Sunday, December 12, 2010

My "grown-up" Christmas trees...

When I saw this tutorial on Shanty2Chic (via Infarrantly Creative), I knew I had to make my own ASAP.

See, I had these paper mache trees that I bought years ago from Oriental Trading.  I always intended to do something cute and whimsical with them, but they just sat, unloved and uncrafted, in their box in the top of the closet.  Until now!  I've been loving all the natural, vintage-y Christmas decorations out in blogland this year, so I decided I was going to make myself some Christmas trees just for me!  Pretty much all our Christmas decor is the fun, bright, whimsical variety, which I love, but you gotta switch things up sometimes, right?

For the tallest tree, I cut 2" wide lengths of linen (I think it was 45"), folded them in half, and pressed them.  Then I sewed a basting stitched down the non-folded edge, then gathered each strip, just a little.  Starting at the bottom of the cone, I hot-glued each strip around and around the tree.  I think the big tree took 3 strips.  The star on top is a kraft paper-mache ornament from the craft store.  I was going to do something fancy with it, but I decided it was very happy staying kraft paper.

For the middle tree, I used a border punch to create 1 1/2" strips of paper.  I cut V-shaped slits every few inches so that I could fit the paper to cone as I wrapped it around.  I crinkled up the paper before hot-gluing it on, just to give it more texture.  This one took about 1 1/4 pieces of kraft paper.  After the cone was covered, I hot glue pearl bead "ornaments" to the tree.

For the littlest tree, I used the same technique as the big tree, but instead of fabric I used one of those cheap bolts of lace from Joann's.  I think the whole bolt was a dollar at most, and I only used about half of it.

Now, my intention when I started was to use the little pot bases that came with the trees, but they just didn't have the elegant vintage touch I was looking for.  Luckily I had already scheduled a trip to Star Mill in American Fork.  It's an amazing antique/junk shop, and it is my new happy place.  I found this PERFECT spindle for $1.50, just begging to be turned into tree trunks.  Well, I've never been one to crush the life dreams of inanimate objects, so of course I had to take it home and cut it into three fun tree trunks, which I then hot-glued to the cones.

But then, alas, the trees were so top-heavy they could not stand on their own.  I thought about gluing them all down to a plank of wood, but I wanted to be able to arrange them independently.  I hunted around my craft room for ideas... CD's covered with kraft paper?  Too flat and too boring and not vintage enough.  Empty ribbon spools?  Too much work to unspool ribbon and find it a new home, and then still not super stable.  And so on... Finally, inspiration!  One of my little hobbies is designing and cutting snowflake ornaments out of wood with a laser cutter, and I happened to have a little stack of unpainted snowflakes that worked perfectly as bases for my trees.   

(Happy sigh...)  Don't you just love it when something you've envisioned turns out even better in real life?  These make me happy every time I go through my entryway!

I hope you are all having a delightful Christmas with your families and giving yourself time to create something beautiful!


P.S.  I'm entering this in the Kraft Journal's Holiday Challenge -- if you love kraft paper like I do, you should go check it out!


Crystal said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I just posted trees I made too but NOTHING like this! Awesome job!

Ramona said...

As always, gorgeous!! You amaze me!!!

Unknown said...

Love!!!!! I just may have to do a similar project. I've got a dozen ideas like these in my head now!

Leigh said...

These are absolutely gorgeous! You do such amazing work. I would never have though of using fabric...then again my mom is the one with the sewing touch.

Unknown said...

This is an absolutely stunning project! Thanks so much for joining in at the Kraft Holiday Challenge!

Angi Barrs said...

Gorgeous Trees. Love your project. :)