Thursday, December 8, 2011

Look What I Made: Yoyo Christmas Trees

We decided to make some homemade Christmas presents for some people this year and one idea was yo-yo trees. I had seen a tutorial on line for this over a year ago and wanted to attempt this last year, but didn't get around to it. I started before Thanksgiving and had so much fun. I made a total of 20.

A yo-yo is a term used in quilting. It is a piece of fabric cut into a circle and then the edge is tucked under a little and stitched all around. When you have finished stitching, you take the thread string from the beginning of your stitching and the thread string from the end of your stitching and pull them so that the fabric begins to close up into a circle; this is the yo-yo. A yo-yo tree is different sized yoyos stacked on top of each other. The pictures will make much more sense than me trying to explain it to you.

The first step was using my Cricket machine and cutting circles 3", 4", 5", 6", 7", 8", 9", and 10" in diameter. The card stock I had wasn't big enough for the larger size circles, so I made those sized circles with cereal boxes. Yep, the Cricket cuts cereal boxes=awesome!

Next, layer your fabrics on top of each other until it is eye pleasing to you. I chose to use a different patterned fabric for each yo-yo, but you could easily use as little as 2 different patterned fabrics and just keep alternating them--your the artist so the choice is yours! Beginning with the top layer, trace the 3" card stock circle onto your fabric, then the second layer fabric trace the 4" card stock circle onto that, the third layer fabric trace the 5" card stock circle, etc. Then, cut out all of the circles.

Thread a needle and begin sewing each circle, or yo-yo. Make sure to leave a tail at the beginning. The instructions I saw showed the yo-yo being stitched all the way around flat and then the tails pulled tight to enclose the yo-yo:

After doing a few yoyos like this, I realized I was wasting a lot of thread this way. So, I began pulling the yo-yo tight as I sewed and didn't waste as much thread:

How much thread do you need per yo-yo? I took my spool of thread and measured out enough thread for twice the diameter of each circle. For the larger yoyos, you will find that after pulling the tails and enclosing the yoyos and then cutting off your excess, that excess is long enough to use for some of your smaller yoyos on another tree:

Okay, so now you have all of your yoyos sewn. The next step is to slide them onto a dowel. You will have to cut a little snip in your yo-yo to make it slide onto the dowel. The thickness of the size dowel you want is totally up to you. I went to Michaels Arts and Crafts store and found a package of 20 dowels, I think 3/4" thick. You'll have to figure out the height to cut your dowels to based on the height of your trees--you may be making trees that are smaller (less yoyos), or taller (more yoyos). Hubby cut a dowel to the size we needed and used that as a template to cut all of the dowels the same size using his electric saw. I think with one dowel from the package, we were able to cut it into 2 or 3 pieces for the size we needed. Considering the package didn't cost very much, to be able to get 2 or 3 tree dowels from one dowel stick is very economical. You can see the dowel before it was cut in the following pics:

The next step I did was the tree topper. At Hobby Lobby I found a package of 24 different colored tiny ornament balls for 99 cents! I have seen other trees topped with buttons, or tiny wooden stars, so shop around for what you would prefer to top your tree with. Hubby worked his magic with one of his fancy tools in the garage and drilled holes into the balls so that they would sit on top of the tree. We then hot glued the balls onto the dowels.

Once the tree topper is glued on, slide your yo-yos back onto the dowel (you would have had to remove them to cut your dowel to size). Then, hot glue the dowel into whatever base you want to use. I found a package of spools at Michaels that fit my dowels perfectly. I'm sure there are all kinds of other things you can find that would make great bases. I will say that the spool may not be wide enough to fully support the tree, but if you maneuver your bottom yo-yo in a way that touches the table, or shelf, or whatever your tree is standing on, it will help your tree from tipping, which with the spools it can easily do if bumped.

I LOVE my trees!!! My church had a ladies gala last week and I decided to set up a table and try to sell some trees. I hadn't planned on doing this at all, but almost at the last minute I had so much fabric, and a lot of time to make trees, that I decided to give it a try. Out of 20 trees, I sold 9 and gave away one as a door prize. I think I want to make many more throughout the coming year and try selling them at a crafts fair or farmers market closer to next Christmas!

This tree has the traditional red, green, and white colors associated with Christmas.
This tree has some blue added into it.
This tree has some darker colors mixed together.

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