Christmas decorating, practical life style

Br trying out his Christmas decorating job

I’d been mulling this idea for a while, as I noticed Br (4 y/o) is pretty hopeless with buttons.  I finally got my tookus in gear and got it finished Monday.

"Christmas Tree", ready to decorate
“Christmas Tree”, ready to decorate

I realized as I watched Br working on it later, it also works on one- to -one correspondence, color discrimination, and is a pretty great fine-motor activity too.  Pretty good for some recycled felt and a grab bag of random buttons (which, incidentally, was a great sorting activity)!


  • felt in assorted colors, but for sure green and brown
  • buttons*
  • thread*
  • scissors
  • needle
  • extra pin or needle (to use as a “spacer” when sewing on your button)
  • (optional: fusible interfacing- if so, you’ll also need an iron handy)

*I used buttons & thread that matched the color of my felt “ornaments”. I’ve seen other buttoning jobs where they just used plain white buttons and just matched the thread color to the piece that goes on. You could probably also just use a single color thread and colored buttons.

I had a failed travel car mat I had started before our last trip, which had partially-fused fusible interfacing already on it, so this was a handy opportunity to give it a new chance at life.

I cut out a Christmas tree shape in the green felt (this was the stuff that already had fusible interfacing on the back).

Tree shape in green felt
Tree shape in green felt

I picked an assortment of colorful buttons (I also tried to mix sizes & styles of buttons) that coordinated with the colorful felt I had on hand.

Button & felt planning
Button & felt planning

Because I am anal, I carefully spaced & planned where each button would go.  Because I am the mother of a toddler, I had to do this a bunch of times, because someone wanted to “help” and kept moving and or/adding to my buttons.

Button designing
Button designing- do you see that chubby little hand sneaking in to wreak havoc?

I sewed each button on, in its carefully selected spot. :)

Button sewing
Button sewing- if you put a pin between the button and the thread while you are sewing, you guarantee yourself space for buttoning the fabric on

I cut out felt ornaments and cut a slit for it to fit on its respective button.  In the spirit of Christmas, I especially tried to use plenty of my “fancy” felt- with sparkles, etc.

Buttons sewn on, ormnaments attached
Buttons sewn on, ornaments attached

Br wandered in about this point, and was actually quite interested in the job.  Interested enough he didn’t want to wait for me to iron it to its backing.

Br trying out his Christmas decorating job
Br trying out his Christmas decorating job

Bl (21 months) was also quite interested, and kept trying to push Br off his seat.

Bl trying to get in on the decrating too
Bl trying to get in on the decorating too

Once Br was done, I popped the ornaments back off & ironed it to another piece of felt (remember, the fusible interfacing went on the back of the tree at the beginning).  You could skip fusing layers together, but it added some sturdiness (so the focus is on manipulating the buttons rather than just folding the felt) that especially helped where the buttons were close to the end of the “tree limbs”.

another justification for the mini iron purchase!
another justification for the mini iron purchase!
ironing the back side
ironing the back side

I think it turned out pretty cute!  Once I finally started it, it was actually fairly quick to make (in other words, even though I am so late getting this post done, you could probably make your own before Christmas!)

And hopefully this will be a fun tool to help my”big boy” get a little more independence with dressing.

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