How to Create a Gorgeous Table Top Christmas Tree from Dollar Store Items! 

I love decorating for Christmas! I like to have some decorations in all the rooms in our home. I don’t want to waste a lot of money on holiday decor during the gift shopping season. With 3 kids to buy for, plus grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles,teachers (you get the idea), I feel bad about taking money from the gift budget & spending it on decorations that’ll only be up a month or so. Having a law enforcement officer’s salary, I’ve learned to be extremely thrifty with our budget. I’m sure most of you are with me on this! While at the Dollar Tree before Thanksgiving, I found these little Charlie Brown-esque table top Christmas trees. My kids were begging me to get them each one to have in their rooms. I thought I’d get a couple more for our master bedroom & the guest bathroom. I knew they’d be hideous when they were opened & fluffed out, & I was not disappointed. They were like a plastic rod with a few green metal sticks with plastic short strippy things (I don’t know what else to call these faux needles ha ha). U-uh-gly! 

I know these are just what you’d loooove to have up all over your house! Umm… no. Never fear! I have an idea for you to have gorgeous tiny trees throughout your home for a dollar! No I didn’t miss type! One dollar! WOO-HOO! Now run out & buy a tree for every room you’d like to spruce up with holiday spirit. Here’s the items you’ll need:

  • A table top tree from the Dollar Tree- $1
  • Branches from the Christmas tree type of your choice (I used Douglas firs)- free from your local Lowe’s or Home Depot
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Scissors

You may be wondering how to get branches for your project, since I had no clue how to before I started mine! We went to Lowe’s to buy our tree the day after Thanksgiving. I saw a bunch of limbs on the ground under all the trees in the garden section. I asked the associate working out there if I might have all of the loose branches in the ground. She said, “Please do! It’s so much easier to sweep up the needles if there aren’t any branches around!” My heart screamed “Yippee!!” but I kept my cool face since we were in public. I enlisted the kids to do this task. They got a hand-held shopping basket & filled it up quickly. But the best was yet to come! We took our tree outside to be cut & wrapped in net, & there was a large wood container they were throwing all of the cut off pieces into; even the wood trunk pieces. I asked the guy if I could take a few. He told us we could have the whole pile! I was so happy, I think I let my cool face slip a bit. My kids were running & jumping & clapping just because I was happy I guess because they had no idea what we were doing with them. Ha! 

So once you have your tree & free Christmas tree cast-offs, plug in your hit glue gun so you can get started! At first my daughter & I tried using the metal “branches” themselves to tie the real branches on. We also tried using pipe cleaners. Neither of these worked well.  Using the fake tree to tie them on just broke the metal pieces off since they’re so cheaply made. Pipe cleaners were just so obvious & too hard to hide. The tree started to look really weird & bulky at the middle because you have to use a longer piece of pipe cleaner. This is what the tree will look like before.

Sad, huh? Have no fear. You will be proud to display this bad boy when we’re finished! You’ll start by spreading out the “branches” that come on the fake tree. When they are all in place, you can start citing the real branches. Measure your fake branches & but the real ones to about the sadness size. Each row will be a different size with the longest on the bottom & shortest at the top. You will need a lot of real branches. It’s ok if the real ones branch off & have 2 or 3 smaller branches at the ends. It will make a more authentic look. I tried to cut as close as I could to the beginning of a branch off. With a Fraisure fir, there will be these small wood “knots” where a new branch begins or ends. Once you have a bunch cut, you can start gluing. Starting at the bottom will be easier.  Place hot glue on the tip of the real branch (from now on will be RB for real & FB for fake branch) & a bit on the under side RB. Put the top that’s glued just above the bottom row & push the bit of glue on the bottom to the FB. It will look like this: 

 Hold the RB in place for a few seconds until it holds in place. Place RB all around the bottom row, filling in all the empty space. I tried to hide the FB as much as I could. You can glue the branches to the center rod, as well as to the tops & bottoms of the fake ones. Keep gluing on the bottom row until you’re happy with the fullness. Then start on the second row from the bottom.

Continue cutting & gluing until you’re happy with the new row. You can skip around a bit on different rows if you’d like. I did because I was anxious to see what it’d look like! 

If you filled from the bottom to the top, you should be just about done! If you skipped around like me, keep adding RB until you’re happy with the look. This is what it looks like when you’re finished: 

Isn’t it gorgeous?! It turned out amazing, and it just took $1!!! At that price you can add one (or more, wink) to every room in your house!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Stay tuned this month as I’ll be adding new projects & Christmas ideas all month long! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, & Pinterest so you don’t miss out on any new crafts. Please share this if you love it or know someone who will. Send me pics or let me know if you try this! Merry Christmas! 

