hang your tree up where ever your heart desires using tape. I am sure you could get fancy and use command strips, but painters tape is cheap and reusable and works wonderful. I found that I went a little heavy on the tape, but I figured too much tape was better than too little.
Fourth, cut out the ornaments you would like. I used cookie cutters as my templates to draw on the felt before cutting them out.
Fifth, use a glue gun to embellish your ornaments as much as you'd like. Be careful to not go over board embellishing your ornaments b/c if you make them too heavy they will have a difficult time sticking.
Sixth, brush your ornaments just to help them stick. Yet again, if you don't have a brush you'll be fine. It's just an added benefit.
Seventh, let your kids put up the "ornaments." You are done, and their fun begins!
I actually made two trees. Initially I had thought each kid could have a tree in their room, which still may happen in the coming years. However, for now I have one tree in the upstairs play area and one tree downstairs. The upstairs tree is loaded with letters. I love having the letters as ornaments b/c we can have learning/teaching moments as we practice our letters. O is the favorite letter as of lately for my daughter Olivia... so surprising huh?
The downstairs tree we cut out any and all shapes the kids wanted and in the colors they wanted. My little girl insisted on the pink dinosaur and the pink truck while my son was all about the snowman and plane. I made sure to throw in the shapes and various colors so we can practice our shapes and colors for more of those teaching/learning moments.
Bummer for my kids to have a mom that was a teacher and a librarian. I'm always trying to find ways to teach them in fun ways. This felt Christmas tree fits the bill for the kids and me this Holiday season.