Merry men

From cookie to christmas tree, these iconic figures get a new lease of life.

You will need:

  • Paper or thin card

  • Thin felt pen

  • Sharp embroidery scissors

  • Pins

  • 24 x 14in (60 x 35cm) sheet of brown felt

  • Foam pad

  • ½ oz (10g merino wool in white

  • ¼ oz (5g) merino wool in each of dark pink, light pink, blue, light blue, green and light green

  • Felting needle with handle

  • Red and white string

  • Medium-sized embroidery needle

These pretty gingerbread people are lovely for Christmas decorations, and you can make a whole family.

Use ready-made felt or make your own, which can give you a more interesting texture. I opt for a combination of brown wools to get a baked biscuit appearance.


1 Cutting your shape: Using a cookie cutter or generic image of a gingerbread man, trace the outline onto paper or thin card and cut out. Place this at the corner edge of your felt sheet and pin on. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut around the shape. Move this template and cut out as many people as you can. Remove the pin and paper, and lay the felt cut-out flat on the needle-felting foam pad.

2 Adding the eyes: Pull off a small piece of white wool and roll it up into a small ball using your fingers. Position the eye on your gingerbread person. Insert your felting needle into the middle of the eye and press a few times so the fibres go into the felt. If the eye looks a bit small, add a little more wool. Wrap any loose fibres around the tip of the needle and insert the needle back into the felt to push the fibres down. Repeat this step for the other eye.

3 Adding a smile: Pull off another piece of white wool and roll it with your fingers to make a long piece, the size of a smile. Using your felting needle, start at one end to attach the smile, pressing into the felt. Work the needle across to the other end of the mouth. Make sure the wool is completely felted by going over the edges with your needle.

4 Adding buttons: Pull off a small wisp of coloured wool of your choice and roll into a ball. Add it to your person using the felting needle. Work your needle around the edges into a circular shape, to create a round button. Repeat this step for the other two buttons, using different colours.

5 Adding clothes: For the cuffs, socks and skirt, or any other clothes you like, use pieces of white wool and add in the same way as the smile. Just add another piece of white wool if your strip is not long enough. To add curvy lines, use one hand to hold the wool in place, and the other to press with your felting needle. If you make any mistakes you can simply pull the wool off and start again.

6 Adding a hanging loop: Tie a piece of red and white string 8in (20cm) to make a loop. Place the knot on the back of your gingerbread person and attach using a spare piece of brown wool and your felting needle.

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