All you need is a handful of buttons, a large embroidery needle, an embroidery hoop and thread. My two little people stitched their button Christmas trees a couple of years back, and each year when we haul out the seasonal decorations their button trees come out too. They are hung from their bedroom door handles and bring back wonderful memories of making them.
Making this button tree is a super way to get young children familiar with sewing. Try not to fret over them having a sharp needle – they quickly learn how to manoeuvre it – simply show them how to thread on a button (see my instructions for teaching children how to do this below). Children are smarter than we give them credit for, you’ll be surprised by how quickly they’ll learn how to stitch! Keep a pack of plasters nearby and all will be absolutely fine, you’ll see!
- A handful of buttons (give a choice of variety and colour)
- Embroidery thread for the tree and stars
- Embroidery hoop (the diameter of ours is 13.5cm)
- Calico fabric to fit inside the embroidery hoop
- Thread to stitch the buttons
- Ribbon for the loop (to hang the hoop)
- Christmas tree template
Use a Christmas tree template (or draw freehand) and in pencil draw the shape onto the centre of your piece of fabric. Draw a star at the top of the tree and several stars in the middle (plain crosses).
Place the fabric into the embroidery hoop, making sure the tree is aligned with the top centre screw fixture. Do running stitch around the Christmas tree and then stitch the stars – which are two or three small stitches, one over the other.
Place the buttons on the tree and decide how you want them positioned. Then pencil in a dot where each button will be stitched.
Tighten the embroidery hoop to ensure the fabric is firm. Turn the hoop to the back and then neatly trim away the outer fabric. Thread the ribbon to the screw fixture and tie the ends to form a loop. The artwork is now ready to be displayed!
Show your child this process and then let them try: Use a pencil and make a dot where you want the button placed. Stitch over the dot twice, starting from the back (or wrong side) of the fabric. Then push the needle up from the back of the fabric and through one of the holes of the button. Push the needle back down into the fabric through the opposite hole. Repeat five times. Push the needle down into the fabric, knot the thread and cut.