Thursday, 15 November 2018

How To: Reindeer Christmas Card Tutorial

Today I'm sharing another paper crafting tutorial: how to make a Christmas card featuring a cute reindeer!

This tutorial is sponsored by Bostik, and is part of a series of crafty projects I'm sharing using their range of adhesives.

So far I've also made a giant floral hula hoop wreath, some autumn leaf cards, some fun 3D cards, and a cute autumn scene in a mason jar.

Whether you send cards to all your friends each year or just have a couple of special people you want to send a note to this holiday season, handmade Christmas cards are such a joy to make and receive.

I'm really pleased with how these reindeer cards turned out, and I hope you'll have fun making one (or lots!) to send to people! You could also use the reindeer design for other festive paper crafting projects, like a scrapbook of your family Christmas.

You will need:

- a Bostik Blu Stick (or other glue suitable for sticking paper and card)
- blank cards (I used light blue cards, approximately 15cm / 6 inches square)
- the templates provided at the bottom of this post, sized to fit your cards
- brown paper (I used some old envelopes for this)
- white paper
- gold paper (I used a small bit of shiny gift wrap)
- scraps of Christmas wrapping paper, or other colourful or decorative paper
- a pencil
- a fine black pen
- craft scissors
- a white colouring pencil (optional)
- a red pen (optional)

How to make a reindeer card:

1. Cut out the templates provided: the two antlers, the blanket and the reindeer. Don't cut along any of the internal lines marked on the reindeer template!

2. Use the templates to cut out one of each piece, turning the template over and carefully drawing around it with a sharp pencil then cutting out the shape.

I used old brown paper envelopes for the reindeer, some shiny gold wrapping paper for the antlers, and some nice Christmas wrapping paper for the blanket.  

Remember: if the paper you're using has a right and wrong side, make sure you draw the shape on the wrong side of the paper so the side you want will be on top when you turn the finished shape over. 

Cutting out the antlers is a little fiddly, so take your time!

Tip: If you wanted to make a lot of these cards, you could glue the paper templates to some sturdy card and cut them out again to make templates which would be easier to draw around.

3. Roughly arrange the pieces on your chosen card, so you can make sure all the pieces fit together neatly and plan their final position on the card.

I chose light blue cards for my deer, so I could add a bit of white paper snow and the blue would become the sky. If you're using another colour of card, you can skip the snow if you want!

Then cut a piece of white paper to form the snow, cutting a wobbly line for the top of the snow. Make sure the paper is large enough to fill the space you want and to overhang the edges of the card. 

4. Cover the piece of paper with craft glue and carefully press it in place on the bottom of the card so the edges of the paper overlap the card, as shown.

I used a Bostik Blu Stick for glueing all the pieces of my Christmas card together - it's perfect for sticking paper and card, and it starts out blue then goes clear which is really helpful when you want to make sure you've evenly covered a shape in glue!


Place the card face down then leave it to dry. When the glue has dried completely, carefully cut away the excess white paper (cutting flush with the edge of the card) so you're left with a neat section of snow on the front of the card.

5. Add glue to the back of the deer shape and stick it in position.

I like to use scrap paper when sticking shapes like this: placing the shape face down on the scrap paper, covering the shape completely in glue (the scrap paper means you can quickly cover the shape without worrying about going over the edges and making a mess), then lifting it off the scrap paper and sticking it in place.

6. Then use more glue to stick the antlers and blanket in place, as shown. Take extra care when sticking the antlers as the shapes can be a little delicate!

7. Use the lines on the template as a guide to add the details to the deer: the eyes and nose, the lines of the ears and legs, and the strap holding on the blanket. I drew these with pencil first then a fine black pen, colouring in the eyes and nose with the same pen. For a red-nosed reindeer, simply use a red pen!

8. To add a final detail: colour in the insides of the ears with a white colouring pencil.

You could also give your card some extra sparkle by adding silver or white glitter to the snow!

Your finished card will look something like this:

DISCLOSURE: this post is sponsored by Bostik, who also provided the Blu Stick I used to make the Christmas cards.

Click here to open the template sheet in a new window, make sure you're viewing it full size then print them at 100% (or shrink/enlarge as needed for your cards).

P.S. For lots more free Christmas craft projects, visit my tutorial archive!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Autumn at Kew: Glorious Glasshouses

It's time for another installment of OH MY GOSH KEW GARDENS IS SO LOVELY, YOU GUYS!!!

