Introduction: Facepalm Christmas Ornament
The facepalm: representative image for 2017, rendered in felt.
There are two versions - the quick and easy glued version, or the sewn and beaded version.
- Black felt
- Cream felt
- Dark red felt
- Braid or ribbon for hanging loop
- Label sheet (Avery 8126) or plain paper for template**
- Black Sharpie
- Glue (I used Tacky Glue)
Sewn and beaded version:
- Seed beads: black and clear
- Small sequins: red, black, and clear/iridescent
- Needle and thread (black and cream/off-white)
** About the labels -
I had half-sheet labels, like one uses for mailing USPS packages, but if you only have smaller labels, give it a shot and see how annoying it is before you buy new labels. You can also skip the labels entirely and print the template out on plain paper then pin it to the felt.
Step 1: Prep: Print the Template and Cut the Felt
My inspiration for the beaded ornament is the old Bucilla beaded felt Christmas decorations from the 70s. Most beaded felt craft kits come with the shapes already printed on the felt, so that you just have to cut them out. This is good because trying to use a paper pattern for precise cuts in felt is a recipe for swearing.
I do not have access to felt-printing technology, but I stumbled into another idea during a moment of inspiration and/or a moment when I could not locate paper but could put my hands on some half-page label sheets. I printed my template on the labels and stuck them to the wrong side of the felt, and made perfect cuts!
One thing to note is that removing the labels does fluff up the felt a bit, which is why I’ve reversed the templates so the fluffing happens on the wrong side of the piece. If you’re obsessive, you can pick off the fluff or cut it or I don’t know, maybe use one of those sweater shaving things that adults are supposed to have. I’m telling you to let it go, because it won’t matter.
OK! So you’ve printed your labels and cut apart the color groups (red, cream, black) and stuck them to your felt and cut the shapes out. Remove the labels as you use each piece. There will not be any labels on the finished ornament.
Pro tip: if you think you’re going to make more ornaments, store the label pieces on the old label backing sheet, there should be enough adhesive there to do at least one more set.
Cut a piece of braid or ribbon around 7" long for the hanging loop.
Step 2: GLUED Version
Let's do the part that's easiest to screw up first - adding the lines on the face and hand.
I used a regular ol' fine-tip black Sharpie to do this. It is easier to do it while the felt is still attached to the template label. If you mess it up, just peel off the label and use it to cut out a new piece. You can't fix it, and something something know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Don't let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy.
Once you have the face and hand looking good, glue the hand to the face, matching the wrists.
From here on out, it's just stack and glue. Test the stack first to be sure you know where everything goes.
Start with the black back piece, wrong side up (the ear is on the right, see photo). Fold your hanging loop in half and glue it to the center of the back piece.
Glue the red shirt piece to the back piece, then the face/hand, and then the two yoke pieces on the shirt, then the sleeve, which butts up to the wrist.
If you put glue on the wrong side of any of the pieces (it was the sleeve, wasn't it?), use the template to cut a new one. It's dead to you now.
Check the edges and dab more glue if needed.
Step 3: SEWN & BEADED Version (Face + Hand)
Congratulations! You've chosen to do this the hard way.
First step is to make the hand.
There are two hand pieces and they overlay the face piece. Don’t screw this part up - put the under-layer under the full hand, set it on the face to make sure that the thumb is pointing up, and then set the face aside and start stitching the hand.
Using a matching (ish) thread or a single strand of embroidery floss, make small whipstitches around the edges of the hand to hold the hand and the under-layer together. Then embroider the finger separation using the template as a guide. I used a split stitch and two strands of black embroidery floss.
Now we will attach the hand to the face. This is where the magic happens, where the face and palm meet in glorious facepalm.
The face piece includes the wrist, so match up the face-wrist with the hand-wrist and start whipstitching them together, starting from a spot a litlle above where the under-layer ends. The entire hand is not sewn to the face piece; I usually go from just below the thumb on one side to about where the embroidered fingers start on the other.
You have a facepalm! While your needle is threaded, go ahead and add the hair. I used four small iridescent sequins with clear seed beads. Silver sequins could also work.
Next stop is adding more detail to the face with the black embroidery floss again (2 strands). I’ve provided some guidelines but it’s best to look at your hand placement and figure out where the skin of the forehead would be creased by pressure from the hand, and work from there. Then you can add some definition to the ear, and the chin dimple.
Step 4: SEWN & BEADED Version (Yoke)
Let's make some sparkle!
Get some black thread on your needle (this can be thread or a single strand of embroidery floss) and get ready to apply the two yoke pieces to the red shirt piece.
This can go very wrong very quickly, so I recommend putting the shirt piece and the face piece together, using the back piece as a guide, and then working out the placement of the yoke pieces. This ensures that you’re not putting anything on upside down or over too far or otherwise making things difficult for yourself and that amazing work you already did.
I like to whipstitch the shoulder edges of the yoke and shirt together and then start sewing on sequins. I used small black sequins with matte black seed beads. The clear seed beads can also work here, but I thought they were distracting compared to the matte black.
Sew on sequins along the shoulder, then outline the bottom of the yoke, and fill in any empty areas in the center.
Step 5: SEWN & BEADED Version (Sleeve)
Confirm your sleeve piece placement by test-fitting it with the face/hand in place. Sew the sleeve to the shirt by whipstitching it along the bottom and tack it into place at the top. The sleeve is covered in small red sequins with clear seed beads. Red seed beads would also work. Outline the sleeve with sequins and fill in the center in rows.
Step 6: SEWN & BEADED Version (Assemble)
Start with the black back piece, wrong side up (the ear is on the right, see photo). Fold your hanging loop in half and sew it to the center of the back piece.
Optional: embroider the year 2017 on the back piece, as a kindness to future historians.
Stack the red shirt piece on the back piece, and whipstitch around the bottom and sides with black thread . Put the face/hand in place, butting the wrist up to the sleeve, and continue whipstitching around the outer edge. Tack the face/hand piece down around its edges.