Our Christmas tree is decked for the holidays, thanks to the help of our friends. Mr. M and I hosted a tree trimming party at our house last week. Each guest was asked to bring an ornament to hang on the tree, representing this year’s theme of “White Christmas.” As we’re still building our ornament collection, we didn’t have any more interesting other than these white and silver balls. However, they made wonderful filler and backdrop ornaments to the special ornaments our guests brought. Then Mr. M had the brilliant idea to top the tree with the Santa hat that was on my head. I couldn’t find the perfect tree topper and was content to have a bare top (this year), but I think the hat adds such personality and cheer, don’t you? Well done, Mr. M!
The tree skirt was so lame. Again, I couldn’t find the perfect tree skirt, and I didn’t have time to make one, so I just grabbed an old white sheet (or was it some yards of fabric I had laying around?) and wrapped it around the base. Good enough!
Of course, the tree wasn’t the only thing that needed decorating. Our whole house needed a bit of merriness, so I organized a few craft projects to keep our friends occupied.
Part One: Paper Trees
These trees were super easy to make, however a little monotonous. Just imagine individually threading sheets of paper, one at a time, onto a rod, not to mention cutting all the squares of paper to size. Don’t get me wrong, though! I love DIY projects, and the more monotonous the better. Unfortunately, I felt my friends were a bit bored by the process, so big thanks to them for their help and sticking through it till the finished product!
I found the tutorial for the paper trees via Pinterest at this site. Might I also add how beautiful their mantel looked? One day! I, too, will have a “Pinterest-worthy” home… one day.
My method differed slightly from Candice’s. Instead of using small cardboard pieces as fillers, I scored X’s in the middle of each sheet. (I know my photo shows the cardboard pieces, but I promise I didn’t use them! I just had them done ahead of time in case I needed them.) The cuts, when threaded through, wrapped around the dowel, therefore acting as the fillers the cardboard pieces would have done. I did use a lot more paper than Candice did, but I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t use the cardboard or because I had a longer dowel. I made one tree with zig-zag edges and another tree with straight edges. If I had to choose, I think the tree with the zig-zag edges created more interest and visual texture.
Also, I purchased German books from the thrift shop for $0.50 each! What a deal! I felt the book pages had to be in a foreign language I didn’t understand so I didn’t feel as guilty about cutting up the pages. For this project, I only needed 1/8 of the pages from the yellow book. I have enough leftover pages to make 100 more paper trees!
I topped these trees with hand-wrapped yarn balls and then skewered onto the dowels. (Can things be “skewered” on if the end of the stick isn’t pointy?) Which leads me to part two…
Total Time: Keep in mind that the time estimated here was for TWO trees. It was about 30-45 minutes to cut up the pages into squares, then trim the edges with zig-zag scissors. It’s less time if you don’t dress up the edges. It took about another 30 minutes to score the X’s into the center of the sheets. This can be done several sheets at a time if you apply enough pressure with your X-acto knife. It took about 20 minutes to assemble each tree. The tree toppers took me only five minutes to make. The final tally is 1.5 – 2 hours for both trees. (My friends and I also took our time assembling each tree, so maybe you can do it faster, if you keep focused and undistracted.)
Total Cost: As I didn’t use up the entire book, which only cost me 50 whole cents, these trees cost me about ten cents each. The dowels were probably the most expensive item of the tree, but they were left over from my photo booth props and the yarn toppers were scraps from the Yarn Trees (see below).
Part Two: Yarn Trees
If the paper trees are too tedious for you, then you’ll love these yarn trees because they are super quick to make and just as easy! I finished the tree on the left in under ten minutes. (I might be a bit generous with my time tracking.)
These yarn trees start with a Styrofoam cone base. Then you wrap yarn around the cone, starting at the base, building up two or three layers in order to cover the Styrofoam thoroughly. When you get to the top, just tuck the end into the layers of yarn. Easy, right?? I could’ve used hand-wrapped yarn balls again as toppers, but I wanted something different. So, these toppers were even easier! They were just mini ball ornaments with wire attached (also purchased from the thrift shop for the rock star price of $1.25 for 22!). The attached wire made it really easy to stick into the Styrofoam.
I lucked out on the yarn used for the tree on the right. Not only did I get them from Dressew for$1.99 for 3, but they were fringed and had a nice iridescent quality to them. I think their yarn department is going away because all the yarn was on sale. Big fat bummer if this is true because they had a really awesome selection once upon a time. Still, I stocked up on a few eye catching yarns. $1.99 per skein is a pretty friggin’ great deal! Never know when you’ll need yarn for wrapping gifts or next year’s Christmas yarn trees. 😉
Total Time: Each tree takes 5-10 minutes to make, depending on how many layers you need and how big the trees are. My trees were 12″ and 18″ tall.
Total Cost: The tree on the left was wrapped with yarn I purchased years ago to wrap a gift, but I doubt it was as cheap as $0.75 for the skein. The tree on the right was wrapped in the Dressew yarn for $0.75, and just so you know, I didn’t even use the whole skein of yarn for these trees. I could’ve wrapped both trees with one skein and some to spare. The cones were purchased from Michaels with a 40% off coupon ($6.04 for the 12″ and $7.27 for the 18″). These cones can be reused again next year in a different color yarn or for a different purpose, so they’re a worthwhile investment! To sum up: the 12″ tree cost about $7 and the 18″ cost about $8, including the toppers.
Part Three: Lace Ornament
This was my personal contribution to the tree ornaments. I used leftover lace from my wedding dress, cut it in 1/2″ strips and wrapped them around a Styrofoam ball. The final end was hot glued on to stay in place. I stuck a piece of wire into the top of the ball and hung it on the tree. That’s it! Just imagine all the types of fabric you could use to give your tree that personal touch.
Total Time: Five minutes! So easy.
Total Cost: The package of eight Styrofoam balls was purchased at the Dollar Store ($1.40) and the lace was free as they were scraps from my wedding dress. The wire was also a snippet from my hardware supplies. If you don’t think you have wire readily available, just look at the back of your Ikea picture frames. As I didn’t use all the Styrofoam balls, this ornament cost me the grand total of $0.17!
And to end this post…. just a few of the ornaments our friends brought this year for our “White Christmas” themed tree. Thanks guys!