Tutorial: Last-minute scrappy wreath ornament!

Scrappy Wreath Tutorial

When we put up the Christmas tree this year, I noticed that one of my favorite ornaments could easily be reproduced and would be a great project for tiny scraps of cute fabric. Just a disclaimer: this is not really my original idea or anything, but no one knows where or when that ornament came from, only that it’s been on the tree for pretty much my whole life, as far as I remember. Credit for this idea goes to those unknown ornament makers out there somewhere who have charmed me for years with their adorable design.

I know I’m cutting it awfully close with a Christmas-themed tutorial, but luckily this project is so simple, it’s perfect for a last-minute gift or just a festive project to help keep you busy in the countdown to the big day. So let’s hurry up and get started! Here’s what you’ll need, and it should all be stuff a crafter will have around the house:

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– 12 fabric scraps, cut into circles 3-ish” in diameter (size is not hugely important here, I used a juice glass as a template)*
– fabric marking pen (I used the disappearing kind – this is only for drawing circles onto fabric for easier cutting)
– sewing thread and needle
– thicker / stronger string (such as crochet cotton or embroidery floss) and larger needle
– a goodly amount of polyfill stuffing
– decorative trimming of your choice (I used ribbon and a button), if you like

*(NOTE: I just made a few of these as gifts, a year later, and accidentally used 11 little plops in one of the wreaths. I thought that one smooshed nicely, creating a tight and plump wreath. You might want to make 12 circles, then try your wreath with and without the 12th to see which you like better.)

If you’ve ever made a fabric yo-yo, you’ll be able to skip a whole lot of this already simple tutorial. You’re basically going to make a bunch of yo-yos and fill them with polyfill stuffing before you close them up, making 12 puffy fabric balls. But I’ll go ahead and assume you think I’m talkin’ crazy right now and just start from the beginning.

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With your regular sewing thread and needle, sew a running stitch along the outside of one of your fabric circles. Make sure you have a hefty knot at the end of your thread or it could pull right through later, and make it easier on yourself by ending with your needle dangling from the right side of the fabric. Pull the thread a bit to make your circle into a little bowl shape.

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Grab a small handful of stuffing.

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Stick the stuffing inside the tiny bowl and pull the thread to close up the hole. (ANOTHER NOTE: Take care not to stuff them too-too full, you want them to be able to smoosh a bit when you wreath-ify it later. Fill them so they look plump, but still are squishable.)

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Close it up as tight as you can and knot the thread. I do it by making a small stitch near the original knot and running my thread through the loop as I pull the thread through. (I’m sure there is a sewing term for this knot, but I don’t know it and I can’t find it. Help a sister out if you know, ok?) This is sort of a pain, because you have to hold the thread taut to keep the ball closed and knot it at the same time. I kept pressure on the hole and sides with my left hand while knotting with my right.

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Run your thread through the center of the ball and back through the top and snip as close to the surface as you can. This will hide the thread end inside the ball.

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Do that 11 more times.

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Lay out your 12 little balls in a pleasing arrangement and grab a 18-ish” length of stronger string and needle.

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Going right through the center of each ball, thread them all onto your string – no knot needed, just leave a nice tail at the end – in the order you laid them out.

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Center them along your thread.

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As tightly as you can possibly manage, so the balls squish in together tightly, tie the two string ends in a strong knot, making a circle of fabric balls. I tried to do it alone and couldn’t no matter what I tried. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – sometimes two hands just aren’t enough.

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Run each end back through the wreath to give it some extra strength and hide the ends.

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Affix the decoration of your choice, add a loop of string for hanging, and Huzzah! A scrappy wreath ornament! I actually left mine right where it is in the very first photo, looking adorable against the many inches of snow we got over the weekend. Happy last-minute crafting!

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