Monday, December 9, 2013

Homemade Angel Tree Topper

I am so excited to share today's project with you.  I know it's a Monday, but this project made me too happy to rant!

Growing up, we always had an angel tree topper that my mom made.  She took one of those classes where they supply the parts and teach you to make it.  I don't have a picture for you, but it's mostly made of this crinkly, moldable paper stuff.  Just take my word for it - it's beautiful.  My mom said that when she made it, she wasn't planning on it being the tree topper our family used for the next 20 years, but that's what it became.

So this year, with our first tree, I wanted to do something similar.  I didn't want to settle for one of those dollar store glitter stars. I looked on Pinterest for ideas.  There weren't many good ones, but I did find this:

Really beautiful, right?  I like that it's simple, but elegant.  And it has no face.  I can't do faces.  :) 

The only problem was that the girl who made this just uploaded the picture to Pinterest and so there's no tutorial other than the parts she listed in the description.

So, I'm here today to give a tutorial of how I made this.  I did not create this project, so I take no credit for it.  I am, however, really proud of how mine turned out:

- 9-inch Styrofoam cone ($4 at Hobby Lobby)
- 2.5 inch Smooth-foam ball ($3.27 for a bag of 6 at Hobby Lobby)
- toothpick
- white fabric for the dress (I used leftovers from my wedding dress fabric)
- white feathers ($2 for a package at Hobby Lobby)
- gold pipe cleaner or tinsel
- acrylic paints
- sewing machine or a needle and thread
- knife (optional)
- scissors
- a flower or something for the angel to hold

Alright, I'm not so great at tutorials, but I'm going to try.

First, prepare your styrofoam pieces.  

You'll need to hollow out the bottom of the cone so that it can sit on top of your tree. I used a knife and scissors to do this.

The styrofoam ball had a hole in one side, so I thought about making that the bottom of the head, but there was also a ridge that would have run across the middle of the face that way.  I tried to smooth down the ridge, but it was still noticeable, so I put the hole in the back of the head.  I cut a little flat surface on the 'bottom' of the ball to make it easier to secure to the neck.  

I poked one side of the toothpick into some glue, and then into the bottom of the head.  I mixed acrylic paints to get a peachy color (you could also just purchase one) then painted the head.  By holding onto the toothpick, you can get everywhere in one coat.  Then rest it in a cup or something to dry.

Then you can start on the dress.  I cut a piece of fabric a couple inches longer than the cone, then hemmed one side in this pretty stitch:

I know that you'll never be able to see it, but it's so cute!  I then wrapped the hemmed side around the "neck" of the cone and used a few pins to hold it in place.  I pinned up the bottom in a way that I thought looked nice, and then hemmed up that part, too.  It ended up being curved.  I also made it a little longer than the cone so that the styrofoam won't show.

Once I had both sides hemmed, I hand stitched the dress together in the back.  I did not stitch or even glue it to the cone.  It's held on because it's tight at the top.

For the arms, I cut out another rectangle of fabric - wide enough to make two arms, and long enough to be the arm length I wanted plus a seam allowance.  I hemmed that side of the fabric.  I then cut it into two smaller rectangles along the width so that each piece had the hem at the bottom.  Each rectangle I folded in half (right sides together), then sewed sort of diagonally.  I started from the original hem and got closer to the fold at the other side.  I did not trim off any extra fabric here.  When I turned them inside out, all the extra fabric at the opposite end from my original hem kept it from being turned all the way inside out (making a nice shoulder), and made a sort of elbow when I went to bend it.  After I made two of these arms, I hand stitched them to the side of the dress.

At this point, the paint on the head was dry, so I dipped the other end of the toothpick in glue and stuck it into the top of the styrofoam cone. I had to add some more glue along the seam to get it to look nice.

For the wings, I hot glued a lot of feathers together to make two wing shapes, then glued them to the back of the dress.  I also burned my fingers a lot.  Woohoo!

For the halo, I made a circle out of one gold pipe cleaner and then hot glued it on in the back:

For the cheeks, I mixed pink and white acrylic paints to get a paler pink, then painted little circles low on the face with it.  I blotted those with a napkin so they weren't as bold.

Finally, I hand stitched the sleeves together and tucked the flower in the opening.  You could also stitch the flower in if that's important to you, but I thought I might want to change it out someday, so I left it loose.

I am so proud of this project because I wasn't really sure what I was doing going into it. I was making it up as I went along, and it worked!  AND we have a beautiful tree topper that cost under $10 and will last us many years (I hope).

What do you have on top of your tree?

Love and Halos,
Leah Joy

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