As we plan for the festive season, have you ever thought about how to make your own Christmas Tree?
Traditional and alternative Christmas trees
Most artificial Christmas trees are modelled on evergreen conifers. If you buy a “real” tree, the chances are that it is spruce, pine or fir. Yet some of the most beautiful wintry scenes in the UK are created by deciduous trees – white, frosted and leafless, perhaps weighted with a dusting of snow. A silver birch looks like this naturally, but you can create a similar look with some fallen branches, old white emulsion and white electrical tape. Several years ago, we decided to make a second Christmas tree; it immediately became our favourite.
collecting branches and twigs
We took the children to the local woods to collect fallen branches and twigs. We had a rough idea of sizes and shapes to select, planning for a sturdy central branch to which we would attach other branches to form a trunk. We would then connect increasingly smaller branches and twigs to form the tree.
We would use our parasol base to support the structure, and it’s hole size dictated the diameter of the central branch (around 30mm). The branches and twigs range from 1.5m to 30cm in length. You can picture how useful it is to select a few branches with definite changes of angle; you can then use these to spread the shape in different directions.
preparing to make your Alternative christmas tree
We made sure the branches were dry, then splashed on some old white emulsion. It is more realistic not to paint them completely, but to create white highlights. Think about how a silver birch looks – it has dark shades as well as its beautiful, silvery bark. Having secured the central member in the base, we use white electical tape to add branches and twigs, standing back from time to time to check the shape. It is important to tape each branch to branch joint in two places to make sure the connection is secure; otherwise it will droop over time. For this, you need to run joined parts in parallel for at least 20cm or so to achieve a sound fixing. When you reach the lighter twigs, one section of tape will usually suffice. Remember that much of the tape will become invisible as you decorate the tree.
How to Make your own Christmas Tree
Here is a gallery showing the stages of how we created the Christmas tree. Note how we use a sheet to cover up the base and the trunk where several taped joints would otherwise be visible.
For this scheme, we chose a theme of red and white (and silver) decorations which gives it a certain uniformity. Of course, you shouldn’t worry too much about a designer look when it comes to Christmas; but sometimes it just looks good. We sprinkle these strips over the finished tree to give it the sense of melting icicles – it’s really effective.
If you have any twigs left over, you can always arrange them stylishly around the trunk as if they have fallen from their boughs.
We assemble this tree every year and have done so for the past 6 years. On twelfth night, we disassemble it, and wrap the branches in a large bag. It goes in the loft until the following year. Occasionally we touch up small areas where the tape has pulled off the paint, but this is rarely necessary. Every year the tree looks different of course, and we’ve improved its shape with experience.
We hope you found this article interesting. We are a small company of interior designers, always on the look out for ways to make peoples’ homes look great. If you’d like to read more about what we do, please see our page on interior design services. This tree works really well for us, and particularly so at night when the lights twinkle. Have a go at creating one of your own.
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