Make a Holiday Forest from Quilt Fabric Scraps

25 Oct 2011

fabric art trees
Fabric art trees by
Cynthia Ann Dubbers.

Want to make a festive fabric art table decoration and use up your fabric scraps in a hurry? Create these Fabric Forest Topiaries by Cynthia Ann Dubbers.

There are so many things to like about this project.

You can use quilting fabric scraps that are as small as a nickel (you know you have them!).

You can separate the steps and complete parts of the project ahead (and while watching television or daughter's basketball game).

And, you can change the look of the trees by your choice of fabrics (like vintage feedsack scraps or all-white sheers, brocades, and velvets) or patterns (like solids, prints, or batiks).

Fabric Forest Topiaries
By Cynthia Ann Dubbers

For this project you need:

  • A plastic foam cone
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Fabric scraps
  • Fabric scissors
  • 1"-wide strips of fabric or ribbon to cover the base
  • Buttons
  • Needle and thread

1. Cover the base by wrapping ribbon around it, spiraling from the bottom to the tip, slightly overlapping as you go and pinning in place.

2. Cut five sizes of circles from your fabric, starting with small pieces (about the size of a quarter) and increasing the diameter about 3/8 of and inch or so for each size.

3. Make stacks of the graduated circles, hand stitching them together with a button in the center. The number of stacks you need will depend on the size of your cone.

4. Starting at the bottom, begin pinning the stacked circles to the cone, overlapping them somewhat to cover. Work your way to the top. 

Cynthia's Tips:

  • Don't put too much thought into choosing your fabric while cutting the circles; just pick up a piece and start cutting. It will save a ton of time.
  • I like to cut more than one circle at a time and I have found that cutting four at a time is pretty manageable. I also like to finish cutting a lot of circles at one time before moving on to the next step. I'm a big believer in saving time, so I often spend one evening just cutting and stacking until I have several baggies of circles.
  • Cut the fabric circles out of used clothing for a worn, vintage look.
  • I do the fraying at a table while I watch a movie, and I like to wear an apron to keep from being covered with hundreds of tiny strings.
  • Sew any extra fabric flowers onto headbands, barrettes, or even onto a hat as a cute accent.

You could make an entire forest of these topiaries for your table or mantel, and they make great gifts, too. For more quick and easy holiday decor projects, download a copy of Quilting Arts Holiday 2014.

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Linda@114 wrote
on 25 Oct 2011 3:56 AM

These are very cute and would be great for Quilt Guild center pieces.  May use for our holiday lunch!  My favorite colors for the holiday decorating in our home are main floor gold, and crystal with a little silver.  I've found, over the years, some great gold looking fabric and have made different runners and accessories.  Downstairs in our family room I lIke to go traditional with red and green.  Last year I loved the bright red and green fabric that came out it looked so fresh and "MODERN".  Looking forward to Houston.  Thanks for a great QA mag.  

marijka wrote
on 25 Oct 2011 10:02 AM

...  or you could skip the fraying altogether and use pinking shears to cut the circles for a cute edge.

on 25 Oct 2011 10:39 AM

Great project!  I wonder what it would like if I made stars instead of circles?  Would you even be able to tell they were stars? hmmmmm  

on 25 Oct 2011 12:57 PM

My favorite colors to use in decorating for the holidays are  deep cranberry red and forest green.

Sherrie S. wrote
on 25 Oct 2011 7:13 PM

I love decorating with fresh, clean apple greens and snowy white, but I always have to warm things up in the winter with splashes of red and gold.

on 29 Oct 2011 7:37 AM

to expedite the fraying, try using a pet comb -- the ones with the tiny narrow teeth.  I use them when I do rag quilts instead of washing the quilt several times (and cleaning out lint in both machines.)  I'd try assembling the circle (might even use a drop of hot blue instead of sewing together ? ? ?), then fraying it with the comb.  Gotta try this idea -- great gifts for the holidays.

cindydub wrote
on 29 Oct 2011 8:34 PM

Hi Pokey, Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed the project. I've been getting emails from people that say they are now addicted to cutting circles. I understand, it's kind of like eating chocolate! Put the two together, now we're having fun! Thanks again, Cindy Dubbers

bloomer wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 7:44 AM

wondering what this would look like using Halloween fabric, I am thinking about trying it

suslyn wrote
on 1 Dec 2012 6:27 AM

The FB page doesn't show exclusive. All that is available is the free fall project.

golfjane wrote
on 1 Dec 2012 10:01 AM

Really want to try the topiaries but the Facebook download is for the free Fall pumpkin pillow.  Please fix the link.  Thanks.

kbatky wrote
on 1 Dec 2012 11:40 AM

Wrong project is coming up on Facebook.  

Mary Reed wrote
on 1 Dec 2012 12:24 PM

I'd love to do this but cannot get the instructions.  Help!


on 16 Dec 2014 10:04 AM

We have a great deal of free content here on Quilting Daily , and we want to share it with you and your friends! So we selected a Baker's dozen of our favorite quilt art projects, downloads, and tutorials for you to learn from, make, and keep.