DIY Felt Trees
These DIY Felt Trees are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate for the holiday season. Free printable templates and SVG cut files for 3 tree sizes!
It all started not long ago when Handan was doing her usual late-night web-wandering, and she came across some cute (her word, not mine!) felt trees.
They were on one of those sites that likes to tease. You get a little taste…you want the thing you’re looking at…oh!, but you have to be a paying member to get the plans!
Well nuts to that, we say!
What others charge for, we give for free. Does that make us the Robin Hoods of crafting?
But wait, madam! There’s more! I’m also going to show you three ways of making these felt trees, because one way is never enough!
And here’s another thing: you can make this a 100% Dollar Tree craft.
Or it can be 50%.
Or zero percent!
The choice is up to you, but the important thing is, no matter which route you choose, these felt trees are cheap!
Now, before we get to the tutorial, I want to talk materials for a minute. The fundamental ingredient for a DIY felt tree is…can you guess?
No, it’s not macaroni! C’mon now! Who said that?
They key ingredient is felt.
Okay, like a said, you can make these felt trees entirely from Dollar Tree materials, but while DT rocks in a lot of ways, they are a little flacid in the felt department.
Their felt is limp and uninspiring.
Nobody likes limp felt, madam.
But, as I said, there’s no Felt Tree Police that will stop you from making trees from DT’s limp and flaccid felt. Go ahead, if that’s what felts your boat.
Or you can go to Hobby Lobby (and most likely the other big crafty stores) and buy felt squares (rectangles, really) in all sorts of colors and weights. No limp and wimpy felts at Hobby Lobby, no ma’am! Theirs is a Felt Department full of verve, vigor and moxie!
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We found that the 33¢ variety worked quite well, as did the heavier 77¢ kind. With prices like those, why would anyone waste time with the wet-noodle felt from Dollar Tree?
Okay, now that we figured out our felt, let’s talk about the rest of the materials. Besides felt, you’ll need some sort of stick and a base, at the very minimum.
So, going the Dollar Tree route, you can get a 10-pack of wooden dowels from the Craft Corner for $1 (duh) – that’s 10¢ per tree.
Or, you can use a stick if you live near a tree.
When it comes to the base, you’ve got a lot of options, and we’re going to show you a whole bunch – most of which use Dollar Tree materials, by the way.
Just for kicks, let’s break down the cost for one medium-sized tree. Oh, didn’t I mention?
Yep, we’re also giving you templates for 3 tree sizes! Try getting that with your paid membership to those other places! (Yes, I know, I’m a total jerk – they’re just trying to make a living!)
Anyway – 2 pieces of felt for 66¢, 1 dowel for 10¢, and let’s say you use a DT wooden craft cube for a base. That’s $1.76 for the tree.
Now, let’s say you want to go fancier and more rustic-looking: 2 pieces of felt, a stick from your yard, small Dollar Tree wooden box, Dollar Tree LED tea lights (2-pack) and some Dollar Tree batting from a pillow (pillow is $1, but you can get at least enough snowy batting for 20 trees, so let’s call it 5¢). That’s $2.71 for a something that looks amazing (as you’ll soon see).
Conversely, we can get these trees really cheap! Let’s say you want to make the small size tree. For that, you’ll only need one sheet of felt. Add to that a stick from your yard, and maybe you have a piece of wood lying around for the base. Welp, then your cost is only 33¢!
The point is, this is a really cheap craft that you can make look incredible.
The only downside (and I won’t sugarcoat it) is that cutting out the felt tree shapes does take some time. It’s by no means hard, but it is time-consuming.
But as I mentioned in my last post, time is one thing many of us have a little too much of these days.
One more thing. I know most of you guys don’t have a Cricut machine, and if you do, yours may not cut felt.
But if you do and if it does, then you can use the SVGs we provide and your Cricut Maker to cut out the trees, and it will go much faster, and you’ll be able to make many more of them!
Since I needed to make many different styles of felt trees to show you, and since I had to get them all done quickly, I mainly used our Cricut Maker for this project, but I will show you how easy it is to do with scissors as well.
Fair warning – this post has a lot of how-to pics because we really want to show you all the ways to make these felt trees!
How to Make Felt Trees
Affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.
- Felt (we got most of ours from Hobby Lobby. They have 2-3 thickness variety and we mostly used the thinner variety which was 33¢ a square.)
