By Claire Joyce-Johnson As the entire holiday season continues to whirl around us, if you are anything like me your desire for an elaborate and complicated craft to ring in 2012 is about nil. After decorating and removing and decorating again you may not want to completely trick your house out for the New Year. I do, however, have a very simple and cheery project that can easily be made in an hour and strung overhead before it is time to tip back your champagne glass. This simple paper garland is cut out by hand, sewn on your sewing machine, and is great for any number of occasions besides New Year’s Eve.
Pencil, for tracing Decorative or colored paper Your left over Christmas wrapping paper is great for this, as are particularly lovely Christmas cards. Template for tracing, unless you would like to freehand your designs! Scissors Colored thread Sewing machine
Step 1: Decide on a simple shape that you would like to use — for my demo I decided on circles, but you could pick any shape. Either trace or draw the shape lightly on your decorative paper. I selected different sized cups and thread spools to trace so that I would have some variety in my garland. Note: An even easier trick is to visit the scrap-booking aisle in your craft store — they carry amazing punch out shapes of all sorts! Step 2: Using scissors, cut the traced shapes out of the decorative paper. Step 3: Thread your sewing machine with a brightly colored thread (I used a white bobbin thread and a blue top thread). Step 4: Pull the threads under and behind the foot of the machine as if you were going to stitch on fabric. Tie the ends of the thread together in a knot and then run the machine to create a lead for the garland that is 4″ or 6″ long. Step 5: Place one of the decorative shapes beneath the presser foot of the sewing machine. Stitch a straight line down the center of the shape. Step 6: Run the machine an inch or so beyond the edge of the shape. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have created a garland that is the length you would like. Step 7: Run the machine an additional 4″ to 6″ beyond the edge of the final shape in your garland. Snip the thread and tie a knot in the end to keep the threads from unraveling. Step 8: The garland is ready to hang! You can pin up both ends to create a swag or make several shorter strands to hang from the ceiling in a group! Variation: If you would prefer that your garland have a more three-dimensional feel, try stacking two or three of your shapes when you run them through the sewing machine. Once the garland is sewn, you can fold out the stacked layers to create a fanned out shape — this looks great with circles, stars, and other simple forms! About the Author: Claire Joyce is an artist and college teacher in Eureka, California. She is also a monthly project columnist for CRAFT. Since purchasing a new home she is constantly discovering new and exciting ways to better craft her life.