It’s that time of year again, and I’ve started making Christmas ornaments for our nieces. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now, and our nieces and I all enjoy the tradition. Our oldest niece is 15, and she has quite a collection of handmade ornaments now. I always have fun figuring out what to make. Some years each girl gets a different ornament, but some years I come up with a design that’s so cute I have to make five of the same thing.
This year, it’s felt birdhouses. They’re so cute I just can’t stop looking at them.
They’re very easy to make, and all that you need is a bit of felt, a needle and some thread. They’re small enough that you can make them out of felt scraps that are left over from another project, or you could buy a few sheets of felt at the craft store. Either way, it’s a very inexpensive project. I think it took me about 45 minutes to make one of these, although I was also going back and forth helping our son with his sewing project that he started once he saw what I was doing.
You’ll need three pieces of felt, shaped like this:
I used a rectangle 5.5 inches long and 3.25 inches wide, a circle that’s about 1.5 inches in diameter, and then a half circle that’s 5 inches in diameter (I traced around a lid, cut out the circle, folded it in half and cut it into two half circles, so I had enough to make the roof for two birdhouses).
I started by cutting the hole for the door in the middle of the rectangle of felt. I cut a small hole and then stitched around it with embroidery floss (I used three strands for this project). You could do a fancy stitch if you know how, or you can just wing it like I did.
The next step is to sew the short ends of the rectangle together so that you end up with a tube. Again, no fancy stitching required.
From the front, you’ll have the body of your birdhouse, with a cute little doorway.
Now you attach the floor – just start stitching the walls and floor together and work your way around the circle until it’s all sewed. The diameter of the finished birdhouse might be slightly less than 1.5 inches, depending on how much overlap you had when you sewed the edges of the rectangle of fabric together. You can always trim off a little of the floor if it’s looking too big, but felt is very forgiving, so you probably will find that it works out just fine.
And five minutes later, the body of your birdhouse is done!
When I made the first one, I didn’t stuff it until I was completely finished and had attached the roof already. I decided at that point that it needed a little stuffing to help it hold its shape, and I had to push bits of felt in through the door hole with the end of a pen. It worked, but was a bit tedious. So I recommend stuffing at this point. I just used little scraps of felt, cut into tiny pieces. Fill the house up with stuffing, and then you’re ready to make your roof.
The roof is just a cone that you make by folding the semi-circle in half and stitching the edges together. I found that it’s easier to add some detail stitching around the entire roof if you do it before the roof is on the house, so you can do that now if you want, by stitching all around the curved edge of the semi-circle (or you can skip that step entirely – the stitching around the edge of the roof is just decorative and the edges can just as easily be plain felt). Then just wrap the semi-circle into a cone shape and stitch the straight edges together.
If you have enough embroidery floss at the end, make a loop for hanging the birdhouse. Otherwise, add a loop when you’re finished.
Almost done! Now you just have to connect the body of the house to the roof. You can add a few small pieces of scrap felt inside the roof to give it some structure, and then position the roof over the body of the house. Then, using a thread that matches the color of the roof, make several tiny stitches to hold the roof to the body. Make the stitches as small as possible on the outside, so that they aren’t as obvious. My roof fit down over the top of the house so that the stitches are about half an inch up from the bottom edge of the roof. You can see one of my stitches if you look closely at the front of the roof. Do this step however you like – you could even use a hot glue gun to attach the roof to the body of the birdhouse. Once you’re done, you have something like this:
Pretty cute, and not bad for 45 minutes and a few scraps of felt. I have a bag full of felt scraps left over from last year’s felt food project, so I’ll be able to make ornaments for all of our nieces without buying any new supplies at all. I had to take them out in the yard and hang them on a little tree out there to see how they’d look on a Christmas tree… so cute!
I started last night, making one after the boys were in bed and then the second one this morning. It shouldn’t take me long to finish the other three, and I might make a few more for some other friends. Have fun with this if you decide to make some too! If you have a blog and you make these, please be sure to share a link to your project in the comments.