Hello! Today I am going to share with you an easy DIY Christmas Project – an up-cycled sweater snowman!
Gather the Supplies
Let’ get to it! The first step is to gather the supplies.
- wool sweaters – one in a neutral color, one with stripes,plaids or pattern
- vintage buttons
- DMC embroidery floss or heavy thread/yarn in a neutral
- sewing needle with large eye
- old pillow or new polyfil stuffing
- fabric scissors
- plates in varying sizes or compass w/marker
- small rocks or plastic craft pellets
- lunch baggie
- hot glue gun and glue stick
- E6000 glue
Shrink the Sweaters!
You can shop for the sweaters at a thrift store or your own closet! Look for a sweater with an all over design that reads as one in a neutral color – off white or white is fine. It is important that the sweaters be 100% wool. The scarf and hat will be made from a sweater with more defined designs – think stripes and plaids. See the examples below? They have a pattern to them and will be perfect for the snowman scarf and hat!As with the first sweater, this sweater should also be 100% wool.
Because I keep a stash of sweaters on hand that have already been prepared for wool projects, the first step is not pictured. Did you ever have a sweater that was accidentally shrunk in the wash? That is exactly what we want to do with these sweaters!
The process is easy – throw the sweaters in the washer and wash on the hottest water setting as possible with the most agitation as possible. This process shrinks the sweater. In the textile industry, it is called ‘boiled wool or felted wool’ When the wash cycle is finished, throw it into a hot dryer until is is completely dry. As a result, the sweater will be much smaller in size than when you started. Boiling the wool prevents the yarns in the sweater from fraying and raveling apart.
Turn the sweater inside out and cut along both side seams. Next, cut the seam that attaches each sleeve. Leave the sleeves in one piece. I see another snowman in the making with those 😉
This snowman stands almost 12″ tall. I didn’t plan the height of our little fella, I just started cutting circles!
The largest circle is about 12″ in diameter and and could be cut from the back sweater piece. Trace around a 10″ dinner plate adding approximately 1″ extra. Don’t worry about the marker on the sweater – it won’t show in the final result!
Cut a total of three circles. I used a smaller salad plate for the middle circle, cutting extra just like I did with the larger plate. Then I cut the smallest circle using the same plate.
Don’t get hung up on the measurements with this step. Rather, just be sure to have three circles cut in varying sizes like I have pictured below,
The neutral sweater that I chose happened to be a name brand. I have plans for this cute little tag!
This next step takes just a few minutes. Using the large needle and the DMC embroidery floss (or heavy thread/yarn), stitch a running stitch all the way around each circle. Stitch approximately 1/2″ away from the edge. As you stitch around, the wool will begin to gather. See how it starts to gather into a ball? Be sure not to pull too much thread – you want a tail left at the beginning of the stitching! When you are finished each circle, keep the thread ends loose.
Did You Say Rocks??
Yes!! Rocks! I was fresh out of plastic craft pellets, so the rocks in my landscaping area were the next best thing! A handful (about 1 1/2 cups) of the rocks will give the snowman some stability for standing. The plastic baggie adds some additional protection for the surface that the snowman will be placed on.
The baggie with rocks goes into the largest circle.
Now for the stuffing! I used an old pillow that I kept when we replaced our bed pillows. Cut open the seam of the pillow cover just enough for your hand to reach in. This is a great use of old pillows! If you don’t have old pillows, you can use purchased polyfil.
To prevent the stuffing from getting lumpy, make a well in the center of the previously added stuffing and add a new handful of stuffing to the center of the well. Keep doing this until they are filled firmly.
Pull the thread to tighten up the opening….
…then tie a knot! Most of us don’t have an extra hand so my big toe was very helpful 😉
The snowball might be a bit flattened out by now so just use your fingers to fluff it up a bit.
Assemble the Snowballs
After tightening and securing all three snowballs, glue them together with hot glue. The largest snowball should be on the bottom 😉
Use a good amount of glue on each snowball and hold each one down firmly for a couple of minutes. Most importantly, the glue should be completely cooled off and set before lifting your hand.
