Halloween is a great time of year to carve pumpkins, tell spooky stories, and dress up in acostume for trick or treating. These pillow covers make great Halloween decorations and candy sacks for running around the neighborhood! The best part is that this craft uses pillows you already have around your house, and once Halloween is over, the covers come right off to be stored for next year. These instructions make 1 pillow.

Supplies:

  • 2 orange 100-percent wool sweaters
  • 1 black 100-percent wool sweater
  • Washing machine
  • 1 tablespoon detergent
  • Water soluble pen
  • Scissors
  • Dressmaker’s chalk
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • 1 skein black embroidery floss
  • Sewing machine

Note: This is a great use for any wool sweaters that might be too small, riddled with holes, or just not worn anymore. Check thrift stores and second-hand shops for sweaters, too.

Method:

  1. Cut the largest of your orange sweaters into a nice square shape. This involves cutting off the sleeves, sides, and back. Do not worry about your sweater fitting around your existing pillow just yet, because it is going to shrink when it is washed. Save the sleeves, sides,and extra pieces as those will be used to create the backing of your pillow. Leave the other orange and black sweaters whole as these will be cut after the felting process.Felting is the process of matting the fibers in the wool into a thicker, sturdier fabric.This is done through agitation (in a washing machine) and with a little bit of detergent.
  2. Using the hottest temperature setting and the lowest water-level setting (if available) on your washer, place all the parts from your sweater and the whole sweaters into the washer. Add the detergent and turn on the washer.
  3. When the washing cycle is done, pull the sweater pieces out. You will notice that the pieces have shrunk and become thicker. If any parts of your sweater look less felted you can put them in the dryer for about ten minutes. Just keep checking on them so you don’t over-felt.
  4. Lay out the felted sweaters and sweater pieces to dry completely.
  5. Take the uncut orange felted sweater and have your children draw a pumpkin onto the largest area of the sweater, using the water soluble pen. Using scissors, cut the pumpkin out and set aside.
  6. Have your children draw a jack-o’-lantern’s face on the felted black sweater using the dressmaker’s chalk. Cut all the pieces out.
  7. Using the pins, attach the pumpkin and face pieces onto the large square of felted sweater that is your pillow front.
  8. Thread the needle with the black embroidery floss and use a blanket stitch to sew the pumpkin onto the pillow front. Sew on the face in the same manner.
  9. If your felted jack-o-lantern piece is much too small to cover the front of a pillow, add pieces from the sweater arms, sides, and back as needed to make the piece larger. You can also work with more than one sweater to have extra material. If your sweater is larger than your pillow, that is okay. The sweater pieces should measure at least 1 inch bigger on all sides than your existing pillow. The measurements from now on will be for a standard 10-inch throw pillow.
  10. Lay the 11-by-11-inch front (with the jack-o’-lantern), Right side up on a clean work surface.
  11. Get your extra sweater pieces and cut two rectangles measuring 6 inches by 11 inches each. Lay these over the front side so that the edges are lined up, and the center edges overlap by 1 inch in the middle. Pin the sides together along the entire outside edge. You may also want to pin the back in place where the two fabrics overlap.
  12. Using a sewing machine, sew around the entire outside edge leaving a 1 inch seam allowance. Turn the pillow cover Right side out, through the opening where the two back sides overlap. Insert your pillow. You can also experiment with other colors. Try an all-black pillow with a white applique ghost.

Note: Once you decide on your pillowform size add a 1-inch seam allowance to your pillow dimension. For instance, if you choose an 8-inch pillow, your fabric should be cut to 9 inches.

Red Tricycle has teamed up with Chronicle Books to bring you kid-friendly craft projects that will engage, entertain, and wow your kiddos. If you like today’s kids craft project, make sure to  pick up the book Every Day’s a Holiday by Heidi Kenny, and don’t forget to visitChronicle Books for even more great craft ideas.