Monday, December 5, 2011

Ruffled Christmas Tree on the Cheap w/ Tutorial

I survived the craft fair on Saturday despite the fact that I had a major meltdown on Friday because I was definitely not ready and I knew it was going to be a total flop and I was just going to embarrass myself with my pathetic selection of wares. That's just me. I just freak out over things like that. Then everything turns out OK. Which it did, and I had a great time and had to apologize a few hundred times to everyone for being a psycho. I probably didn't have to apologize because they know me and know I  am a psycho crazy person, but I did anyway.

So today I was all happy that I didn't have to stress out about the craft fair anymore and I wanted to do something for pure fun. Like make fabric Christmas trees. I have seen so many cute ones and for some reason I didn't pin any of them. But I did a search and found these adorable ruffled trees over at Craftaholics Anonymous.  I love these ruffled trees so much! And I wanted to make them right now.
But I didn't have any paper mache or styrofoam cones on hand. I thought about running out to Michael's but we are having this thing called Winter here right now and there is snow everywhere and the high today was supposed to be about 20 degrees. Definitely a staying in kind of day, so I decided to improvise and figure out how to rock what I got so to speak. After all, how hard could it be to make a cone shaped object to cover with fabric ruffles?

Well actually it wasn't that hard at all! And I ended up staying warm and cozy and now I have 4 cute little ruffle trees for basically $0, love that!
So here is how I did it. I used 4 12"X12" sheets of cardstock from my stash. The color doesn't matter because you will be covering it with fabric anyway so I just picked out the ugly ones that I am not likely to use for anything else. You will also need masking tape, glue, newspaper or junk mail ads, some cardboard for the bottom, fabric scraps that can be cut into 1 1/2" strips, and a sewing machine. 

First I rolled the cardstock into a cone shape and taped it with masking tape down the seam and around the point on the top. I also taped a little bit on the inside to hold down the loose part that was rolled to the inside. Don't worry about being pretty here, it all gets covered later. Now the bottom of the cone needs to be cut off evenly so it will sit flat so I started at the point and measured down to the length that I wanted and took a sharpie and marked it all the way around. Cut on the dotted line and VOILA! you have a nice flat sitting cone.
Since cardstock is a little flimsy I wanted to sturdy it up and give it some weight so I tore up some newspaper and stuffed the inside of the cone firmly. Warning: Resist the temptation to set the pointy end on the table while you stuff the newspaper in, or you will scrunch it and have to fool around trying to straighten it out and make it pointy again.
Next I traced around my cones and cut out a cardboard circle to fit just barely inside. I glued and taped the circles in.

Now I pretty much followed the tutorial over on Craftaholics, but I used 1 1/2" strips and I hand pleated them using my thumb turning method. I didn't get a picture of that because I have yet to figure out how to sew and take pictures at the same time. But basically I feed the strip of fabric through the machine and pinch it between my thumb and fingers to turn it under before it goes under the presser foot. It sounds a little complicated until you try it, but if you just stitch very slowly and keep turning the folded end toward yourself you will get the hang of it pretty quickly. 
I stitched the pleated strip with about a 1/2" seam allowance and you can see that it isn't all perfect, but pretty close. I used craft glue and just dotted it along the stitching line maybe 12-15 inches at a time, then I started wrapping it around my tree. I overlapped it so it covered the seam line.
It was really pretty quick and easy until I decided to break out my ruffler, which I haven't used in 5 or 6 years. That took me a while to figure out because I was too lazy to go on a search for the instructions so I just kept messing with it until I came up with a ruffle that I liked.
And I can't quite decide which one is my favorite, but I love them all together like this. When I finally venture out to Michael's I think I might get some glitter to glam up the sheet music tree and the green one because the batik fabric actually is sparkly. And I want some sparkly stars for the tops. 

Doesn't it just make you a little extra bit happy when you get something so cute from stuff you have laying around the house? 

Linking up here:


  1. GORGEOUS ruffled trees! And I love how you made them with just what you had on hand!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  2. Loved the ruffled cones!!


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