This summer I had the honor of becoming (fairy) godmother to my nephew, Finn. My first present to him was a mix cd of songs that inspired me – songs that helped put life into perspective. Now, this cd will be probably be obsolete by the time he wants to pop it into his cd player, er burn it onto his computer for his futuristic ipod. However, creating this cd was also a helpful exercise in rooting through my music to think about why I am so drawn to certain songs or artists.
I opened the cd with a classic Elvis Costello song, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding.” I have since burned a copy of the cd for myself and it’s still on regular rotation in my car.
What I like most about the holidays is the reminder of what’s important – family and friends, being kind to others, exercising gratitude for what we have and lending a hand to those less fortunate. So, while not very Christmas-y, I think this song is also a perfect tune to start off this holiday season (cue music).
To help you spread peace unto others, I created a tutorial for a Peace Wreath made of repurposed felted sweaters (peace unto the environment, too!). Cheers!
To create the Peace Wreath, you will need:
- One 18” Floral & Craft Ring (if choosing another size, be sure to alter sizes of pieces when assembling peace sign).
- Hardboard– You will need to cut one 16 ½” x 1 ½” piece of hardboard for the center of peace sign two 8 ½” x 1 ½” pieces one side of each piece cut on 41 degree slant (but, let’s not stress out over technicalities, here).
- Felted wool sweaters in various shades of green.
- Hot glue sticks.
- Ribbon (1 ” thickness) in a coordinating color for hanging, cut to 14″ long piece.
- Hot glue gun
- Table saw, if using hardboard for peace sign (not pictured)
- Pencil or marker
- Measuring tape
NOTE: If you do not have access to a saw to cut the pieces for your peace sign, you can use sturdy cardboard and cut with scissors or razor blade. Home Made could also put together a kit for you containing these pieces – just send an email to julie (at) behomemade (dot) com. Your other option would be to opt out of the peace sign altogether and make a more traditional circular shaped wreath.
To felt sweaters: Sweaters made of 100% wool create the best results for felting. However, if you find sweaters that contain acrylic, make sure it’s no more than 25% as you will probably be disappointed with the final result. Steer clear of those made of polyester or cotton, too.
Your local thrift shop is a great place to find sweaters to add to your stash, though you can look in your own closet (if you are okay with parting with that particular wardrobe item) or hit up yard sales on the weekends. When I am ready to felt, I only felt those of like colors together. To felt in washer/dryer, turn settings to “hot” water and add a dash of detergent. Extra spin will help get all that excess water out before putting into dryer. Dry with a regular heat cycle. Repeat if desired.
- First, measure and cut your pieces to create the foundation of your peace sign. With the ring already pre-cut, you only need to cut the center pieces.
- Cut out leaf shapes from felted sweaters. There’s no pattern here – just freestyle it. Aim for 2 ½ – 3” in length, but a little variation in size will only enhance the character of your wreath. Don’t leave forget the sweater ribbing, as it can add some great detail and texture to your leaves too! Cut approximately 150 leaves – if you find that you run out, you can always pause from gluing and cut out some more.
- Arrange cut pieces of hardboard on ring to create peace sign.
- Trace around each piece where it overlaps with the ring or center piece – this will tell you where to put your hot glue to secure the peace sign in place. Be sure to position the floral ring with one of its pre-cut holes at the center top.
When glue gun has heated, insert glue stick and use the glue gun to adhere each peace in the desired spot on the ring, starting with the center piece. Use your marked lines as a guide as to where to glue.
- Cut ribbon and feed through top center hole in ring for hanging. Knot and tuck knotted end in back so it is not visible when displaying finished project.
- Begin securing the tops of your leaves to the ring with hot glue. Starting at the bottom of the wreath allows you to build upon each layer as you move up the wreath.
Have fun alternating pattern and color to make your project unique. As you may know with hot glue, just be careful not to burn your fingers or use too much glue that it shows on the front of your wreath. If this happens, you can try to cover up by attaching another leave over top to hide excess glue.
- Finish your wreath by neatly arranging the last few leaves around the ribbon so no parts of the ring are showing. And, let’s pull off all that hot glue stringiness, too.
- Find the perfect spot in your house to display your beautiful wreath or present to one of your favorite people as a gift. You could even attach a little mistletoe to spread a little Peace and Love (wink, wink).