Saturday, December 7, 2013

Felt Christmas Tree with Gift Bag "Pockets"

Christmas is right around the corner and this momma is happy to FINALLY be done with classes for the semester! My last paper really kicked my butt and kept me away from the blog for longer than I expected. But it's over now and I am here and ready to serve you! 

I've been busy (between finals and papers) thinking up and working on a few fun ideas for the kiddies and I am maybe a little bit TOO excited to share with you our latest creation! 

Ok Ok, I know it isn't anything new. Felt trees are very popular and so much fun to look at don't you think? I knew I just had to try my hand at one for the kids to play with. I didn't take pictures every step of the way but it's pretty easy to figure out. Here's what I did...   

First of all, gather all materials! I was originally torn between the dark green and a brighter green felt in the store. I REALLY wanted the brighter green. Then I thought to myself: "CHECK REMNANTS!" I found a piece of felt just a few inches shorter than the 1 yard I needed. It was the dark green BUT it was 50% of the already discounted price. Oh well, Christmas trees are dark green anyway right? I also found a fun christmas themed piece of flannel that I knew I could do something with. I took one final trip around the store and I came across a felt star. It was perfect for what I needed it for and only a dollar! Can't go wrong! My total was $4.08! 

I already had plenty of sheets of different colored felt, and a glue gun. I did however, purchase some glitter glue pens at Dollar Tree and extra glue sticks for my glue gun. 

At home, I began drawing out shapes on the felt with a sharpie. I've seen this post before about an easy way to cut felt. It's genius really, but I was feeling too lazy tired to get out the iron and didn't want to work with a hot iron on the dining room table anyway. My awesome mom helped me cut out the ornaments and the Christmas tree. Then I got to decorating! I may have gotten a little glitter happy, but thats what Christmas is all about isn't it?

Next came the challenging part: gift bags. I had already glued down my felt "presents" in the middle of the tree before I decided that I would make gift bags to hold the ornaments. Let's be real, I knew very well that the best part of this tree was going to be knocking down all the ornaments so I needed some place for them to go. And of course, having two little ones in the house who fight for everything, I wasn't going to take any chances by making only one "pocket." My design was pretty basic but I didn't snap a pic of it. It was just a piece of felt glued on the three outer sides to a piece of fabric the same size.  I used the fun Christmas fabric for this. The unglued side forms the opening of the pocket. I cut a small piece of ribbon and formed it into a "handle" for the fabric part of the bag then I glued the back of the bag (the felt part) to the tree. 

When it was finally time to hang the tree on the wall, I used some of this double sided poster tape. I made sure to get ALL of my edges, especially the gift bags because they stuck out. With the help of one of my good friends, we carefully stuck it to the wall, and then I jumped around and did a happy dance because it was just SO DARN CUTE!

Josiah wasted no time exploring the tree and ornaments. Naturally, the first thing he wanted to do was rip the whole tree off the wall *face palm*… It didn't take long to show him how it worked though, and when he did figure it out, he really enjoyed himself. He sat for a long time just sticking, unsticking and rearranging the ornaments. But soon enough, he did exactly what I knew he would do; he began slapping all the ornaments off the tree and onto the floor. Lily was napping when I put up the tree and when she woke up and saw it, we weren't home. My brother told me that she also tried to rip it off at first. After realizing how it worked, she had a blast sticking all of the ornaments to the tree. I returned home to an empty tree, but fat pockets. Lily had put all the ornaments into the gift bags!


The kids love it. I adore it. I think it was a success…BUT there are a few things I would do different next time so let me save you the trouble of running into my mistakes by telling you the things that I would change...

First, Make sure the gift bags are entirely ON the tree. The fact that mine stick out on the sides a little bit has made them weak. I wasn't going to use any tape that would mess up the paint on the wall so I used removable, double-sided poster tape. When the kids dig into the bags however, they pull off from the corners. It isn't hard to re-stick them to the wall, but it would be better to not do that. 

Second, use something better than hot glue for the gift bags. The left corner of the bag on the right is peeling from the tree. Sewing it might have been the better solution. I think my problem was making the gift bag too flat/tight.  

Last, smear a small bit of glitter glue to the back of all the ornaments. Felt sticks to felt, but little hands can't always get the ornaments to stick properly and the kids get frustrated when some of the ornaments keep falling down. The glitter side of my ornaments grip the tree very well. I still have yet to actually add glitter to the back of my ornaments but it is definitely on the to-do list!

Well, I hope you loved our felt Tree as much as we do! I definitely enjoyed sharing it with you all! If you make one (or have already made one) with pockets like mine, please share so I can check yours out too! I just love seeing how creative everyone is! :)

So tell me, what are your favorite crafts and activities to do with the little ones for Christmas? 

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