I’ll be sharing the finished tree & where we’ve placed them soon! Stay tuned!

DIY String Wreath for Fall

DIY Fall String Wreath

 

 

 

This wreath is very easy to make, and you can make one for very little money (this is hugely important to most!).

If you’re like me, the weeks from Halloween all the way through Christmas are jammed packed with things to do.  This wreath is extremely easy to put together, and you can put it up in September and leave it up until Thanksgiving.  You could even swap out your embellishments and keep it up with your Christmas display.  It’s so easy to do.  If you can work a hot glue gun, you can pull this off!  It takes about 45 minutes to complete (depending on your wreath size), and only costs about $7-$8.  You will need:fall-string-wreath-supplies

  • Yarn in your choice of color
  • a styrofoam wreath form (mine is 9 in. from the Dollar Tree)
  • felt in your colors
  • faux leaves or other embellishments
  • wire edged ribbon
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun & sticks

 

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, you can get down to business!  Place the end of the yarn on the back of your wreath form and hot glue into place.  Like this:20161117_150639Now wrap the yarn around the form.  I usually just unroll a lot (yes that’s my technical term, ha) and wind it loosely around my hand to create a small loop.  It’s easier to pass the loop through the middle of the form, than trying to push the entire package of yarn through.  If you have a larger wreath, you may be able to pass it through with no problem.  Just use your judgement here.  Ok, so, keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.  When you think your almost back to the top, you’ll look back to realize you’re only halfway there.  Just kidding, but it does take a while to wrap the entire wreath.  This would be a good time to climb into a show hole! When you finally finish wrapping, cut your yarn and hot glue the end on the back of the form.  Next, place your artificial leaves (or whatever embellishments you choose to use) on the front of the form.  Play around with the placement until you have them where you like.  Place a dot of hot glue on your items and press them down (if you want to be able to change them, use straight pins instead).  You may want to use something besides your finger to press down because if you push right on the glue it’ll burn the mess out of your finger!  Trust me here!  Now, you can use your felt to  make your rosettes.  The size that you want them to be will determine how big you cut your square of felt.  Mine are about a half-inch to an inch wide, and I cut my squares 1.5in. x 2 in. or so.  They’ll look like this at first:

felt square for rosetteYou don’t have to make them perfect.  In fact, the imperfections will make each rosette unique; just like real roses.  Next, round off each corner, kind of making a “squoval” (at least that’s what I call it).Squoval for rosetteMake a cut on one of the sides, beginning about half a finger length from a rounded edge.20161117_153009Continue cutting in a spiral pattern toward the center of the piece of felt.  Don’t worry about making each round of the spiral even.  It will lend to making each “petal” a different size.  Once you’re finished, it should look something like this:20161117_153045

Place a dot of glue on the outside edge of the cut,

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and begin rolling to the center.

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Finish your rosette by gluing the end of the felt (the piece that was in the center to begin) to the bottom.  This is the view from the bottom of the finished rosette.bottom of finished rosetteNow you can glue your rosette to your foam wreath.  I placed mine below the collection of leaves.  I used 6 total.  I made 3 at first, then continued making and gluing them until I liked the final look.  You can make any colors to compliment your yarn and ribbon colors.  I used navy, burgundy, yellow, and cream to match the colors I liked using this fall, starting with this super cute mantel decoration.  Next I made a bow using a wire edged ribbon I found at the Dollar Tree.  It had the perfect colors in it with words describing fall and all that goes with it.  I snatched it up at the beginning of the season, and I only bought one so I ran out of the ribbon before I realized I hadn’t taken pics along the way to include in the tutorial.  I am working on another post to how I made this bow, and I will add it soon so check back for updates!  Place your bow on the top of the wreath.  The top can be anywhere you want.  I played around with positions and settled on having my rosettes and leaves from the bottom rounding up the right side.  To hang, make a loop of ribbon, twine, string, or yarn (it doesn’t have to match) and hot glue it to the back of your wreath.ribbon loop for hanging

Hang your work of art in the location of your choosing and sit back and admire your hard work!  I placed mine on our interior door leading to our garage.  I really like the way it turned out and that I can leave it up from September until Thanksgiving.  20161117_1526041This wreath is super simple and makes a great addition to your fall decor.  Be sure to share your finished wreath with me!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Stay tuned for more diy’s and tips!  Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram!

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Fall Mantel Decor for Almost Free!!

