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Felt Cardinal Ornament

Felt Cardinal Christmas Ornament on a lit Christmas Tree

Most people, especially those who have lost loved ones have heard some variation of the phrase “When a Cardinal Appears a Loved One is Near”. My family and I hold Cardinals close to our hearts and each Christmas, enjoy adding one to our tree. This year I decided to share how easy it is to make a beautiful cardinal for your tree out of felt, embroidery thread and some freezer paper. Yes, you read that right. Freezer paper.

How to Use Freezer Paper for Patterns

Reynolds Freezer paper, and old iron, a printed pattern and printer paper

Not too long ago, I found out that you can iron freezer paper to fabrics and felts. It really is simple, and makes it so much easier to cut out small and detailed pieces of pattern.

Felt Cardinal Ornament Pattern

To print straight onto the freezer paper.

  1. Cut a piece of freezer paper to the size of a piece of printer paper (8.5in x 11in ).
  2. Find out how your printer prints. I do this by marking an x on one side of a piece of printer paper and loading it into the printer. Place the paper in the printer tray and with the mark facing up. Now print something simple. If your print is on the opposite side of the paper from your x, you will load your printer paper shiny side up. If it prints on the same side as the x, then you need to face the shiny side down.
  3. Print the free pattern on the non-shiny side of the paper.

How to Attach a Pattern to Felt Using Freezer Paper

Iron, felt, piece of pattern and a towel

Step 1.

Cut your pattern into smaller manageable pieces and iron them (shiny side away from your iron and facing the fabric) to the fabric of the correct color for that piece.

Pieces of pattern ironed onto felt and a pair of scissors

Step 2.

Once you get all of the pattern pieces ironed on to the felt, cut them out like shown in the picture below.

Pattern cut out of felt with scissors

Step 3.

I like leaving the paper on the felt until I need that specific piece to help remember where they go. It is easy to confuse the direction of the beak without the illustration of the pattern on top.

How to Assemble Your Cardinal Ornament


  • Felt – Brown, Red, Yellow and Black (You can change the brown for burgundy and the yellow for orange if you would like.)
  • Embroidery Thread – Red, Brown, Black, Yellow
  • Embroidery needle
  • Freezer Paper
  • Free Printable Cardinal Ornament Pattern
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Printer


sewing a beak onto a cardinals face

Step 1.

With yellow thread, sew the beak onto the black piece of felt as shown above. Sew only the part facing the inner part of the face.

sewing the cardinals face to the body

Step 2.

Sew the face onto one piece of the red body. To hide my stitches, I come through the back of the felt, through to the top of the black, then lift the edge of the black and go to the back through the same hole I came up through. Just don’t pull too tight or it will pucker!

sewing a cardinals wing to the body

Step 3.

Sew the wing in place with the coordinating thread. Only sew the sides towards the inner part of the cardinal as shown above.

Anchoring the tail to the body of the cardinal

Step 4.

Anchor the tail in place by sewing the top of the tail under the edge of the wing in place and the underneath the tail until in meets the edge of the red.

Lining up the front and back of the body

Step 5.

Line up the top that you have just sewn onto the back piece of the body.

Sewing the perimeter of the cardinal with red embroidery thread

Step 6.

Using red embroidery thread, blanket stitch the entire perimeter of the cardinal, sewing the front and back together.

The finished felt cardinal ornament.

Finished Cardinal Ornament.

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