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How to Make a Plastic Canvas Jack-O-Lantern Ornament
You might remember my Choose Your own Design Adventure PC Ornament tutorial from a while back. Well, as I was working on that one, I came up with this little idea, and am finally getting around to writing it up. (Only took nearly a year!)
These cheerful little guys are super quick and fun to make. Use them as Halloween tree ornaments, if you have such an animal, or as party favors or gift tags. Or, just tack one to your bulletin board to make you smile!
- • 3" 10-count plastic canvas rounds (available in big-box craft stores, or online
- • Scraps of worsted yarn in orange, black, and brown
- • Scrap of embroidery floss in yellow
- • Scrap of felt for backing
- • Scrap of metallic embroidery floss for hanging loop
- • Tapestry needle (big eye, dull point)
- • Chenille needle (smaller eye, sharp point)
- • Removable fabric marker
- • Craft glue
OK, so first, we need a few callbacks. You might want to refer back to the Choose Your Own Design Adventure post to refresh yourself on how these 3" rounds are structured. And you might want to watch my videos on How to Start and End a Strand of Yarn, and How to Make a Whip Stitch Edging.
Next, we need to talk a little about the vagaries of stitching along a curve. You'll basically need two kinds of stitches:
- • A "straight" stitch, where the needle comes up through one hole and then goes back down through another hole that's lined up right below the first one.
- • What I call a "V" stitch, which is where you make two straight stitches side by side, but the holes don't line up perfectly, so you have both stitches share the same hole at the bottom.
I'll tell you a bit about where to use straight stitches and where to use "V" stitches below, but please feel free to vary your stitching whenever you need to. The "V" stitch is basically a corrective stitch – if you made all straight stitches, the misalignment of holes in the PC would eventually cause them to slant. An occasional "V" stitch keeps everything looking like it's stitched straight out from center.
Don't worry; this will all make more sense shortly.
Given that things are a little loosey-goosey with these stitches, I think it's easier to show you the stitch pattern in steps rather than trying to make a formal diagram out of it. So, begin by stitching a ring in the center. Start your stitches in the open center area, and end them four rows out. Stitch all the way around this ring, and as you go, you'll be kind of crowding the stitches into that center part. Don't worry too much about this; if you pull the stitches pretty snug, it'll all look just fine.
Now, we need to start a second ring, but the placement of the first stitches is important. So orient the crosshair in the center of the PC round so that it forms an "X". Then, work upward from that "X" and make four stitches. Start these stitches in the ring you just finished and end them two rows out.
For this little group of four stitches, make one straight stitch, one "V" stitch, and one more straight stitch.
After these four stitches, stop stitching. Let the orange yarn hang from your work, and thread your needle with some black yarn.
Now, with the black yarn, Make two additional "V" stitches on either side of the four orange ones. These are your pumpkin's eyes.
Now let the black yarn hang, and thread the orange yarn back onto your needle.
Stitch a little more of the ring with the orange. On each side of the eyes, make two straight stitches, then one "V" stitch, and then two more straight stitches.
Then it's time to stitch up the mouth, so let that orange yarn hang again and thread the black back onto your needle. Continue stitching in the same ring, but make some stitches shorter, as shown above. I just did a repeating pattern here: make two regular-size stitches, followed by one shorter one and so on. That forms some little teeth.
By all means, you can vary the way you stitch the mouth! For the pumpkin at right, I used a pattern of two long and two short stitches. It doesn't fit symmetrically into the area, but who cares? it's a funny, lopsided kind of grin. So feel free to make those teeth less evenly-spaced, or wider, or fewer!
…And while that black yarn is still on your needle, go ahead and stitch a cross stitch in that open center area. (If you want more coverage, stitch that cross stitch over a couple times.) Now your pumpkin has a nose. And with that done, you can end that black yarn strand.
Then, thread up the orange one last time and stitch the outermost ring, filling in longer stitches anywhere you added teeth to the mouth.
I really like this little stem detail, but fair warning: it wastes a fair amount of a PC round. If that bothers you, you can totally leave it out! (Or, if you make several pumpkins at once, you can cut all their stems from one PC round.)
Trim out a section like this: four squares wide by four squares tall. Then stitch nine continental stitches in brown to fill it in.
We'll attach the stem to the pumpkin with a back stitch. Thread some black yarn onto your needle and tie a knot in the end. Place the stem at the top of the pumpkin, overlapping the two pieces by one row of squares.
Bring the needle up through both layers, two holes from the right-hand edge of the stem. Pull the yarn all the way through until the knot catches. And then pass the needle back down through both layers at the right-most square of the stem. That forms the first back stitch.
You'll make three back stitches across the stem, and as you can see above, these lay right next to the whip stitched edging, so they end up being invisible. Pull these stitches nice and tight so the stem is firm and doesn't move around.
An optional detail: Thread some yellow floss onto a chenille needle and take several little stitches into the eye areas to make highlights. (You could also glue on a couple sequins, or cut some little highlights from felt and glue them on.)
Now, use a removable fabric marker to trace the pumpkin, stem and all, onto a piece of felt. Cut the felt out.
Take about 6" of metallic floss and tie the ends into a knot, as shown here. Put some craft glue on the felt , and then place the hanging loop in the glue. Then, stick the whole thing to the back of the pumpkin.
Place the finished ornament under a book for an hour or so to dry. And you're done!