For the last few years, I have enjoyed a new tradition of making these adorable custom Christmas ornaments! Each year I've had fun changing them up by adding new embellishments and discovering new designs to use. These make FANTASTIC gifts! They aren't *JUST* for the Christmas tree either... how about using them to tie onto gift packages, hang with your stockings, or even just display on a small easel!
Sound like fun? Read on, because this post is a step-by-step guide to help you make your own!
1. CHOOSE A DESIGN OR FONT
I decided to go with our new EXCLUSIVE Swirly Scroll Stocking design. A bit of advice here ~ IF you decide to use an intricate design such as this one, go with a larger hoop size. More about hoops and other supplies in our next step!
2. GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
You will need:
~ Heat Transfer Vinyl
~ Fabric: good quality cottons work nicely.
~ Ribbon, String, or Twine of your choice
~ Craft Paints
~ Paint Brushes
~ Card stock or paper
~ Wooden Embroidery Hoops: in size/shape of your choice. We recommend 3", 4" or 5" round hoops depending on your design choice and preferences. For this project, I used a 4" round. You can also find oval! I tend to buy these hoops online, but you can often find these in places like JoAnn Fabrics.
3. PAINT YOUR HOOP
Start by painting the wooden embroidery hoop you've chosen. You only need to paint the outer ring. You can, of course, choose to leave the hoop natural or even try stains or other types of finishes if you wish. I decided to go with the paint option for this project. I first covered the hoop with a good coat of red craft paint. After letting that dry, I applied multiple coats of matching glitter craft paint, letting the hoop dry in between each coat. Set your hoop aside to finish drying.
4. PREPARE YOUR DESIGN AND FABRIC
It's a good idea to pre-press your fabric so that it's nice and smooth and ready for the heat transfer vinyl. Open your software and prepare your design for cutting. Pay close attention to the sizing and don't forget to mirror your design when cutting on HTV. (HELPFUL HINT: If you are cutting on patterned HTV that does NOT have it's own carrier sheet attached, you do not need to mirror!) Be sure to use the outer ring of your hoop as a guide for sizing your design. For example, I used a 4" hoop and I sized my design to approximately 3.5". You will also want to position the hoop and design so that you have a sufficient amount of fabric overhang around the entire perimeter. If you cut your fabric too small, it will be hard if not impossible to clamp into your hoop!
5. CUT AND PRESS YOUR DESIGN
Next, cut your design and weed as usual. Be sure to double check yourself one more time before pressing the design onto your fabric. Don't forget ~ make sure that you allow plenty of extra fabric around the edges so that your hoop can grip the fabric properly.
6. ASSEMBLE THE ORNAMENT AND TRIM EXCESS FABRIC
Now you're ready to clamp your design/fabric into your hoop. Center the design and make sure your fabric is nice and taunt (but not so tight that it looks warped or stretched). Once you have the fabric clamped into your hoop, tighten the screw to secure the outer ring. If you have to tighten your hoop too much at this stage, you may notice that you get some bunching of your fabric, so I recommend that you start with your hoop fairly tight from the beginning. Now flip the ornament over so that it is face down and trim off the excess fabric. Cut as close as possible so you have *very* little fabric extending beyond the hoop.
7. FINISH OFF THE BACK AND EMBELLISH
Next, use your software to create or open a basic circle cut file design. You want to size the circle just slightly smaller than the outer ring of your hoop. Cut the circle from card stock or paper. You can even cut several of these ahead of time. You will use this circle to finish off the back of your ornament. Just glue it in place with a hot glue gun or any other glue of your choice. I typically grab my Fabritac glue just because that's what I have on hand! :) I also like to put a short message on the back along with the date just to make it even more personal and special. For Teacher gifts, I love to have the kids sign and date the back!
Now it's time for the fun, finishing touches! Embellish to your heart's content! Use ribbon, twine or string to create a hanger as shown below. From there you can add a bow if you wish. I went fairly simple with this ornament since it already had loads of sparkle going with the glittery fabric, HTV and paint. I often love to add hot fix crystals, small pom pom balls, buttons, and occasionally I tie tiny little charms to the ribbon. Sometimes, I even tie small jingle bells to the ends of the bow! Use your imagination!
These ornaments make a great craft activity for parties too! Just gather your supplies and a group of friends & family and have fun making them! (HELPFUL HINT: Depending on the age of your participants and the time you have, you may want to complete a few of these steps ahead of time. For example: paint, cut, press, and assemble the ornaments, but leave the embellishments for your craft-loving friends to complete!)
Last, but not least, you may want to use Fray Check or heat seal the cut ends of your ribbon to prevent fraying.
I hope this post has helped to get your creative Christmas juices flowing! Leave us a comment here or a post on social media and remember, we *love* seeing pictures of your Kut That Out projects!
Until next time, Keep Kuttin'!