Looking for an inexpensive Christmas gift? These felt reindeer candy cane cozies are super simple to make, darn cute and cost less than a buck apiece!
I have a tendency to be, like, super cheap. Our range was being really, really difficult and ruining lots of food. We rent and the landlord isn’t overly concerned with repairing things or replacing them well. When the kitchen sink fell into the cabinet below, the sink was hoisted back up with a 2×4 that, as it just so happened, wasn’t quite tall enough. So an inch and a half of gap was filled in with caulk. I was told not to use underneath the sink because if I pushed on the 2×4 the sink would just fall back in. And we’ve had troubles with the HVAC since moving in. Calling for help, the repairman was here less than fifteen minutes and things were patched up. Which is why I was so surprised that the landlord literally came over to the house, in person, upset that he had been charged $180 by the dude. $180 for 15 minutes? I’m in the wrong business, apparently.
Having this guy come over and get upset with me has basically meant that I am scared of calling him to repair things in this house that are his responsibility to and that darn oven kept going haywire tripping the kitchen breakers and I would have to babysit anything in the oven watching the little thermometer I put inside of it and watch and turn the temperature up or down to compensate. But I started to worry about our food making us sick. After cooking a small pan of cornbread for 2 hours the inside of the thing was still raw. We just cut the cooked outer edges away and ate them, like we’ve gotten used to doing. But I started thinking… food poisoning sucks. Since there’s no way I’m calling the landlord and since Rob didn’t want to either, I wound up buying us a new stove and putting the old one in the garage to place back in its spot when this house is vacated. Which at the state of things might be sooner rather than later.
When looking at ranges, there were certain things I wanted. It had to be electric because we don’t have gas here and I wanted a big ass oven. BIG. As I sat there with the darn thing in my shopping cart I started to panic. That was a lot of money. A lot of money I technically shouldn’t have to be shelling out. I was so cheap that I almost considered just keeping using that darn broken stove so that I wouldn’t have to plonk down a huge chunk of change. But in the end, I did and, as it just so happens, I freaking love my new range :) I’ve baked so. many. things. And guess what? They’re all done! Huzzah!
But that debate inside my own head had me seriously considering whether or not to make the purchase because, again, SO CHEAP. Where I’m not cheap, however, is in gift giving. I will gladly spend lots of money for birthday and Christmas presents if I think it will make somebody happy. But the thing is, it rarely takes so much to please somebody and when you invest your time instead of money in gifts, people tend to be even more appreciative, in my opinion.
So the other day I was trying to think of some adorable yet frugal gifts you could DIY to give your co-workers, neighbors, students, acquaintances, etc and I came up with something using felt has a pouch to hold candy. When it was all said and done, after, no joke, 5 drafts, I finally have the sweetest little felt reindeer candy cane cozies for you to make. Since you can purchase a whole mess of candy canes and felt on the cheap, this project is more about the time you spend making it than the money you put into it.
Can you just imagine these on the desks of your colleagues? So cute, right? And since I’m sharing the free pattern now, you have plenty of time to knock a few dozen or so out, if you need that many, before Christmas. After I got the hang of this and nailed down the design I’m sharing today, I was able to make 8 reindeer in my watching TV time over 3 days. That’s not to say it took me 3 days to make them because I don’t watch TV 24/7. Unless I find a new series to binge on and then all bets are off!
Want to make some inexpensive yet amazingly adorable reindeer candy cane cozies?
Now I totally realize that not everybody has access to a cutting machine and so we’ve got 2 different options for you to make these adorable reindeer candy cane cozies with or without one. If you need a little more help cutting out your felt cleanly by hand, please check out this post: How to Perfectly Cut Acrylic Felt.
If hand cutting, for this project you will need:
- acrylic craft felt
- really sharp scissors (these are my fave)
- freezer paper
- spray adhesive
- FREE printable patterns
- matching embroidery floss
- candy canes
Print out your FREE reindeer candy cane cozy patterns. Iron freezer paper (waxy side down) onto your craft acrylic felt. Using a small amount of spray adhesive, bond the pattern on top of your freezer paper. Using scissors (I have a pair strictly for cutting felt and I HIGHLY recommend keeping a designated pair) cut out your shapes without dragging the blades as you go. You want nice, crisp cuts for nice, sharp edges rather than ragged and kind of fuzzy ones. If you need more help, check out this post I created a few years back that will show you step by step how to perfectly cut acrylic felt.
