This is a really easy craft for kids (and adults) that can be made with a minimum of supplies and skill. I'd estimate the age level at 6 and up (with help from grown-ups), but my 4-year-old was able to help with some aspects of this craft.
- Brown felt
- White embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle
- Disappearing ink pen (or chalk)
- Gingerbread man cookie cutter (or download pattern)
Trace cookie cutter to make 2 gingerbread men. Do as I say and not as I do here and make sure your disappearing ink pen shows up on your felt. You can also use chalk.
(Optional) Mark Xs where to cross stitch eyes, mouth and buttons. It's pretty easy to figure out where they go without the markings.
Using the full 6 string thickness of the embroidery thread, cut the string rather short to prevent knots. Knot the bottom of the string. I found that both my 6-year-old and my 11-year-old had no problem with the large Xs, but I did the small Xs for the mouth for my 6-year-old.
When finished with the face, snake the thread through the back of the stitches to secure and cut. Then stitch Xs for the buttons the same way as for the face (short string, knot on end, snake through back of stitches when done).
Estimate the amount of thread needed for sewing around the outside of ornament by circling the thread around it as above and cutting a little extra.
Sew the two pieces together using a running stitch around the perimeter of the ornament. Hide the knot by starting the stitching in the middle of the "sandwich" (see photo above).
When stitching around the perimeter of the ornament, be sure needle catches both top and bottom pieces. Depending on the age of the child, help child hold the two pieces together so they remain straight.
Leave a hole in the side to stuff with fiber-fil.
After stuffing, stitch the hole closed hiding the end piece of the last stitch in the middle of the "sandwich" by piercing only one layer of the felt. Tie a knot as close as possible to the inside of the ornament and tuck inside.
Use a length of embroidery thread to make a loop at the top of the head for a hanger. Tie and turn knot to bottom to hide.
We had fun with different colors of embroidery thread and made sugar-cookie-men in addition to gingerbread men!
To include younger children: let them choose colors and let them hold the cookie cutter while you trace. When stitching, after you pierce the felt with the needle, let them pull the thread all the way through. Consider using a straight upholstery needle, which is dull (a little difficult to push through the felt, but doable) and let them do some of the sewing.
Most of all - have fun!