Thursday, December 21, 2017

Felt "pinecone" ball ornaments

For my friends that have been curious how I made the felt ornaments (baubles for my British friends) I've been posting on facebook, I thought I would take some photos along the way and share with you how I did it.

  • 100% wool felt or wool felt blended with acrylic. Note: 100% Acrylic felt WILL NOT cut with dies (aka cheap felt at the craft store). 
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Tiny pins
  • Craft glue (I use Beacon brand Fabri-Tac. Found in Joann's (USA) or on Amazon UK).
  • Circle dies (can be bought online or at Joann's)
  • Die cutting machine such as Cuttlebug or Sizzix Big Shot. (Don't have one? Call up a scrapbooking friend or relative and you can probably borrow one!) A circle punch might work, but I haven't tried it.
  • Ribbon for hanging. I used Studio Carta's 1/8" braided metallic ribbon.

A note about size: 

The bigger your foam balls are, the bigger the circles you need to cut.
My foam balls have a circumference around of about 12,75cm (5 inches). My felt circles have a diameter across of about 1,8 cm (0.7 inches). The big circles for the top and bottom are about 2,7cm (1.06 inches).

If you want to make this size in just one color, it takes a piece of felt sized 13cm x 20cm (about 5.25" x 8"). If you want to make two color, use half as much of each color.
Ok, let's go!

Step 1: Cut your circles

Using the die cut machine, cut out two large circles to be used for the top and bottom of the ornament. Then, continue cutting the rest of your felt with the small circle die as these are the circles used to cover the foam ball. Note on two large circles: I cut one of each color.

Step 2: Add the bottom big circle

You will work the ornament from the bottom up. Cut 4 notches from the bigger circle you want to be the base of your ornament. The ball is round and your circle is flat, so cutting notches helps it fit smoothly on your curved foam ball. Cover one side of the circle with glue and stick it on the bottom of the ornament.

Step 3: Start your first row!

Start with first circle as shown. I usually start with my darkest color if doing a dark color ornament so that I end up with dark on the top. (That color order works for this size ornament, not sure if you are doing a larger one.) I continue adding circles, placing subsequent pins where the circles overlap, as high up as I can get them (otherwise they will show when the ornament is done). Alternatively, you could continue putting the pins at the top of each circle you add. I like my circles to not flare out so much so I place them on the overlap. However when I'm done a few of the pins show. I fix this by placing some glue way up high under the offending circles and remove the pin.

Watch out!

I noticed as I went around the ball with my first row that each circle migrated upwards. Check your row and fix it now if it is not straight. I put the foam ball seam at the equator position of my ornament to give myself an easy reference point (see image).

After making any corrections, your first row should look like this:

Step 4: Start your second row!

Referring to step 3, repeat the process for your second row. If you are doing a two color ornament, your second row should be your other color. You want to alternate so each row is the opposite color of the last.
!Be sure to check your alignment as you add your circles to be sure they aren't migrating high or low!

Step 5: Continue adding rows until you reach the top

Continue as in step 3 and 4 to add enough rows that you reach the top. You are at the top when your large circle will cover the top with no pins showing. (See image). Remember to check your rows for alignment as you add them!

Step 5: Prepare the top

Once your large circle can cover the top with no pins showing, you are ready to complete your ornament.
Cut your ribbon to length -- I cut mine to 16,5cm ( 6.5"). Then, using a craft knife, cut a slit in the top of the large felt circle, big enough for your ribbon to fit through. *Tip: Find the center of the circle by folding it in half. (see below)

Next, glue the ends of your ribbon together so they won't fray. (see below)

Step 6: Attach ribbon to ball for hanging

I am using braided ribbon and the pins would just slip through the braiding. So, I needed to cut a small piece of felt to pin through.  I glued the ribbon to the ball so that when hung, the ribbon would be coming from the center of the top. That means you have to glue the ends of your ribbon off-center. -- a little to the left or right so that it hangs from the center.
I then glue a small tab of felt over the ribbon so that I can put a pin through all of it to secure it even better and to prevent the pin from going through the braid. You are now ready to add the top!

Step 7: Glue the top on

Slip your circle onto the ribbon by placing it through the slit you cut in it during step 5. Then, (see photos) position the ball so that you can cover the BOTTOM of the top circle with glue. After adding the glue, slide it down the ribbon and center it on top of your ornament and press if firmly. If you get glue where you didn't want to, you can usually scrape it off or trip it off with sharp scissors. You're done!

Step 8: Enjoy your new ornaments!

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