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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Soldiers~ A family craft

When I was a little girl our family Christmas tree had dozens of felt soldiers hanging from the branches. My mom had made the sweet soldiers from felt and tp rolls. Here is an image which includes my pigtailed head. Yes, you can tell by the car parked outside, it was the 70’s.


Several years later we were horrified to discover that a family of mice had torn our soldiers to tiny bits.

Many of you know that my sweet and crafty mom passed away suddenly this past March. My brother Craig recently said in passing that he wished he could have some of the soldiers on his tree as a special memory.


I spent hours scouring the internet for a pattern or tutorial. I couldn’t believe that not even one existed. So based on my childhood memories and these two photos I came up with this pattern. You can cut out the pieces of felt in any color.  I of course went for the original palette.

img006 img019  img023

(Right click to save to your computer. Open image in print mode and print an 8 x 10 size.) 

You will also need white glue, gold braid trim, and 4 gold sequins for the front of the shirt. Once your pieces are cut, apply a thin layer of glue to the felt and place it on the tp roll. I used hair clips to hold the seam in place until the glue dried.

soldier 002

On the top, the “hat” extends past the end of the roll approximately 1/2”. You later apply the felt circles to the top and bottom to cover the openings. 

soldier 007

Apply gold braiding with a gold sequin on each end to give it a finished look. Add eyes and a mouth from felt scraps. You could also use blue and red sequins on the face for a jazzier soldier.

soldier 009

Add on the small black strip to create the illusion of 2 pant legs and surround it with a black belt. (I apologize for the lighting, it was a rare rainy day in Phoenix. The white glue smudges disappeared once dry.)

soldier 014

Although the soldier is not quite the same, I believe it will make my brother smile. To figure out the pattern, cut out the pieces, and finally gluing everything down, took me about 2 hours. I truly appreciate my mom’s efforts to cover an entire tree with soldiers.

Do you have a special ornament from your childhood?



Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

You did an AMAZING job!! I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee your little soldiers!!! Merry Christmas! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Denise said...

LOVE these! My 11 year old son collects nutcrackers and would love making these. He has had 12 surgeries on his back and this will be the first Christmas he isn't recovering from one in 7 years. It was 7 years ago he started his collection. Thank you so much for sharing this ~ and the sweet memories of your mom. You are in my prayers this holiday season ~ it's got to be so hard without her!

Lidia ZuniReds said...

I love your idea ... I'll make to the next year!!

thanks by shared!! :D this ocasion my decoration was with NocheBuenas Flowers

The Pennington Point said...

How sweet. These really take me back. I hope your brother likes them. Lisa~

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Well now that was lovely Laura and it made me tear up a bit. I'm sentimental and obviously you and your brother are as well. Cannot imagine a better or more thoughtful gift.

TRay said...

I love these little soldiers!! In answer to your question re: your favorite ornament, I KNOW you know which is my favorite, but I'll share for blogland. My mom bought a small angel for our tree for my first Christmas. She has yellow, cottony hair and a white dress with wings & she's holding an umbrella (so stylish!) I always loved her, always played with her every year. She is on my tree now and is also known as the "Don King Angel." I played with her so much, that her yellow cottony hair stands STRAIGHT UP on her head a la Don King. A definite sign of a well-loved ornament!! Merry Christmas!
love & hugs,
your pea

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

First I want to tell you how "Very Sorry I am for the loss of your Mom", this must be a sad holiday for you and my prayers are with you... I LOVE those soldiers and thank you for sharing the pattern with us... I think I'm going to make a few TWEAKED to fit a pringles can, SO I can add goodies to it too!!! I too had mice get into my Christmas treasures... They ate a box of Byers Choice down to skeletons... I NOW know they LOVE FELT!!! and I only store things in plastic containers now!
Have a wonderful Christmas... Holiday Hugs to you and yours,

French said...

Leave it to Laura to bring us these lovely soldiers...I see them hanging from the swag on a mantel. We had those wooden solders with the pull string; we have all of the old ornaments, though they do not all hold up well to age. LOVE the tutorial!!

Anouna said...

Isaías 9:6

"Porque un niño nos es nacido, hijo nos es dado, y el principado sobre su hombro; y se llamará su nombre Admirable, Consejero, Dios Fuerte, Padre Eterno, Príncipe de Paz."

Les deseo una Navidad Bendecida, llena de Paz y Amor.
Les abrazo con cariño
From Santiago of Chile. God Bless you

black eyed susans kitchen said...

The best ornaments are always the hand made ones. Thank you for sharing this story. Thank you also for the tutorial..I hope your brother likes your rendition of the ornaments.

quintessence said...

What a lovely story - you are such a thoughtful sister! The soldiers are totally adorable - I'm sure he'll be just thrilled!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Your brother is going to love this. It looks just like the original to me:-)
Marcia said...


These are adorable. I'm sure your brother will appreciate his and cherish all the memories it evokes.
Look what I had in my files:

Your Friend,

freckled laundry said...

Love these. My son's great Grandmother sends him a toy soldier ornament every year. This would be a great craft to fit with his Toy Soldier "theme"!

Merry Christmas,

freckled laundry said...

(...and I'm sorry to read that the mice tore about your original, special soldiers.)

Lily said...

I'm sure these will make your brother smile. The neat thing is that even though the originals were destroyed, your mom's creativity continues in you. Thanks for the tutorial. I may have to try making these with my kids this year!

Many blessings this Christmas.

ImagiMeri said...

Dear Laura,

These are adorable, just like you. I just wanted to thank you again for purchasing my shadowbox, and the thrill of getting to meet you. I hope you sold every corsage last night, and now have the daunting task of making more......what fun! I just knew you were going to be a beautiful little pixie, and I was right. Thank you again for the corsage, it's sitting right next to my other one and I will be wearing both of them on Sunday when I get together with my family to celebrate. I truly hope we can see more of each other, as well as host a boutique of our own in the future. As I mentioned yesterday, I've picked up some really cute little "deer(s)" to use in Easter/Spring shadowboxes, so keep me in mind.

God Bless and have a wonderful Christmas.