- Tree templates and/or SVGs (available in The VIP Patch)
- Cricut Maker (optional)
- Cricut FabricGrip Mat (optional)
- Cricut rotary blade (optional)
- Hot glue gun
- Wood dowels or sticks
- Floral foam (optional)
- Materials for a base – you could use Dollar Tree craft cubes, Dollar Tree storage cups and boxes (shown in the picture above), wooden half-spheres, log slices, bamboo boxes, Dollar Tree wooden crates or almost anything you can think of
- Other materials to put around the base of the trees to hide the floral foam – you could use ribbon, felt scraps (especially white and green), white batting for snow effect (we used the batting from a dollar store pillow), Spanish moss etc.
- LED fairy lights or LED tea light candles (optional)
Cutting the Felt
I started with a medium-sized felt tree. It prints 3-to-a-page, but that’s only important if you’ll be feeding it as an SVG to your Cricut. For cutting by hand, you should only need one.
But did anyone tell me that before I started cutting? Of course not! It was only after I finished the second one that Handan came over and asked why I was still cutting.
Finally! It was my turn to give her “the look.”
You know the one.
Anyway, I put all three on my piece of felt to get an idea of how I should cut it into 3 pieces.
And as I prepared to cut my first felt tree, Handan again threw me a curveball by grabbing the third template, cutting it out, and then cutting it in half.
The nerve of this woman!
She then presented my with the half template, and I once again gave her “the look.”
She told me to take my piece of felt and fold it over.
Then she told me to put the half-template along the edge and pin it in place.
I started to cut. Maybe she wasn’t as batty as she seemed.
Huh, it was working. I guess you can be an old bat without actually being too batty. Who knew!
Oh, crap, she heard me.
Phew! Lost her!
When I was done, I pulled the pin (heheheh, I wish!)
Not bad for my first time ever cutting felt!
I was curious to try another method, so I grabbed a pencil and traced around one of the other templates. Mind you, this will only work with very light-colored felt.
I can’t stress the importance of good, sharp scissors when cutting felt. I first tried with my beloved Cricut fabric scissors. But apparently years of cutting paper, tape, craft wire and anything and everything besides fabric have left the blades incapable of cutting more than 2 millimeters of felt before failing miserably and folding the felt instead of slicing it. Fortunately, I recently made an impulse buy in Costco – a set of 3 Scotch scissors for some absurdly low price. They cut like an 80s slasher film. These are the scissors of Freddy Krueger’s, Michael Myers’ and Jason Voorhees’ dreams!
But dream scissors or not, I had a pile of felt to cut and assemble into trees and only a day to do it, so I did what any modern, sofa-loving American would do – I let a machine do my job for me!
This would be my first time cutting felt with my Cricut Maker. I noted the extreme pinkness of the FabricMat and told myself I’d have to atone for this project by chopping some wood, yodelling and perhaps eating a raw steak while wearing boot spurs and a cowboy hat. I wasn’t sure if I’d need to lasso some neighborhood cats, but I kept it in mind, just in case I hadn’t completely refilled my manly mojo with all the yodelling and steak-eating.
I must admit, Cricut has built an incredible machine with the Maker, and the rotary blade is nothing short of a marvel.
Oh, the perfection!
Two thumbs up for Cricut Maker!
After cutting a mess o’ felt in all different colors, I started making felt trees. As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to show you three ways to make them. And just to make sure I keep you engaged, I’ve saved the best method for last. And guess what? Method #3 is a Greg Navage Original! Yes, madam, it’s true – I’ve come up with 2 ideas in the last month! I know, I know – I’m on a roll!
DIY Felt Tree Method #1
For this method, I put a thin line of hot glue down one side of one of the felt cutouts a few millimeters in from the edge. I then laid another cutout on top of the first, gluing them together at the edge.
This is a look from the bottom.
I then placed it back on the mat, peeled back the top layer, and again ran a line of hot glue down the side of the bottom piece of felt. I placed a third cutout on top of the hot glue and pressed.
This is how it looked after the third cutout.
I again placed it back on the mat, folded back the top two layers and ran a line of glue down the side. And then I pressed the 4th cutout in place, just as I had done with the others.
Here it is with 4 pieces of felt.
Now, you could stop here and glue the open edge together. Your tree would look something like this. It’s not bad, but you could go for 5 or 6 pieces.
Here’s how it looked after I glued the 6th piece of felt in place, but before I glued it all together.
To complete the felt tree, I again folded all the layers back, ran a line of hot glue down the side and the folded it back over to marry the two loose sides.
