When I was growing up, “ugly Christmas sweaters” were just called “Christmas sweaters.” Thankfully, ugly sweater parties are now a dime a dozen, so you can pull out the heavily patterned threads you’ve been hanging on to since 1986 (but told everyone you just bought at Goodwill) and go have a holly jolly time. Before you leave the house, consider making ugly sweater plant cozies as a hostess gift or home decoration for yourself to match your favorite sweater designs of yore.
Things You’ll Need
- Old sweaters (button-down cardigans with ribbed waistbands and cuffs work well. I used adult-size medium.)
- Fabric scissors
- Hot glue and glue gun
- Felt (I used brown, yellow and white)
- Googly eyes
- Small twigs or sticks
- Terra cotta pots (I used two 4-by-6-inch round pots)
- Wintery plants or pinecones
- Potting soil
Parents or kids aged 7-plus can make the plant cozies by wrapping the ribbed waistband of an old sweater around the width of the pot, overlapping it slightly. Note how much fabric you will need to cover the full height of your pot, and then use scissors to cut the excess fabric off of the sweater.
Wrap a single band of the ribbed sweater fabric completely around the terra cotta pot and hot glue the overlapping ends of the fabric together. Depending on how tapered your pot is, you may need to overlap the sweater ribbing more tightly at the base of the pot to prevent it from slipping off.
Allow the glue to dry, and remove any hot glue strings.
Cut both ribbed sleeve cuffs off of your sweater.
Flatten one of the cuffs and cut down both sides of it so that you’ll have two even pieces. Reserve the second cuff for your second ugly sweater plant cozy.
Roll both pieces of the cuff into long, skinny cylinders, and hot glue the overlapping seam on each cylinder to make mini sweater sleeves. I folded the ends back to make mini cuffs for the mini sleeves.
Use hot glue to carefully attach the sleeves to your existing ugly sweater base, positioning one sleeve on each side of the pot.
Now comes the fun decorating part! After your terra cotta pot is wearing its sweater, grab the kids, the googly eyes, felt, yarn, tinsel, etc. I had a request for a reindeer sweater, so like the JibJab inspired photo ornaments we made, I started by cutting out an oval from the brown felt.
Using only a drop of hot glue in the center of the oval, I tacked it down in the center of the mini sweater. I cut out teardrop-shaped ears from the brown and yellow felt and glued them in place.
Next, I hot glued the eyes in place and then grabbed a couple of forked “antlers” from the tree in our backyard and snipped the tiny twigs down to size.
Because the felt reindeer face was tacked down with only a little glue in the center, I squirted more hot glue around the inside perimeter of the oval and nestled the antlers between the felt face and the sweater base. I also held the antlers in place until the glue set, about one minute.
The reindeer needed only a nose and mouth to complete the look, so I sifted through my button collection to find the proper nose. You could use pom-poms, beads, Christmas tree bulbs or any number of things to create a nose for your sweater pal.
I found a candy cane button and glued it in place. I then cut a small length of yarn for his mouth and glued that down as well.
With the reindeer sweater plant cozy complete, I started on a second design. (One ugly Christmas sweater plant cozy to keep and one to give away?)
This sweater base was created by wrapping the buttoned portion of an old sweater around the pot. Note how much fabric you will need to cover the full height of your pot, and then use scissors to cut the excess fabric off of the sweater. Glue the overlapping ends together so that the fabric fits snugly around the pot.
To cover the frayed ends at the top of the pot, I cut some of the neck band from the original sweater and glued it down over the frayed edge to mimic a cardigan. I then created mini sweater arms from the second sleeve cuff (that I had set aside when making the reindeer cozy) and glued an arm on each side of the pot.
Next, I cut two snowflake shapes from white felt (you could cut trees, holly, candy canes, Santa heads or snowmen) and glued them onto the sweater front.
With two ugly Christmas sweater plant cozies ready to go, I potted up a giant pinecone and tiny Christmas tree with potting soil and set them out for display.