Do you remember making paper chains as a child to decorate for the holiday season?
You got out the construction paper, the wrapping paper and you cut and stapled and glued to your little hearts content.
And then after New Years down came the paper chains... and they headed straight for the trash can (or recycling if they were lucky) because there was no way loops of paper would make it through a year in storage.
So long little trees that supplied the paper for our fleeting decorations. Thats for 3 weeks of merriment!
Did you know that most polyester felt is made from recycled plastic bottles? Awesome right?! And unlike paper, fabric can be stored quite easily and still retain it's shape.
So, why not make paper chains not so papery? Use a repurposed, reusable material... and you can teach a beginner the very basics of sewing while you are at it!
Step 1: Equipment, Supplies, Knowledge
Shallow water container (I used the lid of one of those Crystal Lite style tubes)*
Sewing machine, with thread and loaded bobbin
Felt (I purchased 3 6" by 72" strips, but you can also use the 9x12 felt squares)
Glitter glue/ puffy paints *
Velcro (I used fancypants fashion velcro, but any "hook" side of the velcro will stick to felt)
How to load a bobbin
How to thread your machine
(I sort of assumed you knew this already, or would be able to find an instructable to help you)
* = Optional, but sparkly!
Step 2: Make Sparkle Babies!
While this step in not necessary, who doesn't like a little festive glitter?
Squeeze some glitter glue/ puff paint into the shallow container of water, and stir with your brush. This is to make it spread easier across the fabric. You can also add colour with your puffy paints if you like.
Brush on to the fabric and allow to dry.
Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once
If you purchased felt from the bolt, it will most likely be 72 Wide. If so, measure along the strip every 9 inches and cut. You should end up with 8 rectangles. Repeat for the other colours.
If you have felt squares, you will need 4 of each colour (if you want the same length chain as out friends with the bolt felt), and the above step has been done for you.
After you have a nice pile of 9" pieces, you want to measure and cut the felt so you end up with a nice big pile of 9" x 1 1/2" felt strips.
(For you bolt folk, that would be along the 6" side of your rectangle, for the felt square kids, along the 12" side).
Step 4: Sew and Sew
Seriously, the easiest sewing project ever.
Decide the colour order and select the first piece of felt. Put the 2 sparkly ends together, and sew a straight line along the edge.
DON'T FORGET!!!! back-stitch at the beginning and the end of the seam, to prevent the stitches from falling out.
Trim your treads and make it look pretty, then turn the ring right side out.
Step 5: Cha-Cha-Chains
Once you have that first loop, all you need to do is grab the next strip & thread it through the first loop.
Make use that the side you want to face outwards (sparkles, right?) is touching at the ends and sew the ends again.
Keep repeating this easy peasy steps over and over to make a chain.
Step 6: Sticky Situation
Now comes the hard part (guff guff)
You can't sticky tape felt "paper" chains to the wall
If you have thumbtacks, and you are allowed, have at it!
If the rules in your house at a little more strict, read on:
With the last few strips of felt, cut a small amount of Velcro (the hook part, if you don't have the fancy stuff shown here) and place on the wrong (not sparkly) side of the felt.
Sew the Velcro onto the strip. To do so easily, sew along one edge and when you get to the end, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and rotate the fabric 90 degrees. That way, you only have to back-stitch when you have sewn the full perimeter of the Velcro.
Step 7: Hanging Around
Since felt and Velcro are great friends, you need not add the soft half of the Velcro.
Using the Velcro'd strip, hang your new chains by feeding the sticky strip through the appropriate loop, and adjusting the length so your chain hangs nicely.
Kid Friendly, Eco Friendly, Waste Reducing Holiday Decoration.