How to make adorable retro ornaments shaped like birds & butterflies: A vintage craft project

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How to make adorable retro ornaments shaped like birds & butterflies
Retro ornaments craft: Dress up your home for the holidays with birds and butterflies to grace a Christmas tree

By Audrey Brown

Here’s a bright new idea in tree decoration: Fanciful birds and butterflies in inexpensive, easy-to-sew felt.

For our Lovey Birds, Old Owl, and Lady Dove — along with their nesting and nestling friends —  you’ll need only felt scraps, sequins, glue, and our easy patterns and directions. Wouldn’t they make delightful additions to your tree this year?

How to make adorable retro ornaments shaped like birds and butterflies (1)


Felt scraps in a variety of colors; cotton batting; sequins; metallic-mesh scrubber; gold thread; cardboard (for making enlarged pattern pieces); extra-strong white glue.


Felt scraps; sequins; ice-cream sticks: burned-out wooden matches; nail polish; black paint (or, if you prefer, a color to match wings); gold thread; cardboard; extra-strong white glue.

How to make adorable retro ornaments shaped like birds and butterflies (2)

Have a crafty Christmas! Retro holiday decor you can make with ideas from the ’60s


For each decoration, enlarge our pattern by drawing criss-cross lines on cardboard, vertically and horizontally, with a ruler, spacing the lines 1″ apart. Then copy the pattern, one square at a time, using a ruler or compass where necessary. Cut out the enlarged cardboard pattern and use it as a guide in cutting shapes from felt.


Cut bird patterns as follows: LOVEY BIRDS (page 40, top, middle)-FIGS. 1, 2, and 3; SNOWY BIRD (page 40, middle, Left)-FIGS. 4 and 5; TWIN NESTLINGS ( page 40, bottom, left)- FIG. 6; OLD OWL (page 40, middle, rig/If) -F1c;s. 7, 8, and 9; PURPLE-WING BLUEBIRD (page 40, bottom, right)-FIGS. 10 and 11; LADY DOVE (page 41, to/>,)-FI(;. 12; GREEN BIRD (page 41, second from top)- FIG. 4; WHITE-WING MAGENTA BIRD (page 41. bottom)-FIGS. 8, 10, and 11. (NOTE: Patterns are not given for the simpler decorative parts — such as circles, and strips for fringe tails).

For bird bodies, cut out front and back at the same time from 2 pieces of felt. Where dotted lines indicate, place pattern on fold of felt. Machine-stitch bird body pieces together, leaving 1″ opening at tail. Stuff lightly (figures should be quite flat), insert tailpiece into opening where indicated, and stitch or glue to close. Trim felt %” from seam with scissors or pink~ ing shears. Glue on wings, sequins, eyes, beaks, and crests, as shown in photo (Pages 40-41). Place Twin Nestlings (page 40, bottom, left) in metallic-mesh- scrubber nest; hang to tree with gold thread. Hang felt figures with gold thread run through top back with a needle and tied in a long loop.

ALSO SEE  4 old-school Halloween party table decorations & menu ideas from 100+ years ago

Retro craft bird patterns

How to craft clever Christmas ornaments from paper (1960)


Cut patterns as follows: ORANGE BUTTERFLY (page 40, top, Left)-FIG. 13; YELLOW BUTTERFLY (page 40, top, right)-FIG. 14; BLUE BUTTERFLY (page 41, lower right) – petaled section of FIG. 14.

For each butterfly, glue 2 ice-cream sticks together, placing midpoint of one stick across 1/3 of the length of the other, at right angles. Glue 2 burned-out matches to short (head) end of one stick (for antennae). Paint sticks and matches black; let dry. Tip matches with nail polish. Glue 1″ head circle to head stick at base of matches. Glue wing parts and trimming to cross stick, following decorative placement shown in the photo on pages 40-41. Hang to Christmas tree with gold thread.Retro craft butterfly patterns

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