Saturday, December 21, 2013

DIY Vintage Camper Ornaments

Need a last minute gift or unique package tie-on? If you've got some felt scraps in your stash, you're all set! 
The inspiration for my ornaments came from...
our first camper, a little orange "Tab".

My sister and her husband have a Tab, too. Theirs is red and decorated with New England Patriot logos. I knew I'd have to make an ornament in their colors too!

I made my pattern on Mylar. I found lots of vintage camper photos to help me along in one of my favorite "eye-candy" books, Sisters On the Fly. This little book is loaded with stories and photos of women who restore, decorate, and travel together through the west in vintage campers.
I aspire to join them someday.

The book also includes recipes, but I was looking for simple camper graphics, like this one.
Sometimes I just use objects from around the house to inspire a project of these camper lights from the garage.

Once you're sufficiently inspired, sketch your pattern onto oak tag, cardboard, or, in this case, Mylar. If you're like me, you'll want to have an art eraser handy!
 Next, cut out and label your pattern pieces.

Pin pattern pieces to a layer of iron-on Pellon to add stiffness. Some crafters use a layer of cardboard instead...your choice.

I ironed Heat 'n Bond onto the felt I planned to use for the smaller trim pieces so that I could iron them onto the camper body, holding them in place until I added the decorative embroidery. If you plan to use this, it's easier to iron the Heat 'n Bond to the whole felt square before cutting out the pieces.

Next, pin the pattern pieces to the felt, in the colors you have chosen for the body and trim.  
Remember to place the pattern pieces upside down for the back if you are making a two-sided ornament.

I outlined the trim pieces of my ornaments with embroidery using a simple running stitch or, on some, a blanket stitch. This is optional if you have already adhered your trim pieces with Heat 'n Bond but I like the finished look the embroidery adds..

My ornaments are about 4 inches long; you can design your pattern to be any size you like. Don't worry if you draw the pattern too big or too small the first time, just use your printer to shrink or enlarge it. Easy-peasy!

My neice, Katy, and her friend, Kelly, came over one snowy day to make ornaments with me. They are both twenty-somethings on a tight budget and worked all day making ornaments for Christmas gifts. Instead of campers, they made adorable cocktail ornaments from Pinterest at this link...

and fortune cookies from a blog called Just Call Me Mommy. The fortune cookies were originally designed for Valentine's Day but Katy and Kelly made them in Christmas colors and wrote Christmas greetings inside. They were easy (just little folded circles of felt) and came out great!

They even left a fortune cookie for me!

 I found these little charms in the jewelry-making section of Michael's Craft Store and sewed onto each ornament to personalize the gift. Each charm says, "Made with Love". The ornaments are hung with loops of red and white Baker's twine.


And there you have it...a whole RV Park full of vintage campers for the tree!

Here are ours...

Adding memories of camping trips gone-by to our tree.

Now I think I'm almost done...???
Merry Christmas!


  1. Dear Cheryl...I first want to say how talented and soooooo... creative you are and how sweet these ornaments are. I have been wanting to write on your blog for many moons now ... I am an avid reader and follow every post but the past few weeks have been pretty much taken up with doctor appointments for my hubby with biopsies, ct-scans, blood work, follow-up appointments and in general just being saturated in the medical establishment and we're still not at the point of having a final diagnosis as there is another procedure scheduled next week for him and I'm hoping it will finally bring forth "the light at the end of the tunnel" so to speak and we'll know what he is facing.

    So...I have wanted to spend some time commenting on so many of your interesting posts like the one about your lunch in Cornish and all of the beautiful photos and your visit to Sunrise Corner...two very special places for me too. When we first moved to Maine over 15 years ago we bought our first house in Cornish and the minute I drove in the driveway of our new home there it immediately felt like home. I have such fond memories of the 5 years we spent there and one of them was when my husband and I also went to Sunrise of my favorite places to go to...she has so much stuff it's hard to take it all in, in just one visit. I did a little floral design work for her and made some dried floral arrangements for her to sell in the main house.

    I also loved reading about the vintage campers and I went off on a tangent reading about other women who blog about their adventures traveling around in their tiny little campers. I would love nothing more than to be able to do that hubby and I talk about it all the time but have never had the opportunity to do it.

    Finally I wanted to thank you for all of your lovely comments and your kind words and I really do look forward to reading every new post of yours. I hope that you have a lovely Christmas...even if we don't have our kids at home...I'm hopeful that they will be home sometime soon and especially when it's better weather outside. Although I know my daughter loves the snow at Christmas...don't see much of that in Tennessee so I send her lots of photos. Take care Cheryl... Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year. Hugs and Blessings.

  2. Cheryl, these are just the cutest ornaments ever. And the little trailers you and your sister have are so cute and tiny. You even have trailer decor lights. How fun! Looks like you and your nieces had a great time crafting ornaments. Has the storm hit you there? We had some ice pellets this afternoon but it's kind in a lull at the moment. More on the way. Stay safe. Hugs, Pamela

  3. These are just too cute! Love them! You are so talented! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. How cute! I love your ornaments, but I love your little trailer even more. I don't think I have ever seen one like it.

  5. These are adorable and I love the camper lights and your camper too.


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