DIY Light-Up Charlie Brown Christmas Sweater

With Christmas a few days away, the holiday party season is starting to come to a close. After serving as a hostess at two holiday parties this year (Red and Green Ornament Bridal Shower and White Winter Wonderland Baby Shower), I was glad to just be a guest for once. On Saturday night, we had a ball at our friend’s tacky Christmas sweater party.

The tacky (or ugly) Christmas sweater parties have really taken off recently and why not? It’s a fun way to bring friends together and if you’ve been a recipient of one of those truly horrible sweaters, it gives you a chance to wear it with pride. Dressing for these parties, the uglier the better and no tacky Christmas party is complete without someone in a Santa suit (this party had 3!).

Somehow Mr. P and I have managed to go this long without having a good old-fashioned ugly Christmas sweater in our clothing arsenal. Assuming it would be easy to come across one, I procrastinated. Bad idea. By the time I checked out the stores in our area, the department stores and thrift stores had already been picked over. It didn’t help that we needed two.

On to Plan B, scour the internet and hope the sweater arrives in time. One of my friends who lives a few states away is incredibly creative and has started selling the best tacky Christmas sweaters around. I hate to even call them tacky or ugly because I think the correct word is awesome! One of my favorite styles that she makes is Charlie Brown Christmas. We are big Charlie Brown fans and usually go to see a jazz band play all of the Christmas favorites. Unfortunately, by the time I decided to order one from her, it was iffy on whether the sweater would arrive by the party. She doesn’t have an Etsy shop yet, but if she ever does expand, I’ll make sure to pass the information along to you.

I don’t know about you, but the mail system has been extra brutal this year for our household. We had one package “lost” according to FedEx (which surprisingly arrived 12 days later) and several packages shipped 2-day priority that took over a week to arrive. With our bad luck, I panicked and cancelled my sweater order.

That brings us to Friday, the day before the party, and we were still without anything to wear to the tacky Christmas party. Normally, making a tacky Christmas sweater would be right up my alley, but it’s become much more difficult to make anything with a 3-month old at home. After failing at round 2 of searching the stores for an already made ugly Christmas sweater, I gave in and began searching for materials to make one (or two, technically).

How to make a DIY light up Charlie Brown Christmas Sweater in two different styles

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Materials:

  • Sweater (I picked up one woman’s sweater for $14.95 and one man’s sweater for $19.95. Both sweaters were from Old Navy, but you could easily save money by searching for a cheaper one.)
    Felt squares (I purchased these at Michael’s for $.29/each. You can’t beat that!
    For the Snoopy sweater, you need one in red and one in white.
    For the Charlie Brown sweater, you need one in light brown, one in dark brown, one in red, one in blue, and one in ivory.
  • Small battery powered light kit (these were purchased at Michael’s for $1.99, which was half off)
  • Batteries for light kit
  • Needle and black thread or hot glue gun
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Plastic head needles
  • Large black Sharpie marker
  • Fake tree pipe cleaner (for Charlie Brown sweater, not Snoopy sweater)
  • One small red ornament (for Charlie Brown sweater, not Snoopy)
  • Charlie Brown or Snoopy template (see below)

Directions:

The directions are almost identical for the Charlie Brown or Snoopy sweater, but I’ll make sure to state any differences in the directions. If you don’t have a lot of time or you’re concerned about your level of craftiness then I suggest you make the Snoopy sweater. It has less pieces so it’s not only cheaper, but far less involved and time consuming.

Step 1: Print the template

To create a template, search online for Charlie Brown Christmas. Under images, you will see several options. I chose one picture with Snoopy sleeping on his dog house and the other of Charlie Brown standing next to the Christmas tree drooped over.

In PowerPoint (you could also do this in Microsoft Word, Paint, or any other word processing program), set your layout to 8.5″ x 11″. For the Snoopy template, copy and paste the picture on your page and crop the house out of the picture. Change your orientation to¬†Landscape and resize Snoopy to fit the entire page. Print.

Change the orientation to Portrait. Delete Snoopy and re-paste Snoopy and the dog house again. This time, crop Snoopy out. Resize the dog house to fit the entire screen (proportionately). Print.

For the Charlie Brown template, you will do the same thing as the Snoopy template. The picture of Charlie Brown needs to be printed in Portrait orientation and the Christmas tree needs to be printed in Landscape orientation. The 8.5″ x 11″ is probably large enough for a Women’s small, medium, or large sweater. If you’re making a larger one, crop each picture in half to double it. For example, I put Charlie Brown’s head and neck on one page and his body on a separate page. Since these are just the templates, it’s ok if they’re not printed out as one.

Step 2: Trace the template on the felt

Cut out the paper templates. For the Snoopy sweater, you will have two pieces, the dog house and Snoopy. Place the dog house template on a piece of red felt. Trace the outside with a large black marker. Remove the paper and draw in the details with the black marker. Cut out the dog house, making sure to leave some of the black marker showing on the edges.

Place the Snoopy template on a white piece of felt and do the same as above.

For the Charlie Brown sweater, cut the Christmas tree template in two pieces, the base and the tree (without leaves). Trace the base on the darker brown felt. It should only take up about a third of the felt paper. You will need the rest for Charlie Brown’s shoes and hat. Cut out the base. Trace the tree on the light brown piece of felt. It should take up the bulk of the sheet. Cut out the tree.

When creating Charlie Brown, I started from the bottom and worked my way up. Starting with Charlie Brown’s shoes, cut the boots off of the paper template, trace, and cut out of the dark brown felt (about 1/3 of the sheet). Then move up to his jeans. Cut the paper template, trace on the blue felt, and cut out. Next, we will do the same with his jacket, cutting it out of the red felt. After the jacket, cut out Charlie Brown’s head and hands, trace, and cut out of the cream felt paper. Finally, do the same with his hat which will be cut out of the remaining piece of dark brown felt paper. If you haven’t already, using the black marker, add in the details for each piece.

Step 3: Layout and pin the template to the sweater

Layout the template on the sweater and pin down using the plastic head sewing needles.

For the Charlie Brown sweater, cut the faux tree pipe cleaner into 2-3 inch pieces and pin down on the tree. Don’t worry about the ornament just yet. We will add it later.

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Step 4: Sew template to sweater

Using black thread, sew the template pieces to the sweater. Since these sweaters won’t receive a lot of wear and I plan on hand washing when we are done, I used a long running stitch around all of the edges. If you plan on getting a lot of wear out of the sweater, you will want to use a more secure stitch.

For the pipe cleaner branches, I triple stitched each piece on the bottom and in the middle. To finish up the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, sew the ornament to the sweater through the top hook.

Another option for securing the template is to hot glue all of the pieces. This is faster, but may not stand up to washing.

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Step 5: Add the lights

Place the lights on the dog house or above the Christmas tree (to imitate stars or snow). Pin down in several spots with the safety pins. To hide the safety pins, make sure to start from the inside of the sweater, pin down a piece of the wire, and secure it on the inside.

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There you have it – two super fun and easy light-up Charlie Brown sweaters prefect for your next tacky sweater Christmas party.

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