Hat and Scarf Time!
Our little snowman needs a scarf and hat! For the hat, I cut a piece from the patterned sweater and included the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. I cut the piece to be approximately 6″ x 4″. Precision is not necessary.
Put the two 4″ edges together and stitch. I deliberately stitched a bit cattywompus to create the handmade look that I love. Make sure that the end result is turned right side out!
Turn the little hat around so that the seam runs up the center back (see the image above?). Using a running stitch, close up the top of the hat. I also used thread to tie around each corner. That gives it a nice touch.
The scarf is a piece of the same wool sweater cut at approximately 15″ by 2″. The scarf needs to be to the scale of the snowman, so these measurements might vary for your snowman. For this reason, it is better to cut a piece too big rather than too small. I also added ‘fringe’ to the scarf by cutting 1″ slits on the ends. You will see that in the final result!
Vintage Button Love
Now for the buttons! This step is completely optional. The buttons add such a cute touch. If you do not have vintage buttons, you can use small scraps of the patterned wool sweater and create little patches. I have done this with other snowman projects and it is an adorable look!
E6000 is a great household and craft glue to have on hand. I glued buttons on all over the snowman. Use as many as you want. The buttons I chose were of varying sizes and neutral colors. I think silver buttons would add such sparkle to the snowman!
Our little fella might be getting cold by now so let’s give him a hat and scarf! Pull the hat down onto his head more than you think is necessary. Adjust the hat where is looks best to you – allow enough for the ribbing to be rolled up a bit to create a brim for the hat.
Use a dollop of E6000 just under the hat to secure it. Do this in the front & back and on both sides of the hat. Be sure that you hide the glue under the hat – you don’t want it to show!
His eyes are small black beads I found in my vintage button stash. If you don’t have beads, you can use small black snaps or small black buttons.
First, secure your thread onto the wool with a knot and then add the first bead. Secondly, run the needle through to the spot where the second eye will be and pull the thread up. Third, add the second bead then stitch back to the first bead.
By doing this you will be able to pull the thread tightly and the ‘eyes’ will dent inward just a bit. It creates a cute little expression. Stitch the eyes fairly close together. Check out the final snowman to see what I mean!
I started making a new handmade snowman each year several years ago. As a result, I knew that I would need snowman noses each year, so I made a bunch on them at once out of orange polymer clay. The little noses hang out in my craft room just waiting for the perfect snowman!
Here are a couple of substitutes for the polymer clay noses:
- small orange buttons
- wooden skewer painted orange
- short, small stick from the yard painted orange
If you use a stick or a skewer, make sure it is a size that fits the snowman face. Poke a little hole where the nose will be and add a bit of glue to the end of the stick. Next, just poke the stick into the opening! Don’t worry, it won’t hurt the snowman 😉
Our Newest Addition!
And here he is! I added the scarf with a stitch to hold it on. The little button on the scarf adds some cute detail as well as the doll buttons on the brim of the hat. See the little cuts made on the ends of the scarf? That is the fringe I mentioned earlier in the post.
Remember the tag on the sweater? It fit’s perfectly on the brim of his hat! Just a touch of E6000 holds it on!
While rooting around in my vintage button jar, I found this little jewelry clasp! I attached it with a stitch. If you find little pieces like this, be sure to add them to your snowman. They really make each snowman unique!
Check out his little beady eyes! See what I mean about pulling that thread just enough to create little indentations? He really has such a cute expression on his face!
Thanks for Stopping By 🙂
This little fella was so much fun to make! I hope you are able to make one this year. Even if you don’t have time before Christmas, these little snowmen love to stay out all winter!
Stop back in next week and I will share his friends with you! And maybe even a quick project with the leftover sleeves!
That’s all for today! If you make a snowman, let me know! I would love to see him on Social Media! So tag me @reinventeddelaware so I don’t miss the cuteness!
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UPDATE: Be sure to read this post for more ideas on upcycling thrifted sweaters: