Inspiration + Process | Plushie Ornaments

Full disclosure : We source pre-made t-shirts to silk screen our designs on. These tees, while produced in eco-friendly facilities with eco-friendly fabrics, come with tear-away/removable tags sewn into them. We de-tag the shirts, add our private label and combined with all the other sewing projects we do, we're left with boxes and boxes of scraps!

As a boot-strapping entrepreneur, and serious environmentalist I look at every resource as an asset, and something that should be utilized, instead of discarded, so we turn these scraps into fiber-fill for our plushie holiday ornaments.

Ornaments are not only a ton of fun to create. merchandise and decorate with; they're a great way for us to work through materials we don't really have a use for with our printed apparel line.

All of our ornaments are crafted by hand from 100% upcycled materials. Let's dive into the process with our Anchor Ornaments...

It started with a coarse scrap of navy blue canvas about 6 feet long and 7" wide. There wasn't much I could think to do with the scrap but it had the sensibilities of something durable, reliable and strong, like an anchor. I used our "tiny anchor" print, added a border of dots, and screen printed as many repetitions as I could fit on the canvas.

One of my best thrift finds was a spool of red sequin ribbon from a craft store that was going out of business. It was $1. And its probably at least 50 yards long. #winning.

I love to juxtapose tough with soft, hard with light, so when I found a piece of vintage Italian silk in my grandmother's studio I knew that would be the perfect backing. She had cut the silk into pattern pieces for a blouse (probably like 30 years ago) but all the pieces weren't there so it was a definite scrap. I created a circular stencil with a paperboard cereal box, and used that to cut out the silk backing. 

I used the sequins to create the ornament loop. I sew about 70% around and then stuff the plushie from our box of scraps, and then stitch it up tight for the final product!

Each style in our Plushie Ornament collection goes through the same process. We start with a scrap of fabric and based on the feel, look and aesthetic qualities of the fabric, determine a suitable design to print on it. In the case of this white dupioni silk, we thought a soft little owl, or a flashy chill pill, could both work well, so we divided and conquered!


In other cases, we let the ink speak to us. We have an outrageous amount of Puff additive from the 80s that still performs well. I was obsessed with the idea of doing a puffed up rainbow ornament and LOVE how they came out on this simple natural canvas.

We create the ornaments in batches which means they're all limited edition and can vary a bit based on the materials we have available. One thing you can bet on though is that they're all stuffed with hang tags, threads and fabric scraps that come from our workshop.

Environmental responsibility is the core ethos behind cinder + salt. We love the challenge of operating with zero-waste and finding creative ways to reuse any and all materials that come our way. Check out our holiday collection for ornaments, decor and more ways to have a handmade holiday this season!

Comment below and let us know what you think about our plushie ornaments and holiday trim!

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