If cutting with a machine, for this project you will need:
- SVG cut file
- Cricut felt
- Cricut Maker
- strong grip Cricut cutting mat
- Cricut fine point blade
- matching embroidery floss
- candy canes
Okay, so all of my Cricut peeps I have got to tell you that I am in LOVE with Cricut Felt.
I love this stuff because it cuts like a DREAM. In the past, I had tried to cut felt with my Silhouette and I was never super happy with the results. I figured since I had a machine I could have it do the cutting for me so I could get on with stitching my project up, but it just never, ever worked out. When I got my Cricut Maker this summer I was super stoked about getting back into cutting projects and I bought a little bit of everything Cricut my local Michael’s store had to offer. One of the things I grabbed was a Carousel sampler of felt. Guys, it was such a good thing. I LOVE THIS FELT. It’s a little bit stiff and if you have a Cricut Maker you don’t need to stabilize it or anything.
What you do need is a strong grip Cricut cutting mat and a nice and sharp Cricut fine point blade. With a firm hand, smooth your acrylic felt onto your mat and cut using the Cricut felt setting. As you cut the felt it will sort of collect around the blade inside of the housing making it cut more and more poorly as you go along. Simply pop your blade housing out of the machine and clean every second, or so, cut to keep things cutting smoothly.
For each reindeer, you will need 2 head pieces (one with a neck if you’re making a reindeer wearing a bowtie), 2 white eye pieces, 1 nose piece in red or black, and 2 rectangular pieces that are NOT included in the SVG file because every time I tried to save with them things went wonky. These rectangular pieces are for your hair bows or bowties and you’ll need to place these in your cut file. Create one rectangle sized at 0.333 x 1.986 inches and another sized at 0.653 x 4.167 inches.
Now if you hand cut your felt and you wish it was faster and you craft pretty regularly, I really think you should consider a Cricut Maker. It’s a bit pricey as far as craft equipment goes, but it’s also extremely helpful and really versatile. In fact, you’ll probably find ways to use this machine that you never would have considered before!
Now that your pieces are cut with your preferred method, let’s put them together:
First, stitch your nose and eyes onto one of your felt pieces using appropriately matching embroidery floss. For the eyes, create an asterisk, or starburst by crossing 3 stitches over one another in the center of your round felt circles. My first iteration used an X and they looked dead or something. My second I used a smaller felt circle in black but that was too dark. Just like Goldilocks, I found the perfect solution with the asterisk on the third try :)
To really play up the handmade nature of these run a stitch in a color slightly lighter or darker than the color of the felt face all around the outer edge like seen above.
Leaving an opening of a little over half an inch at the top of the head and the chin of the reindeer to insert your candy canes, place your 2 face pieces (a decoratively stitched front and a plain back) and blanket stitch around the outer edge. Need help with the blanket stitch? I’ve got you covered right here: How to Sew the Blanket Stitch. Alternatively, you can also glue the 2 pieces together. With the stitched details on the front, these guys are still super adorably handmade.
I was first going to buy little bows from the store, but I realized I could have so many different color options if I went with the felt I had already purchased. With 2 rectangles and some matching embroidery floss, you can easily make these cuties placed near the ear for a hair bow or on the neck for a bowtie.
Loop the larger rectangle like seen above, with just a slight amount of overlap.
Center that overlap and then push down to flatten the circle. In the center stitch the circle into a continuous loop with with only 1 or 2 small stitches.
Pull the floss nice and tight to gather the felt into a bow shape. Wrap the floss around and around the center to hold the bow shape in place. Using glue or your needle and thread, tack the smaller rectangle to cover the center, trimming the rectangle as needed. (Say hi to my orange kitty JouJou :)
Attach your bow through the neck or ear area of a pieced together reindeer to finish each one up. (Say hi to my pastel calico kitty Maybe, too :) Use a good 3 or 4 stitches through the bow’s knot and the 2 face pieces to make sure it is well attached.
Push 2 candy canes in through the center of your reindeer’s felt face and turn them to face outward on each side and you’ve got a candy cane reindeer!
Because I love all things colorful I actually made 8 reindeer candy cane cozies in total. Four I made with colorful faces and colorful bows and used (you guessed it!) colorful candy canes for their antlers.
Now I tried giving one of these guys a red Rudolph nose but it just really didn’t work very well and so all of my colorful reindeer have the black noses.
For a more traditional look, I also made reindeer candy cane cozies using brown and tan felt and the classic, red and white peppermint candy canes for antlers.
With red and green bows, these guys still have some cute color AND the red nose for a couple of Rudolph reindeers worked really well!
In all honesty, I simply cannot choose a favorite because, quite honestly, I love them ALL!