Friday, January 8, 2010

How To Make a "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" Tree in 10 Easy Steps

* To see our reviews of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Chicka Chicka 123, click here and here, respectively.

This project may look time consuming, but it only took us a couple of brief sewing sessions.  It really is quite easy, and (don't tell anyone) it doesn't have to be perfect.  I involved my two year-old by letting him choose the fabric (and buttons) and sitting him on my lap while I used the sewing machine (he presses the needle up and down button and lockstitch buttons when needed).

1.  Gather your materials.

You will need:
Green fabric scraps (for leaves) - 8 pieces sized 5 inches x 7 inches
Brown fabric scraps (for trunk) - 2 pieces sized 13 inches by 7 inches
Three small felt scraps (approximately 2 inches square)
Batting or stuffing of some kind.
Buttons (optional) or small pieces of brown felt or fabric.
Thread (ideally green, brown, and a match to the color of your felt letters)
Fabric scissors
Sewing machine (or a whole lot of patience for hand sewing)

2.  Cut your pieces. 

You will need two equally sized brown pieces, approximately 7 x 13 inches.

You will also need eight green pieces, approximately 5 x 7 inches.  This photo shows a felt scrap, but we used green fabric (because I have a dresser full). 

All eight pieces do not need to be the same fabric or size.  We used three different kinds of fabric.  You may notice in our tree that the leaves are all different sizes.  I did not measure at all.  You just need to make sure every piece matches another piece in size, since you are making fronts and backs of the leaves.  Pair your green fabric scraps into sets of two and cut them all out into leave shapes - roughly an oval with a point on one end.

3.  Sew your trunk and leaves.

Sew your tree trunk fabric RIGHT SIDES together, leaving a two inch opening where you do not sew.  Lock your stitch at the beginning and end of the line.  Do the same for each of your four leaves. 

4.  Turn right side out.

Using the two inch opening you left, turn your trunk and leaves inside out.  You can use a pencil to poke out the corners inside.

5.  Stuff with batting.

I used this bag of polyester "snow" - an after Christmas 75% off sale find, perfect for stuffing toys!  I wish I had bought a few bags.  I tried to let my little helper stuff the filling in, but it proved a little difficult to get it into the small openings.  Older children will enjoy this task, though, or younger ones can hand you pieces of the stuffing to push in.

Note: I considered including some rice in the bottom of the tree trunk so that it could stand on its own.  

6. Sew the openings shut.

Sew the openings shut by hand.  I'll admit to only really knowing one way to handsew - a whipstitch, perhaps?  Whatever works for you to get them shut.  The leaves will now look like this.

7.  Attach leaves to the trunk.

My handsewing skills being as limited as they are, I used some sort of combination whipstitch, running stitch, "stab the needle in and out and hope it is helping in some way" method, and they seem to be fairly firmly attached.

8.  Give it a test cuddle.

9.  Cut out felt a, b, and c letters and sew onto tree.

10.  Sew buttons onto tree.  (Note: Felt circles would avoid the choking hazard, but my son was insistent that we use buttons).  I let him choose the buttons.  First, he chose a red car button, but once I said I thought brown might be a nice color for coconuts, he chose these.  I was impressed!  They weren't the easiest style to sew on.

If you make one, be sure to come link back here with a photo!


Christy said...

I love it!

admin said...

I'd love one for my classroom (hint, hint)!
Hubby bought me a sewing machine years ago. My sister and I took a week long class during the summer. We made a skirt. I had to go back the next week for remediation!! LOL (and my skirt STILL fell apart when I washed it !!)

Little Family Fun said...

So, this is funny but I honestly can't remember if I have left a comment to say hello and thanks for stopping by my blog a while ago!
I guess that's what the holidays can do to ya!
Anyways, in case I haven't already said so, you have a great blog and I can't wait to check it out more!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

LOVE this!! It is so cute! Emily would go nuts for something like this!

Lisa said...

Your handsewing instructions in #7 crack me up. That's about my level of handsewing too.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Your tree is very cute. I've always wanted to make a felt board version for the kids. It is such a fun book to read.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Emma saw this post and she said, "That's really cool! I like that!"

Nadia@FunWithMama said...

great idea, I wonder if I can make this... I just stumbled this post :)

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Brimful I was thinking about a felt version too! I think that would be really fun.

@Nadie thanks for the stumble! You can do it!

@maryanne glad it met Emma's approval! :)

thank you to everyone else too. I've been a bit out of sorts this week, but have appreciated the comments and kind emails. :)

Playing by the book said...

I love love love it! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is one of those books (like Goodnight Moon) that seem to be an essential part of US childhood but which are barely known over here in the UK. Well, some families know them, but they're not "staples" of family reading, which is such a shame.

Annette said...

Thanks for sharing this! I love it!