That hole was far too big for anything but 3 scoops of mint chocolate chip, but sister, this was no time for ice cream!
I needed it to look like this…
So I worked my way around the base of the tree, adding a dab of hot glue here and there and pressing the base together until I got the shape I was after.
Here’s the finished tree. I’ll get to the trunk and base options in a bit, but first I want to show you another method for making felt trees.
DIY Felt Trees Method #2
This method is the easiest, but I like it least of the three I’ll be showing you.
I started by folding the felt tree in half so that the fold was facing me. I then ran a line of hot glue down the fold.
And stuck it on my stick. This would be even easier with a dowel, as they are perfectly straight.
I repeated this with another piece of felt.
I used 4 felt cutouts for this tree. It was quick and easy, but as I said, I don’t think it looks quite as good as the others.
DIY Felt Trees Method #3
I made a bunch of these trees, so I got pretty good at them. At one point I thought, “What if I didn’t follow the outline? What if I just ran a line of glue straight down?”
I ran with it. The concept is exactly the same as Method #1. Place cutout #2 on top and press together.
Another line of glue…place cutout #3 on top and press.
Glue line…place cutout #4 and press…
Glue line…place the final piece – cutout #5 – and press.
For this style, I prefer to use 5 pieces of felt.
I then glued the loose sides together.
Since I didn’t ever start the glue at the very top, I added a drop of hot glue in the center top (with my third hand) and pressed the loose ends together.
The bottom needed just a little work to get it smaller.
I added drops of glue and pressed until I got the shape I wanted.
Okay, let’s look at the trunk. You can use a dowel, or even more rustic, a stick.
To keep it secure, I first put a blob of hot glue on the tip of the stick and then stuck it up the tree.
Looks good, right? Just wait!
Because of the recessed glue lines, I was able to open up the ends of the felt.
Here’s a view from above. Looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?
My finished felt tree ready for a base.
DIY Felt Tree Bases
The sky’s the limit when it comes to bases. Below are just some of the materials we used and experimented with.
For one, I used a Dollar Tree wooden cup with some Dollar Tree floral foam stuck inside.
I inserted the dowel into the foam…put a blob of hot glue on top of the dowel…
And stuck the tree onto the dowel. That’s one way to do it! Let’s look at some more.
Dollar Tree sells these wood craft cubes.
I drilled a 1/4 hole in the middle of one face, and there I had my base!
We had some wood hemispheres left over from our wood bead wreath project, so I used a couple for bases by drilling a 1/4 hole down from the top.
Since those Dollar Tree wooden cups were pretty tall, I decided to cut one in half for another base.
It’s the perfect size, but the floral foam needs to be hidden.
To hide the floral foam, you have tons of options. You could use felt scraps leftover from your cutouts.
Or you could wrap some ribbon around the base. We used batting for some that we pulled out of a Dollar Tree pillow.
This was a big tree I made from soft and furry felt. I put it in a Dollar Tree box, and Handan came up with a great idea…
… to put Dollar Tree LED tea lights (2 for a dollar) in the base…
…and then cover it with Dollar Tree batting.
Okay, enough instruction – let’s get to the beauty shots!
It looks even better at night!
Here’s another base setting with a Dollar Tree crate darkened with some antiquing wax.
And here it is at night!
There are so many possibilities with these felt trees – you can customize them to your little heart’s content. You don’t even need to use a stick or dowel!
We love to see our DIY projects out in the wild! If you try this DIY project and take a picture and post it on Instagram, be sure to tag us @TheNavagePatch!
By the way, am I the only one who thinks that Santa looks a little drunk and creepy? Don’t believe me? Look a little closer…
See! Total creep!
Anyway, let’s get back to the trees!
We hope you’ll be inspired by the ones I made and that you’ll come up with your very own creative trees!
FREE DIY Felt Tree Cut Files
We created today’s Free DIY Felt Tree cut files as PDF, JPG, PNG and SVG files. The PDFs are not resizable, but all the others are resizable and compatible with Cricut and all other cutting machines.
Now go ahead and click on the button below to download today’s freebies – they are all in the “Christmas” and “SVGs – Stencils” section of The VIP Patch.
