For a few years now, I have wanted a retro style Christmas tree skirt to hide the plastic legs on my plastic tree. They used to be readily available, but you don't see them too often any more and certainly not in the style I wanted. So I decided to make one and here is how I did it. It took, from start to finish, about 3 hours so is definitely something you can whip up in an afternoon (instant gratification).
You will need:
*A large piece of felt. Ideally, it is best to keep this in one piece (to avoid any sewing) so you will need to find wide felt. I wanted the diameter of my skirt to be about 40" so my felt needed to be more than 40" square
*Scissors, string and a tailor's chalk pencil
*Your stencil, the paints you want to use, a spray repositioning adhesive, a stencil brush for every colour you are going to use and kitchen roll (paper towel)
*Some Christmas music to put you in the mood and a cup of hot chocolate and biscuits for sustinance
How to make the skirt:
Fold the fabric up into quarters (i.e. in half and then in half again) so that your quarter is perfectly square. Tie some string to your tailor's chalk pencil. We are going to mark a quarter of the overall skirt so your string needs to be long enough to cover your chosen radius (which is half the diameter measurement). In my case, the radius is 20". You are going to need to mark two circles: one in the centre for the trunk of your tree and one for the skirt edge.
Holding one end of string firmly in place against the corner of the fabric which is in the centre, pull the string taut (the pencil will be tied to the other end) the length of your chosen radius. Starting at one edge of the fabric, draw a quadrant on your fabric as if using a compass. The reason you folded the fabric is because it will be easier to cut through a quarter of the circle, but 4 layers of it, so that when you unfold it, you will have a full circle. Shorten your string dramatically and draw another circle for your tree trunk. I chose a radius of 3" so that I would have a 6" diameter circle in the centre. Carefully cut along the marked lines.
You will be cutting through 4 layers of fabric so make sure the underlayers of fabric don't shift as you cut by holding them firmly in place. When you unfold the fabric, you should have a piece that looks like a doughnut. You will need to cut through the ring of fabric in one place so that you can wrap your skirt easily around your tree (but this can be hidden at the back of your tree).
Now you have your tree skirt and you are ready to stencil. Stencilling felt is like stencilling any fabric. Cover your work surface with either a sliced up garbage bag (bin liner) or paper and tape it in place. Spray a light layer of spray repositioning adhesive onto the covered table. Smooth your fabric over the table. The spray repositioning adhesive will stop the fabric from moving when you stencil it. You won't be able to have your whole skirt on the table (unless you have a big table) so just work on it a section at a time. I am using our new Assorted Snowflakes stencil which has 4 different snowflake designs, each one in both 3" and 6". I decided to use 4 colours (Liquitex acrylics): Raspberry, Hibiscus, Light Magenta and Pale Portrait Pink. My tree, which is black, sits in my bedroom and I hang vintage ornaments on it, so the colours were chosen to match both the room and the ornaments.
As far as planning the arrangement of the snowflakes, I decided I wanted the bigger snowflakes to sit closer to the outer edge of the skirt and the smaller ones, in lighter colours, to be used more sparsley towards the centre. But other than that, I was pretty much going to wing it as I went and let creativity take over. I started with the Raspberry, being the darkest colour, and put a few snowflakes around the edge of the skirt, leaving space for others. I did all the Raspberry flakes and then went back to the beginning and did the next set in Hibiscus, filling in a bit more space.
I then added a few flakes in Light Magenta. Finally I used the smaller snowflakes, stencilling them in Pale Portrait Pink towards the centre of the skirt. I added a few around the edge as well just to mix it up a bit. I also stencilled a few of the smaller flakes in the Light Magenta too.
Use a tiny amount of spray repositioning adhesive on the back of your stencil as well. Place your stencil onto the fabric. Take up a tiny amount of paint onto the tips of the bristles of your brush and swirl the brush quite vigorously onto kitchen roll. This removes the excess paint and works it evenly into the bristles of the brush. Stencil holding your brush at right angles to your surface and gently swirl through your stencil. Your paint should be going on in a light, misty impression and quite dry. You build the layers up to get the desired density of colour. Do not put too much paint on your brush or apply it wet, as it will just bleed under your stencil and look unsightly.
Here is the finished result under my tree.
Now all I have to do is finish my Christmas shopping and do my Christmas cards! R.