Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tree Ornaments 1 - Wooden Snowmen

I am excited that for this years holidays to have joined in an ornament swap! I am making two sets of ornaments, and have had an idea of them in mind for some time.

But what turned out today is not what I had planned and I can't say that I am at all sorry!

I had intended to take a 3 to 4 inch tree branch and cut it into disks. I was going to then paint poinsettias around the edge and the year in the center.

My saw blades were too dull to cut through that thick branch, however, and I was determined that whatever happened in my making, I would not be allowed to buy any supplies. So, I improvised, I made do. I found a smaller branch, approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and was able to cut through easily enough to make some 24 disks. I knew then that I would be making snowmen and searched in my cupboards and drawers for supplies.

Before I go further, here is a supply list:

24 small wooden disks, cut from a tree branch.
Emery board or fine grade sand paper
Thin ribbon or yarn
Yarn to make a scarf
Thick, sturdy glue (hot glue is ideal, tacky glue would likely work, I used gorilla wood glue)
Felt for backing
20 gauge galvanized steel wire
Round rod for wrapping the wire into squiggles (a standard sized pen will work)
Dried leaf stems or extremely thin twig, cut into tiny carrot shaped pieces

To make 8 snowmen:

Cut 8 ribbons, 8 inches long.
Make 8 scarves, by chain stitching yarn as if to begin crocheting, about 6 inches or 40 stitches long.
Make 8 double ended arms by wrapping a six inch length of wire around a rod on both ends, and bowing it in the middle. Cut your felt into 8 rectangles, slightly larger than your snowmen will be.

Match your pieces up by threes, placing them with others closest in thickness. You'll likely want to lightly sand any burs or jags off of them.

Lay the 3 pieces of a snowman upside down in their rightful order, and place a daub of glue on the middle of each one. Work very quickly if you're using hot glue.

Take a length of the ribbon and fold it in half, laying it into the glue with the loop extending from the top and nothing extending from the bottom.

Very quickly place your felt backing on top of this, and press it down. Leave these to dry for a bit.

Once the pieces are fully dried to the felt, gently bend back the head piece from the belly piece, exposing the gap between them. Slide one of the wires into this gap, with a bit of glue on it. The gap will show just a little, so loosely tie one of your scarves around its neck.

Many times, the disks of wood will have a hole running through the middle of them. This is especially true if the wood is older, and the new growth ring in the center has disintegrated.

If this is the case with your snowmen, you need only poke a tiny twig or leaf stem that you have trimmed to look like a carrot into the hole, with a smidge of glue to hold it in place.

Otherwise, simply take a tiny nail, awl, drill bit or similar item to make a little hole.

I chose to leave mine minimalistic, but you may wish to add a hat, or eyes, or tiny buttons running down the front.

Stay tuned for the next batch of ornaments!