I’m sure y’all have noticed a slight shift in the color scheme of winter from icy whites and muted blues to soft pinks and bright reds. Sure enough, the day is approaching that we look for the best way to show the love of our life how special they are. It’s always a good idea to tell others what they mean to us. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to show our love to so many in our lives, well beyond that one special person. Last year I shared 10 DIY gift ideas to create for those on your list of appreciations but this year it’s mostly about things to do with those you love, with a few gift ideas sprinkled in here and there. You can look for those starting next week, and today I want to share how to make a fleece photo throw using your home printer.
Materials needed for your fleece throw
- fleece – I used 2 yards of a regular fleece and 2 yards of extra plush
- light to medium weight white woven fabric – 11″ x the width of your fleece
- ribbon – 1 to 2 spools depending on how many pictures you use
- thread – to match the ribbon and the fleece
- freezer paper – 11″ x the width of your fleece
- sewing machine
- straight pins
Printing your pictures onto fabric
This part is one of my favorites because it still blows my mind how simple it is.
Select enough photos to stretch all the way across your fleece from side to side. Typically 8 – 10 pictures will work, allowing some to be wider and some narrower. You will lose 2″ on the outside photos for your hem, so don’t crop them too closely as you edit them to the right size. Once you have selected your photos, Dump them into a file on your computer, like Word, that allows you to adjust them all to a uniform size.
Next, cut freezer paper into as many 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces as needed for each of your pictures. Iron the sticky side of the freezer paper onto what will become the back side of the white fabric. For the best results, use high heat and no steam. Trim the fabric as needed to measure exactly 8 1/2″ x 11″ so it will fit in your printer.
Most of these pictures are a bit blurry to preserve the privacy of the recepient. Thanks for understanding!
Finally, insert your freezer-papered fabric, with the appropriate side up, into your printer and press print. Give it a few minutes for the ink to set in before you touch the printed side to keep from smearing the photo.
Creating your photo strip
Lay your photos out in a strip across your fleece just overlapping the edges so they can be stitched together. You can lay your ribbon between each set of photos to ensure that you have the right amount of overlap. You may have to play with the placement a little bit to get them exactly where you want them.
Once you are pleased with your spacing pin the photos together in sets, for example if you have 8 photos pin together photos 1 & 2 , 3 & 4, 5 & 6 and 7 & 8. Using a wide zig zag setting, stitch each set of photos together. Then you can stitch each set together until you have an entire strip to span the width of your fleece.
Pin a vertical strip of ribbon covering each row of zig zag stitching and joining the photos together. Straight stitch close to the edge of one side of the ribbon, shown above as first row of ribbon stitching. You should now have a strip of photos with ribbon in between each photo.
Adding your photo strip to the fleece
Center your photo strip, from side to side, across the fleece you will be using as the top of your throw. I like to stitch mine about 8″ to 14″ above the bottom of the throw. Starting near the middle of the photo strip and moving to the outsides, stitch down the second side of each vertical ribbon. You may need to repin and smooth the photo strip as needed, just make sure it remains parallel to the bottom of your throw.
Once your photo strip is secured with the vertical ribbons stitched to the fleece, you can add your top and bottom ribbons that stretch all the way across your throw. Center your ribbon along the top and bottom edges of your photo strip and stitch down each side of your ribbon. I find it easiest to pin the top and bottom of the photo strip every 6″ or so and center the ribbon as I stitch. You may also choose to pin your ribbon before stitching, if you prefer.
Assembling your fleece throw
Straighten the raw edges of both pieces of fleece as needed, cutting the back piece of fleece 2″ shorter and 2″ narrower than the front piece. With wrong sides together, center the back of the throw over the front and pin about 2″ in all the way around the edge of the back. Fold the top piece of fleece under 1″ butting it up against the back piece. Fold the top again, also at 1″, creating a double hem. Using plenty of pins, secure the double hem all the way around your throw. With the back side of your throw facing up stitch close to the open edge of your double hem.
And that’s how to make a fleece photo throw using your home printer
I made one of these for the family of the little guy I nanny with for Christmas and he loves to pull it out and point to Mommy and Daddy and their dog and cats. And then he flops on it because that’s what toddlers do.
Several years ago I made one for me and Steve to stay warm at our son’s high school football games. It’s large enough to cover a twin dorm bed and I used his school colors and football and wrestling pictures from his high school days.
As much as I enjoyed doing these, my two favorites may also be the smallest ones I’ve made. A few years ago, Steve’s mom and dad moved to a nursing home into what we call the honeymoon suite. They attended competing state universities and it has been a long-standing family joke, especially during football season. That Christmas my sister-in-law and I made lap quilt sized fleeces for each of them in their team colors. They enjoy the pictures of all their boys, grandkids and great-grandkids whether they’re in their room or out and about. It’s a fun way to brighten up their room and to remind them and those who care for them daily how special they are to their family.
This entire project will take several hours, but you’ll end up with a heartfelt cozy gift that’s sure be a hit in these cold winter months. I enjoy the flood of memories that come as I work on each photo and it becomes a good prayer time for those included in each photo. I don’t know about you but I always welcome reminders to pray for others!
Who do you know that would enjoy a fleece photo throw? And what other occasions can you think of for one of these little treasures?