This project started out as a Christmas gift for my daughters’ piano teacher, but I loved these little trees so much that I made a variety of sizes and variations for the Christmas village on top of our piano. All of the supplies were either re-purposed, free or on-hand from a previous craft project. Right ON!
I acquired the old music book at a local antique store in a barter for an antique laundry ringer. The pages were super dark and fairly brittle, which limited any folding/rolling/shaping of the paper. I made two basic designs: a torn tree and a curly tree. Both are super easy to make, but the curly tree is a little more time-consuming.
DIY VINTAGE CHRISTMAS TREES
empty boxes (cereal, pasta, or any lightweight cardboard)
an old book (the darker the pages, the better)
Modge Podge (I prefer the matte finish)
a paint brush
scissors/pinking shears/utility shears (maybe)
hot glue gun & glue sticks
ribbon, hemp string, glitter (optional)
LET’S MAKE IT!
Take apart the box at its seams & cut off the flaps on all four sides. With the printed portion of the box ending up on the inside, roll the box into a cone shape. Secure the seam with masking tape inside and out. Trim the bottom of the cone so it sits flat on the table. You can measure and mark, but I just free-handed it.
THE TORN VINTAGE CHRISTMAS TREE
For the torn tree, simply rip pages of the book into irregular pieces of varying sizes. Paint a thin layer of Modge Podge on the cardboard cone and stick a piece of the torn paper to the cone. Paint the top of the paper with a little Modge Podge. Repeat the process, overlapping the pieces of paper until the entire cone is covered.
STAR TREE TOPPER
To make the star, I downloaded a star template that I liked. I traced it onto a page of the vintage paper folded in half and cut out two stars simultaneously.
I cut a small strip of wood off my Popsicle stick with utility shears, then I painted the top of both stars with Modge Podge. I placed the Popsicle stick on top of one of the stars, then stuck the second star, wet side down, on top of the first star. When the star was dry, I lightly brushed the outside of the star with Modge Podge and sprinkled a tiny bit of glitter on it.
I placed a tiny dot of hot glue onto the Popsicle stick and placed it into the top of the cone. I don’t have a picture of the tree with this star on top because it wasn’t my fav, but it’s an option you may prefer to a ribbon topper.
CURLY VINTAGE CHRISTMAS TREE
For the curly Christmas tree, I painted Modge Podge on the paper and laid it over a rolling pin for two reasons: first, to give the ancient papyrus some structural integrity lest it crumble and second, to hold the slightly curled shape.
When the Modge Podge was dry, I cut the paper into strips of equal size. This would have been a good time to trim one end with pinking shears for a cool-looking edge, but I went the labor-intensive route because it didn’t occur to me until after the tree was assembled that a little texture would be nice.
Beginning along the bottom edge of the cardboard cone, paint a section with Modge Podge. Begin applying the paper strips side-by-side. Complete one row all the way around the tree before moving on to the next level up the cone.
When dry, I trimmed the ends of the strips.
I hemmed and hawed about whether to finish the bottom edges of the trees, ultimately deciding that I preferred them unfinished. I did hot glue hemp string to the bottom edge of one tree, shown below. It works near the barn in my Christmas village.
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