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Do you have yarn sitting in your closet that was meant to be a sweater/scarf/mitten for your sister/friend/uncle and never was? Sure you do. Do you want to save the earth by re-purposing that yarn? Of course you do.
When I was at Michaels Crafts this week, a lady turned to me at the cash register and said, “cute trees. What are you using them for?” “Yarn trees,” I replied. Within a minute a crowd had gathered around me to hear all about my cute yarn trees. That’s right. I almost caused a styrofoam-tree riot at Michaels. That’s how I knew I was on to something. Also, I felt super cool and popular. Weird, given that I was in a craft store and my pants were kinda covered in cat fur.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this idea, and I’m sure you’ll have some variations of your own, but allow me to tell you all about my yarn trees. Let’s face it, if you’re reading my blog you probably don’t have anything better to do with your time.
Gather your styrofoam trees and yarn. This project is a great way to use up leftover yarn. I like to use a nice, rustic wool. The stuff with little bits of straw and sheep in it. The styrofoam trees come in a variety of sizes – check ’em out at your local craft store. They also come in green and white – I’ve used both.
Start at the top. At least, that’s what I like to do. I make a knot and glue it to the top (centre) of the tree. I’ve been using a low-temperature glue gun and low-temp glue, as styrofoam melts right quick like. My low-temp glue gun cost $3.99 – way less that the costs associated with burning your house down.
Start winding. I start with a spiral at the top. I glue as I go, making sure it’s secure. This is most important at the top as it’s the most likely area to poof up and twist on you.
Keep going. Keep winding your yarn from the top of your tree to the bottom. I secure with glue every few rotations to make sure everything is nice and tight. The yarn sticks quite well to the styrofoam, but if you’re like me and you want your hard work to hold up over time, I’d keep those rows of yarn glued down to the tree. This process is the most time consuming – but it’s also really fun to watch the tree develop right before your eyes. (Did that sound sarcastic?) I use the end of a little paint brush to push the yarn into the glue. Use the glue sparingly – you don’t want huge gobs all over the tree. Just a little dot of glue every few rows.
Repeat if necessary. With this particular tree I went down the tree, back up the tree, and then down again. With other trees, the yarn gives perfect coverage and I only need one layer. It’s up to you. In this case, after I went back up the tree, I started at the top again with a knot. I think layers of yarn look a little more rustic, and single layers are a bit more contemporary. (Though, let’s face it, if you’re into yarn trees and my blog, you’re probably not the cool, contemporary type. You’re the Cat Farm type.)
So, you could finish there or you could:
Create a garland. Wrap a strand of yarn around the tree garland style. You can start from where you finished your winding – no cutting necessary. I started at the bottom and worked my way back up, but you could just as easily start at the top. You could even use a different coloured yarn. Think outside of the box, people! Secure the garland with dabs of glue as you go, and then be sure to secure the end to the tree top (or bottom).
Add some bling if you like. Or don’t. It looks pretty cute on the plain side as well.
That’s it. In an hour you can have your very own yarn tree.
Tell Michaels Crafts I sent ya.