This craft, from idea to completion, took under an hour. In my mind, that’s an excellent craft to throw in your repertoire for holiday gifts! Also, it’s almost entirely upcycled! If you’re not a scary scrap hoarder like me, you should still have thrift stores around for supplies, or old clothes that can be used.
I wish I took pictures of the stages, but I was crafting at a friend’s house with her very rad 10 year old and I didn’t snap away as I might have normally because I was so caught up in talk of American dolls who share my name. I will have to describe the steps with my words. You know, like a writer!
What you need:
-embroidery hoop. These can often be found at the thrift, but honestly they’re pretty cheap even new. Michael’s has the basics priced under $4, regardless of the size. I used a basic hoop like this, but you can also find colored ones. There are so many varieties of how you can customize the outside of this. You could even paint stripes or polka dots or use washi tape to really make it your own.
-fabric. You’ll want one piece big enough to fit into your embroidery hoop, and then scraps big enough for whatever you are making. I was making Washington state and a heart so I used a tiny scrap of red from an Ikea fabric bundle I had purchased months ago to make a fabric banner and the sleeve of a sweatshirt I had altered. I never throw away scraps. My son’s Halloween costume utilized scraps from curtains I hemmed. Waste not, want not!
-embroidery thread and/or regular thread and correlating needles. Again, I have so much of this just lying around from years of summer camp and friendship bracelets. If you don’t, it’s usually around 30 cents a color for the embroidery floss. This is not a break-the-bank craft.
-scissors or if you have it a rotary cutter and a self-healing cutting mat. I have linked to the ones I own. If you’re an avid crafter who works with fabric, I definitely recommend this $20 investment. A rotary cutter is life changing. It makes cutting fabric downright pleasurable.
How to make the craft:
First, I fit my fabric into my hoop and trimmed the excess. I had actually purchased this fabric last year at a little craft supply store on Vashon Island & I used it in a similar craft for my friend. That time, I put fabric in the hoop and embroidered “uteruses before duderuses” on it because we love Parks and Rec and girlgangs. It turned out pretty cute, but this state craft is even easier because there’s so little actual stitching.
We realized we didn’t have a state outline pre-printed or to trace and I decided to see if I could use an iPad as a light table. The answer is yes! We pulled up a simple WA outline and adjusted it to the size that would look best in the hoop and then I lightly traced it on a piece of notebook paper. If you don’t have an iPad, an alternate idea would be to resize an image and print it off a computer. Many libraries allow a certain number of free prints. You could probably also trace from a regular monitor, but you’d probably want to tape the paper on.
With my state outlined, I cut out the stencil from the paper and retraced it onto my fabric with sharpie. Again, this fabric came from my scrap box and was originally attached to a Disneyland sweatshirt that I turned into an oversized muscle beach coverup by cutting off the sleeves with my trusty rotary cutter. I cut the state out of the fabric with the rotary cutter, and the heart freehand with scissors (fold the fabric in half and do half a heart for perfect symmetry like this).
Next, I sewed the heart into the state. I went with matching thread, although I considered contrasting. This probably took the most time, holding up different color thread to the fabric to decide what look I liked best. Once the heart was on, I placed the state on my fabric hoop and stitched around using basic basting stitches.
And that’s it! We finished chatting about lists to Santa and other delightful minutia and I have an awesome new craft on my wall that cost me very little money or time.