You know, back in the day when I wore brightly coloured holiday sweaters filled with leaping reindeer and dancing elves to my job as a Kindergarten teacher, I thought I was just another teacher wearing a tacky Christmas sweater to amuse the kids. I never imagined that it would become a whole trend, complete with ugly Christmas sweater parties and contests. Recently, I started thinking about what fun it would be to make some ugly Christmas sweater ornaments. This would be a great activity for at one of the parties or just something fun to do with the kids (you might want to simply call them Christmas sweaters with them!). They’re super simple to make and a really great way to exercise your creativity.
The supplies you”ll need to make these ornaments: felt in a variety of colours (I used the really stiff kind for little kids but older children and adults may prefer the regular kind), a good white glue, some ribbon or yarn, scissors, and embellishments like sequins, rhinestones, rickrack, glitter, puff paints and glitter glue, buttons, craft foam stickers in holiday shapes. Adults and older children/teens might like some polyester stuffing to add a little thickness to their project and they might find a needle and some embroidery floss handy as well.
I prepared a template and used it as my pattern. If working with really young children, you might want cut sweaters out of the felt ahead of time. The stiff felt works really well with them and holds up to a lot of items being glued on. With older ones or adults, you could either cut some templates for them out of cardboard so they can use them as tracers or let them come up with their own patterns. If they’re using the regular felt, I found it necessary to double it or it was too flimsy to withstand the decorations and to hang nicely on the tree. Glue or sew two layers of felt together, adding some stuffing in between if desired.
Once the sweater bases are cut out, it’s time to go to town decorating them. Remember, the more colourful and decorated the more they fit the theme so have fun with it! If the kids have a certain design in mind – maybe a reindeer or snowman face, it’s good to encourage them to lay out the pieces on the sweater base first to make sure it all fits properly before gluing it all down. Set aside and let it dry. Then, a piece of ribbon or yarn glued on as a hanger and you’re ready to decorate the tree!