With Thanksgiving next week, I was looking around and felt I didn’t have enough fall décor (at least for my taste, I love a ton!!). I certainly don’t want to leave my mantel plain for the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, yet I also don’t want to spend a ton of money with Christmas so soon. While pondering my dilemma, I spotted some cans I had saved from vegetables because my son wanted to make an old-fashioned “telephone.” Perfect. Now I just needed to figure out what to do with them. I have seen many blocks with letters on them spelling out a greeting pertaining to different seasons as well as mason jars doing the same. I thought I’d try it out with tin cans. I had seen the new Thanksgiving items in the dollar section at Target, and I adore the colors they were using this year. Unfortunately they get rid of all fall decorations at the beginning of November and put all of the Christmas decorations out. They were navy, maroon, cream, orange, with a bit of tan thrown in. I need those colors in my life this season! I knew what I wanted, so I got straight to work. I love, love, love how this turned out! Later I’ll post the tutorial for the gorgeous fall “Thankful Tree” that I placed inside the cans. Your family can write what they are thankful for and place on the branches.

This project is so easy, and will only take you about 15 or 20 min plus drying time. I already had all of the materials, but even if you have to buy all the supplies (not including the cans, scissors, Mod Podge, and glue gun) you’d spend around $5! If you’re a big crafter like me, you probably have everything on hand making your project free!  Who doesn’t want that this time of year?! You will need:4 tin cans (I used 2 different sizes). These are free if you wash and remove the labels on cans you use for dinner.

  • Paint- I used acrylic in Steel Blue, but you can really use any color your little heart desires.  I used Craftsmart paint from Michael’s; they are $0.85 if you use your half off coupon.
  • Vinyl to cut letters from, pre-cut letters, or you can use paint to freehand your own letters on the cans.  If you have card stock you can use that.  If you buy paint, $0.85, and cardstock is $2.50 with your coupon.
  • Mod Podge (for sealing, but it isn’t required)
  • Sponge paint brushes
  • A credit card or old hotel key to smooth vinyl down if you’re using it
  • Felt (You can get a pack at Dollar Tree for $1.)
  • Scissors- I use these & they are absolutely amazing. Fiskars Razor Edge Craft Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue

 

  • Craftsmart paint from Michael’s & foam sponge
  • Two can sizes- 10 oz & 15oz

My cans already had the label and adhesive removed from them. You will need to do this before you begin. I was able to just peel off the labels and adhesive fairly easy, but if yours doesn’t, you can use Goo Gone to remove any stubborn stickiness. I’ve also used Dawn to remove labels and adhesive; just remove all you can, wet the area, and wash with Dawn. It should peel right off. I started by painting my cans with acrylic paint in Steel Blue. I only had to do one coat, but that may be different with other types of cans or paint. I chose two 15 oz. cans and two 10 oz. cans. I thought the different heights would give some dimension to the project, and I love how it turned out. Now, while I was patiently waiting for the paint to dry (umm… maybe not so patiently as I kept touching the cans to see if they were dry yet), I used my Cricut Explore Air to cut letters to spell FALL. When the cans were finally, finally dry (really it was only 15 minutes or so but it felt like forever), I used a tape measure to place a tiny dot with a Sharpie at 1.6 inches. I later covered the dot with the bottom edge of my letters, so don’t worry that it’ll show on yours. You could skip measuring and placing the dot, but I just wanted mine to be perfectly even all the way across. Insert joke about me being a perfectionist here, ha. You can just eye the placement of the letters if you don’t mind a little variation in the height; you may even want the visual interest.

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Smooth vinyl letters on with a craft spatula or an old credit or key card

Once the letters were all on, I used matte Mod Podge to seal the paint and letters on. With the ridges on the sides of the cans, I felt the sealant was necessary to keep the letters from falling off and keeping the paint from chipping when they’re placed in storage until the next year.

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You can arrange your can sizes however you like. I eventually put the two large cans on the ends, small in the middle.

While waiting for my Mod Podge to dry, I cut brown and cream rosettes from felt.  I don’t have a picture of this, but if you’re unsure how to make them, you can follow this great tutorial from Life After Laundry (which calls for using fabric glue, but I just used hot glue). I hot glued the finished rosettes to the two large cans; the F and final L just under the top to the can.  You can add as many as you like, whatever works for your home.

I placed my beautiful, wonderful piece of art on display for all the world to see. I’m not biased or anything, wink, wink!  To finish, I cut several branches from small trees in my yard.  I spray painted them gold, and stuck them into floral foam inside the cans.

This looks great on our mantel until we switch them out for our Christmas decorations. I hope you’ll try this out for your home. Please be sure to share your thoughts and pictures of your project in the comments. I’d love to see how yours turns out! If you have a friend who’d love this, please share this tutorial on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Also, follow us so you don’t miss out on any posts and tutorials!