While setting up my tree this year, I turned around to find my babies with glass balls stuck on their fingers like olives. Ouch! Here’s my attempt at a more kid friendly ornament. Update: About two days after I’d posted this, I stumbled upon the Christmas edition of one of my favorite magazines, Family Fun. Looks like someone else had a clever idea with pipe cleaners and yarn too! (If only I could have seen that BEFORE I played with yarn for an hour trying to figure out how to do it!!) Their tutorial is much shorter and the effect is similar.Click here to view it, or you can read this: 🙂
Sheep and candy canes sounded like a good Christmas tree theme, but where would I find sheep? After some experimentation with pompoms and chenille stems (hereafter referred to as pipe cleaners), I came up with this idea.
To make four sheep, you’ll need five black pipe cleaners, some fluffy off-white yarn, four small jingle bells, about 16 inches of tiny red ribbon, and gold thread for hanging. You’ll also need a needle.
Cut one pipe cleaner into four pieces. Bend each piece into a U shape and set them aside. Cut each of the remaining pipe cleaners into thirds. Take one and make a about a 1/2″ loop at one end to form a neck, and 1/4″ loop at the other to make a tail. Twist another pipe cleaner just below the neck to form the front legs, and another just before the tail for the back legs. I folded the ends of these under so they wouldn’t be sharp. 🙂
Take one of the U shaped pieces and thread it through the neck (Figure 1), twisting to hold it in place, and bend the ends of the U back under to form ears. Tada! A sheep form. (Figure 2)
Now take your fluffy yarn and start wrapping (Figure 3). I started in the middle, formed a few figure 8’s where the legs met the body, wrapped each leg and the neck, and wound a little more around the middle. When your sheep looks fluffy enough, cut off the end of the yarn, loop it through someplace on the body, and tie it off. The knot hides pretty well in the fluff. (Figure 4)
Bend the legs now so it stands well. Add a jingle bell tied with the red ribbon around the neck (Tie it in a bow if you can and would like to — I’m not that dexterous!), then using a needle and your gold thread, add a loop for hanging — you can find a good center of gravity near the front legs.
I cloned this sheep about 20 times in a matter of an hour or two. Materials cost me about 6 dollars, but I’ve got plenty of yarn, ribbon, and jingle bells left over for other projects. Have fun, and have a Merry Christmas.