So, initially, this seems like a Christmas craft idea (and perhaps it ultimately is), but it actually began as a back to school project and turned into a school fundraiser.
If your kids wear school uniforms, you probably have some kind of “used uniform swap” before the year begins. Our school’s parent group collects any unwanted uniforms and then sells them on the cheap in early August. We generally sell all the pricey plaid and nicer skirts, but polo shirts are a little too plentiful. We literally had hundreds.
While we’d like to donate everything we don’t sell, the school has a policy about NOT donating clothing with the school logo. It really felt like a waste to have these old shirts piling up. A significant number of the polo shirts had our “old” logo on them, and were less desirable to students… we started brainstorming how to rid ourselves of this burden.
The shirts themselves have buttons down the middle, so pillows and quilt squares were a fail. On top of that, the red, navy and white cotton was often faded or stained… not great for large projects at all.
That’s when I came up with this idea that really requires only a corner of the shirt. These little embroidered hoop ornaments are all the rage on the craft circuit right now (I own a couple of cool designs by local crafter MaeDay Threads www.etsy.com/shop/MaeDayThreads). Personally, I don’t have the patience for embroidery, so this is as close to “hoop art” as I get.
I think this ornament would also be a great way to preserve your baby’s most memorable clothing or even frame up the logo from an old tee for your fave team. SO VERSITILE!
First off, figure out what size of hoop will best accommodate your logo. I used a 4” hoop. At your local craft store, these are generally stocked in sizes 3 to 12 inches. Online, the possibilities are pretty endless. They sell them as tiny as 1 inch! SO CUTE.
I live in a mid-size city, and none of the stores here sell more than 5 of any given size hoop. I needed dozens, so I ordered mine on Craftsy.com. I bought every single hoop they had in stock. 114. Of course, the hoops were much cheaper to buy in bulk (just 91 cents each YAY).
I got Darice brand hoops simply because I knew the quality would be fine. My only complaint: they had really sticky barcode stickers on them which were a pain to remove from the wood. Ohhh yeah… I had to bust out the Goo Gone!
Since the fabric I was using was rather stretchy, I wanted to back it with some sturdy quilting cotton, just to give it a nice smooth face that wouldn’t warp over time. Nobody is going to see this fabric, so just use whatever you have laying around.
Now for cutting! I found this very therapeutic. Something about destroying over a hundred shirts was so liberating LOL.
I simplified this with a stencil. If you’re making a lot of these, it’s worth making one. If not, just find something with a round base to trace. You want to give yourself an extra 1.5” diameter on top of your hoop diameter. 4+1.5= 5.5” diameter circle. You’ll need one cut from the shirt and one cut from the scrap cotton fabric.
Now time to assemble! Lay the inner circle of your hoop down on your working surface and place your scrap cotton fabric circle on top. Next put your logo fabric on top of the cotton and fit the outer hoop last. Make sure you have the pin closure as close to “top center” of the ornament as possible. Tighten the outer hoop and pull any loose fabric taught until your ornament looks the way you want.
Now we’re going to glue everything shut. Turn your ornament over so it’s face down on your work surface. With your glue gun, glue your excess fabric down onto the inside of the inner hoop.
I like to have a super “finished” look to anything I sell, so I went ahead and cut some circles out of cardstock for the back of these ornaments. I have a Silhouette cutting machine, so this was easy-peasy, but of course you can just trace your finished ornament and cut this out by hand. For a cutting machine, I recommend a 4.378-inch circle for a 4” hoop. So, we need to push the outer hoop back just a smidge so that we can see close to 1/8 of an inch of the inner circle coming forward with our T-shirt on it. Now we’ll apply hot glue to the back of the outer circle and stick our cardstock on.
Last, we move on to trimmings. I bought some decorative swirl ornament hooks and 3/8” satin ribbon in a contrasting color. Tie the bow around the pin closure posts at the top so it’ll be nice and secure and burn the ribbon ends with a lighter so they don’t fray. Then loop your hook under the pin itself. You’ve just made a super simple and cute ornament 😊!
If you want to go a step further, decorate the hoop itself! Self-adhesive gemstones are easy and give a nice sparkly effect. Decorative paper trims and pearls are great too! The possibilities are endless! You’ll need about 12″ of trimmings for a 4″ hoop.
All said and done we spent less than $2 on the plain ornaments and $3 on our bling-ed version. Consider selling these for $5 to $8 each for an endearing winter fundraiser! These make great family keepsakes and your school’s families will love them!