On my autumn visit to Kew I went for a long walk around the gardens admiring all the autumn colour and texture, and ooohing over the many magnificent trees.

I also spent lots of time in Kew's glasshouses, because they're a) lovely and warm to visit on chilly autumn/winter days and b) totally awesome. 

The green lushness of the Palm House is always a treat, and visiting during the quieter months of autumn means you get to enjoy it with fewer people around. Sit on empty benches. Soak up the quiet and the magnificence around you.

I absolutely cannot get enough of all the dramatic shapes in this place...

... and the interplay between the strict lines of the architecture and the soft wildness of the planting.

Being able to get up high and look down on all this lushness also never gets old! If I lived locally to this place I would come and sketch here aaaaall the time.

The Palm House might be forever fabulous but my unexpected highlight of the day turned out to be the Waterlily House.

I've blogged about this petite glasshouse before (it's a delight!), and knew it was a lovely little place to visit... but what really charmed me on this visit was the misty, slightly over-grown, slightly fading, autumnal vibe it had.

The same space as in the summer, but with a totally different mood! So good.

Catch up on all my posts about Kew Gardens.

View my travel archive for lots more posts about my days out in London and around the UK.

Friday, 2 November 2018

How To: Sew Modern + Minimalist Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments

A few years ago I shared a tutorial for making minimalist Christmas cards, featuring simple tree shapes cut from neon felt. At the time I thought "ooh, these would make fab Christmas ornaments, too!", cut out some extra shapes for making ornaments with... then ran out of time to actually make some for Christmas. Now here I am a whole four years later, finally getting round to it.
(As always, I am firmly team Better Late Than Never).

I used bright and zingy neon pink felt for my trees, stitching them together with lime (almost-but-not-quite-neon) green embroidery thread. Neon pink is a total nightmare to photograph but I hope these photos give you a vague idea of just how bright and fabulous these look IRL.

I love how super simple they are, but also how much they POP. They'd look particularly fab on a white tree!

You could, of course, make these ornaments in any colour you fancy - how about stitching a whole rainbow of trees and making a festive garland?

You will need:

- felt in your chosen colour
- contrasting embroidery thread (floss)
- the template sheet from this tutorial
- a sewing needle
- sewing scissors

Optional: narrow ribbon, sewing thread (to match the felt), sparkly stuff like seed beads or sequins.

To make each ornament:

1. Use the tree template to cut out two tree shapes from your chosen felt.

2. Thread a sewing needle with a length of embroidery thread, and thread it into the top of one of the trees (sewing into the felt but not through it).

Make a small loop of the thread, then sew another small stitch (again sewing into the felt but not all the way through it). Set aside the needle and knot the two ends of the thread to secure the loop you've created.

Trim away any excess thread. 

Alternatively you can add a ribbon loop, securing the ends with whip stitch and matching sewing thread.

If you'd like to add some sparkle to your tree (and make it a bit less minimal), use matching sewing thread to stitch some sequins or seed beads to the other tree shape.

3. Place the two tree shapes together and join the edges with blanket stitch. Use more of the embroidery thread, but this time use half the available strands instead of the full thickness of the thread. Keep your stitching as evenly spaced and sized as possible and finish it neatly at the back.

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it to make as many felt ornaments as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a couple of photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to this page on my blog, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial / share my templates on your site. Thanks!

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P.S. You'll find lots more free Christmas tutorials in my tutorial archive!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Subscriber Exclusive: Christmas Candle Embroidery Pattern

November's free project for my monthly pattern newsletter subscribers is an embroidery pattern for sewing a winter candle!

You can use the candle and holly design to add some festive cheer to any sewing project, frame it in a 5 inch embroidery hoop, or embroider it on felt to make a fun ornament for your Christmas tree.

I stitched mine on cream coloured felt...

... and added a red ribbon loop to match the red candle.

I think this design would also look fab stitched all in white on a solid colour background (maybe red or royal blue - like these baubles or this snow globe ornament). You could also personalise it by stitching a name or year on the base of the candle holder.
November's pattern newsletter will also include a link to October's project: a tutorial for sewing a felt tree stump brooch.
Click here for more information about my newsletters and to subscribe!

Click here to visit my tutorial archive for lots more free patterns... including LOTS of Christmas projects.