Tinsel Tuesday: DIY Felted Holiday Trees the easy way (no needles!)

A few readers have said “I love needle felting, but not those needles!” Well, leave it to Kathleen George to share this shortcut felting technique that requires no needles. The washing machine does the hard part! These DIY Felted Holiday Trees look like the real thing, but they’re easy enough that older kids can make them, too. If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, use white wool roving instead, and wrap the trees in bright red ribbons.

DIY Felted Holiday Trees

Short-Cut Felted Holiday Trees by Kathleen George

To make Felted Holiday Trees, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam:
    • Cones, 9” and 6”
    • Scraps or 2” balls
  • Wood roving, 8 oz. in olive green
  • Wooden dowel or natural stick, 3/8” dia. x 12”*
  • Terra cotta pots, 1-3/4” – 2-1/2” dia.
  • Acrylic craft paints in olive green
  • Ribbon, 3/8” x 3 yds.
  • Embellishments: Kathleen used wooden buttons that she stained with burgundy paint; or, you can use colored buttons, metallic buttons, etc.
  • Reindeer moss
  • Craft wire
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Pillowcases, one for each tree
  • Garbage bag ties, three
  • Thick, white craft glue
  • Low-temp glue gun
  • *Optional: if using a wood dowel, you’ll also need brown acrylic craft paint
  • Tools needed: Scissors; Xacto® knife; pencil; ruler; flat paintbrush; small sponge; paper towels; spray bottle; craft pins; small handsaw; washing machine
 DIY Felted Trees

These trees would be pretty with white roving, too.

To make Felted, Holiday Trees:

1. Gently separate roving into long, thin strips.

2. Prepare a spray bottle with hot water and a very small amount of liquid soap; mix well.

3. Working with one foam cone at a time, hold cone horizontally in one hand and use your other hand to wind roving strips tightly around cone until surface is completely covered. Gently squeeze wool against the foam cone to help secure it; the textured surface will hold the roving in place. Repeat to cover all three cones with a layer of wool.

4. Working over a sink or other waterproof surface, spray a wool-covered cone with soapy water and squeeze with your hand to evenly compress the wool all around the cone. Repeat for two remaining cones. (Note: Don’t skip this step and assume that the washing machine will do the work for you. The cones must be hand-felted before placing in machine to prevent damage to machine.)

5. Wrap wet cones with a second layer of wool, criss-crossing first layer. Spray and squeeze cones again to further compress wool.

6. Add bits of roving as needed to cover any thin spots. If needed, add a third layer of roving to cover the entire cone.

7. Once wool begins to shrink and no longer slips over the surface of the cone, place each cone into a separate pillowcase and close with plastic ties. Place cones in a washing machine and wash in hot water. The agitation of the washer will continue to shrink and felt the wool. At end of cycle, remove cones from cases and set aside to dry.

8. Use saw to cut the branch or wood dowel into three, 4″ lengths. If using a wood dowel, paint the pieces brown and let dry. Use the Exacto knife to cut a small “X” in the center bottom of each foam cone. Insert and glue the stems into the cones.

9. Lightly sponge paint clay pots olive green; wipe away some paint with a paper towel to reveal the clay underneath. Glue small balls or foam scraps into the pots. Insert and glue the tree trunks into the pots. Glue moss over the foam to cover. Let dry.

10. Wrap and pin a ribbon garland around each cone. Tie three small bows and pin one to top of each tree.

11. If using wood buttons, paint buttons burgundy and then immediately wipe off the paint to create a stained effect. Cut twelve, 2″ wire lengths and bend over a pencil to create U-pins. Insert wire ends through the buttonholes and “pin” buttons to trees.

DIY Felted Christmas Trees

If you’re looking for another shortcut, use metallic or colored buttons.

Needle felting is an ancient craft, and one of the earliest ways that ancient people made fabric for clothes. I think we can honor the history and still take a shortcut! However, if you’re a traditionalist (or believe that no pain = no gain), be sure to check out the many beautiful needle felted projects you’ll find on Crafts ‘n Coffee. Like these Needle Felted Holiday Trees by Rebekah Meier.

DIY Felted Christmas Tree Cones

Needle-Felted, Tabletop Christmas Trees by Rebekah Meier

If you’ve been afraid to try traditional needle felting, what do you think of this technique? Do you think you’ll try it?

Happy crafting!

Sharon

This entry was posted in Christmas Topiaries, Craft Tutorial, Needle Felting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Tinsel Tuesday: DIY Felted Holiday Trees the easy way (no needles!)

  1. Robyn Gist says:

    These are ADORABLE!! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you, and kudos to designer Kathleen George for sharing these adorable trees with us. Let me know how your felted trees turn out — I’d love to hear more. Happy crafting! Sharon

  2. Christmas trees are always so cute! I think this method will get more crafters involved with felting! Thank you for sharing!

    • Sharon says:

      I hope so! You don’t need a special tool, and there’s no sharp needle, so it’s not nearly as intimidating. Have you tried needle felting, Angie? Thanks so much for stopping in. Sharon

  3. PS says:

    OMG these are too cute!! Loved it.

  4. This would be great for Jenna to give needle felting a try! Thanks for another great activity! TFS!

    • Sharon says:

      You are welcome, and thanks to Kathleen George, too. I bet Jenna would love to get her soapy hands on this, and then toss it in the washer and see what comes out! It would be a great project for your two crazy crafters, as soon as you’re feeling up to it! Till then, keep your feet up! Take care, Sharon

  5. annehaun says:

    Cute trees – thanks for sharing.

    • Sharon says:

      I’m so glad Kathleen shared this alternative felting technique with us. It’s not as intimating (or potentially painful!). Thanks so much! Sharon

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