Tuesday, December 05, 2006

As promised, a project to use those handprints you made

Here's the long-awaited project I mentioned that will give new life to all those handprints you traced based on my post a few days ago ...
Christmas Handprint Ornaments

What you'll need:

  • one 8 1/2"x11" piece of red felt for the pillow
  • one 8 1/2"x11" piece of purple felt for the handprint
  • about 6" of 1/4" (or narrower) red ribbon for the hanger
  • red embroidery floss
  • green embroidery floss
  • A good-sized handful of polyester stuffing

What to do:

  1. Cut out the pillow pieces - two squares the same size, each at least 3/8" wider than your handprint all the way around. For reference, last year's pillow was 4" square; this year's is about 4 1/2" square.

  2. Cut out the handprint - I usually just pin the handprint to the felt and cut around the outside of it.

  3. Use the red thread to sew the handprint to the front of one of the pillow pieces. Keep in mind that there is a "front" side to most felt - the back side often has noticeable pockmarks in it from the manufacturing process. Make sure you put the handprint right-side out on the right side of the pillow. I used a fairly large whip stitch to sew the hand on because I like the look of it; you could also use a blanket stitch, or very small stitches in a purple thread so it would be invisible on the finished pillow.

  4. Use the red thread to embroider an inscription on the hand. In our case, we only have one kid, so I've just been putting on the year. If you're making these for several kids, you might want to add initials or the child's first name. I generally do this freehand because I haven't found a way to mark this finely on dark felt. That's why my years always look lopsided, er, "primative."

  5. Use the red thread to attach the ribbon to the "wrong" side of the back of the pillow (you'll be sewing the ribbon on the ugly side so that the nice side will show in the finished pillow). To sew the ribbon on, cross the ends at a 90-degree angle, overlapping the ends a little on either side of the crossover. Lay the crossed ribbon so that the overlapped ends are parallel to two sides of one corner of the pillow back, and about 1/4" or more in from the edges. Sew in place using a fine running stitch, going from one raw edge up to the crossover and back down to the other raw edge (in sort of a V shape). Or, you could just use a hot glue gun ... just make sure that it's attached MORE than 1/4" inside the edge of the pillow, so the ends will be covered up when we sew the pillow together.

  6. Use the green thread to sew the front of the pillow to the back, wrong sides together and edges lined up exactly. I used a fairly long running stitch, again because I like how it looks (and it's really quick). If you'd rather do a blanket stitch around the edge of the pillow, or an invisible stitch, go for it. Just make sure you leave enough of the seam unsewn so that you can get the stuffing in.

  7. Stuff the pillow, making sure you push the filling into the corners as best you can. Don't stuff it too full, though, or the stuffing will be visible in the gaps of your running stitch.

  8. Finish sewing the pillow shut with the green thread, continuing in whatever stitch you used in step 6.

I think this took me about 2 hours to complete, and that was working on it in bits and pieces while I had the stomach flu. Might take a little longer if you're not familiar with handsewing; might take less time if you use a glue gun for some of the parts.

Other ways you could use these:

  • Hang them on their own special tree or garland

  • String all of them together once the child is grown and use that as the garland for a tree or mantle (or give it to the child to decorate their own home)

  • Use them as placecards for Christmas dinner

  • Make them in less Christmassy colors and use them as sentimental decorations throughout the year

  • Help a child make one for mom, adding some potpouri or a spritz of perfume when putting in the stuffing

  • Pincushion

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