DIY Christmas Sheep

by Susan on November 27, 2012

Ah, the holidays! That magical time of year when we take on way too much because everything must be perfect!

I don’t generally have themed Christmas trees, but this year, I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted my tree to look like. I came up with this project thinking it would be incredibly simple to pull off and that the results would be okay. Instead, it was the complete opposite: it was a lot more work to get it done than I expected but the finished project is fantastic!

sheep on trees

I had it in my head that I would easily be able to find wooden cutouts shaped like sheep. There are such cutouts available at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, but the sheep was very cartoon-y and not at all what I wanted.


This was not the look I was going for.

I enlisted BY HAND’s Build editor, Paul Kocurek, to help, since power tools would be involved. On Paul’s advice, I purchased birch crafter’s plywood at the craft store. To get the shape I wanted, I trace the edges of a photograph I had taken of one of my sheep onto card stock and used it as a template. Paul cut the wood into equal-sized rectangles, which he stuck together with double-sided carpet tape. I traced the sheep design onto the top piece of wood and we were off to the races.

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2012-11-26 19.08.51

Once all the sheep were cut out, I filed down the rougher edges.  I wanted the sheep to be slightly primitive, so I didn’t go crazy it.

Once my sheep were cut out, it was the work of minutes to wrap them with scarp yarn. Simply start at one end and tuck the ends of the yarn in when you’ve got the look you want. This is a great opportunity to use up some of those pieces that are too long to throw away! I played around with a different colors, weights and textures, but ultimately went with a natural, monochromatic palette.

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Rather than drilling a hole in the sheep, I used green ornament hooks and slipped them right under a piece of the yarn. Easy-peasy!

Since finishing my own Christmas tree, I have found a few realistic, laser cut wooden sheep available for sale online here and here. To be honest, I think I like mine better, but they are a great alternative if you don’t have access to a band saw. Another option is to cut the sheep out of mat board with an Exacto knife, which gives you the option of mixing and matching the colored mats with colored yarns.


1 hilary November 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Brilliant! And adorable. And thank you for the embroidery book, which arrived today. I’d forgotten all about it, so it was a lovely surprise!

2 Susan November 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Oh good, Hilary! I forgot to tell you it was on the way, so I’m glad you got it.

3 Annie Mustain November 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

turned out adorable!!!

4 Anna November 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Brilliant Susie! I absolutely love these!!

5 Suzy L November 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm

So so so cute! Love this project!

6 Paulette G November 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Love this. Good work, both you and Paul.

7 Carole Pivarnik November 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

So so cute!

8 Evie November 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm

What a great idea!

9 Shelley Noble November 28, 2012 at 1:15 am

Terrific design, Susan. A perfect idea for your tree. Simple, primitive, meaningful. Awesome.

10 Helen November 28, 2012 at 5:16 am

These are wonderful. I’m between places for Christmas this year, but I’m making them anyway!

11 jamie November 28, 2012 at 6:38 am

love this idea and would love to give a try~ :) thanks~

12 Tamara November 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

Would love to see a shot of the full tree! This is such a great idea, I think I may give it a whirl today…have been looking for a simple and elegant handmade something-or-other to add to the tree, and this fits the bill perfectly!

13 Anna Gagne=Hawes November 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I LOVE this idea! I’m absolutely going to make these as my holiday gifts this year! Thank you so much for the inspiration – I absolutely adore your blog! Cheers, Anna

14 Karen December 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Just wonderful! I would so love to have these on my tree!

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