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Thanks Greg and Handan. I love these and your other relatively simple crafts that usually even a novice can make. I had never been in a Dollar Tree until I started following you. I don’t see the possibilities with most of their stuff until I’ve seen your creations – then I get it! You’ve shown me a whole new world out there in Dollar-land. I wish I’d asked Santa for a Cricut Maker and not Explore Air 2. Bummer! Maybe an upgrade next year . . . . . Headed out to invest in a new sewing scissors I’ve been thinking about anyway for these trees. Thanks again to Handan for her great ideas and you for bringing them to life.
Hi Peg, I so happy we’ve inspired you to check out the Dollar Tree! It’s incredible how good they’ve gotten since I first stepped foot in one 5 years ago!
Great ideas! Thank you. And Santa – I’m dying! Lol – yes you’re right!
LOL, thanks, Faye! 😀
I love, love, love your felt trees! As a self-proclaimed felt-a-holic, I have lots of experience with cutting felt. The east way to do it, if you’re cutting by hand that is, is to tape your pattern down. Works beautifully.
That is a good tip, Hanneke, and I’m sure it would work better than the pin technique! 🙂
Excellent work and so entertaining. Thanks for so many great ideas
Thank you, Valerie, and you’re welcome!
I love reading what you write, even if I am not interested in the craft. You are such a giggle!
I am an old-school crafter, is it really crafting when you use machines and pre-assembled items? The fun is in the hunt, isn’t it?
So many of the new blogs offer cutting files for free or purchase the templates, like they are holding your creativity hostage. Card-making blogs are purchase-purchase-purchase-glue together.
I am going to try making these with fabric scraps and starch. What ideas do you have for using fabric instead of felt?
And thanks for the creepy Santa close-up, yes, creepy. Blessings from Port Huron, Michigan.
Thank you so much, Susie! I’m always happy to bring a smile to your face! Hmmmm, as for fabric, how about using only two fabric tree cutouts instead of 5 or 6. Glue all around the edges, but leave the bottom open. Stuff batting up into the tree followed by a stick and then glue the bottom shut. Kinda like a felt tree lollipop! 🙂
I remember making these when I was a kid in the early 60’s! We used white glue and glued the fold of the felt directly to the dowel rod piece. I think it was even sharpened at the top so we could slip a felt star on top. When I learned to machine sew (at age 9), I would sew them together first, leaving just enough room for the dowel rod. Felt was much better back then, you were pretty much guaranteed a good looking tree…waiting for the glue to dry was the hard part. Oh…I just remembered…we also used those heavily waxed red/white swirl thin paper straws from back then for the tree trunks! I think that was a Girl Scout craft session. Thanks for the memories and have a very merry Christmas!
Oh my god, Charlotte, I can’t image waiting for the white glue to dry, lol! It’s not just the felt that was better back then – I’m pretty sure everything was! Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂
These are so cute and my creative gears were turning while I was reading. I have some felted wool – you know those sweaters that went in the washer and dryer? (Oops.) I think I might try to make a tree out of one of them. I like the look of your 3rd method the best. Good job!!
Ah, a perfect use for old sweaters! Good luck with them, Kim! 🙂
These felt trees are amazing! Thank you for sharing and always keeping us so entertained.
Thank you, Debbie! It’s my pleasure!
Well, I just finished reading this and laughed right out loud. Hubby probably wondered what I was doing now..lol,,If he only knew I was picturing you running through a forest yodelling at the top of your lungs, with a raw steak slung over one shoulder and a bunch of felt Xmas trees in one hand and a mint ice cream cone in the other. Great craft. I bought some felt recently at Michael’s and it must of been the dollar tree variety. Limp. I didn’t know it could be so thin, nor did I know it came in different weights. No Joanne stores in Canada, so not sure where one would find the good stuff! Before you even mentioned what you used for a base, the first thing that came to mind was a slice of a pool noodle, but maybe that wouldn’t be heavy enough? So, how many times did you burn your fingers with the glue gun…haha
LOLOL! I pictured myself doing that, too, after reading your comment. Looked like fun! Hey, have you checked any of the online fabric stores up there? I know you guys have a bunch, and they may carry different types of felt. Your pool noodle idea should work – these trees are very light. And as for burning myself – since it was felt, I had the gun on the low setting, so it really didn’t hurt too bad. The high setting though? Now that’s a different story!
Turned out so cute! And i love step-by-step pics!
Thank you, Olga! 🙂
Thank you for this. I saw a cute felt tree at Target a couple of weeks back, but at $15 there was no way. I figured I’d eventually try and make my own. Came across your tutorial this morning.
Oh good! Have fun making them, Carole! 🙂