Saturday, November 24, 2012

DIY Christmas Tree Art

Last year after Christmas, we threw away our Christmas tree because it was looking pretty shabby and we didn't want to store it for another year.  This year, I decided I wanted to try a whole different concept instead of the traditional Christmas tree.  I chose this art tree because I love art, and I loved the funky flare.  But the choice was also a practical one because I run an in home daycare and I was really terrified when contemplating a tree in my tiny living room with all the kids in my home.  So, I settled on this installation art Christmas tree alternative.
  The instructions on how I made this tree are really pretty simple, and you don't need artistic ability to make yourself a pretty tree.  Most of the supplies I used were either things I had around the house, or purchased at the Dollar Tree.  You will need:
Wax paper
Wrapping paper
Approx. 3 rolls of shelf liners
 Assortment of ornaments
Christmas ornament hooks
Glue gun
Glue sticks
1 strand of lights

First, select 2 large picture frames that are the same size.  I used two huge poster frames with plastic inserts.  You can make your tree with the two frames stacked long way for a taller tree, or sideways, as I have, for a bigger, but shorter tree.  

The second thing you will need to do, is flip your frames face down on the floor laying them in the same formation you will want them to hang on the wall.  For instance, if you want a space between the two frames, lay them on the floor with that space.  Place wax paper over the back of the frame, taping the pieces together, down onto the second frame, just enough to cover the picture hangers.  Then, as you will see in the step three of the above illustration, just mark your wax paper exactly where the picture hangers are, where you would need the nail.  You can then nail the wax paper to the wall where ever you want your tree art!  (Make sure it's close to a plug)  It's important to do this step now, as you won't be able to use the wax paper trick later when you have installed all your ornaments.

Next, flip your frames back over and lay the shelf liner material over the front.  I used the shelf liner because I needed some sort of material with many holes in it so that I would be able to insert ornament hooks into it.  Lace would work, screen would work.  I just used that because I wanted to get my supplies at the Dollar Tree.  Plus, later in the process, that particular material was very easy to adhere to the picture.

Draw the layers of the Christmas tree onto the shelf liner.  Cut out your tree and discard the excess.  You will be left with something that looks like step six in the diagram above.  Now comes the fun part!  

You can set your frames aside for now.  With your tree assembled on a flat surface near a plug, begin inserting your ornament hooks into the tree material and install your ornaments.  Hook through shelf liner, into ornament, and then twist and bend your hook so it is firmly in place.  I wanted six ornaments in a straight row in the center of the tree to put the letters of our name on, so I started with those and then just evolved the tree from there.  I suggest using plastic ornaments.  The decorating process is a little tricky, and I worry that you could be injured while decorating if you use glass ornaments.  However, my finished product did end up being very durable and sturdy, so glass decorations should make it unharmed through the season.

Once you are satisfied with your ornaments, go ahead and wrap the plastic inserts from your poster frames with a wrapping paper that compliments your decor, or the theme of your tree.  Insert the wrapped plastic back into the frame and reassemble.  Now, you can use your hot glue gun to adhere the decorated shelf liners (ie your tree) to the wrapped plastic.  (At the end of the season you will be able to remove your ornaments, unwrap your plastic, and have your frames back to normal)  At this point, you will want to add any finishing touches such as beads or ribbons, whatever your heart desire. 

Then, using nails you inserted with your wax paper cheat sheet, mount your frames to the wall!  Once in place, I suggest using  Fun Tac (a reusable general purpose adhesive) to more firmly secure your art.  It will also help you keep it straight, and protect it from the inevitable door slamming, wall rattling business.  Now you are ready to add lights.  I did this with the ornament hooks as well.  I didn't really want to purchase new lights, but I do wish that I had gone ahead and picked up a strand of lights that had white wire instead of green.  Add accents and decorations around your frame and VOILA, you are DONE!

I hope you like this project and I would love to hear from, or see pictures from anyone who tries their own version!

Happy Holidays.

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