Hello friends! As you can tell, I am really not on the ball this year because I haven’t yet posted any of my Christmas projects and now Christmas is only three days away. I know! Where did the time go? I honestly have no idea, but I do know that this month has been crazy for me and it has taken me what seems like forever to finish my decorating and shopping. I can now say that I am finally done; just in time for Christmas.
Even though life has been so hectic, I did manage to work on one project recently. I made two of these canvas Christmas trees as a decoration for the top of our flat-screen TV console in our family room. There is only about 8 inches of space on either side of our TV so these trees are the perfect as they are tall and slim. An added bonus is that they are “husband friendly” because they won’t get in the way when they are watching TV or using the remote control.
Here’s how you can make your own:
Supplies needed to make one tree:
-1 cardboard paper tree form or you can make your own with Bristol board. (I used a 16″ tall tree form)
-pre-primed artist’s canvas on a roll
-1-2 packages of script tissue paper from Michaels or tissue paper in a pattern of your choice
-Mod Podge satin finish
-white fine glitter (optional)
-white craft paint or Gesso (optional)
-plastic spatula if adding fake snow texture (optional)
-pinking shears and regular scissors
-glue gun and approximately 10 glue sticks
-disposable cups for mixing
-sponge paint brushes
-a long ruler or wooden yardstick
-an erasable pencil or chalk
-1″ green painter’s tape (optional)
-2 wide candlesticks for display (optional)
For this project, I used this script tissue paper that I found at Michaels in the scrapbook paper aisle. It was only $2.99 for a pack of 5 pieces of 12″X12″ tissue. You will need at least one pack of tissue paper to complete one tree. The amount you will end up needing really depends on how large your tree form is and how wide you make your strips. If in doubt, buy two packs so that you have a little extra on hand.
Here you can see the pre-primed canvas that I used to make my trees. It is primed only on one side with raw canvas on the back. My local art store sells this canvas on a huge roll by the foot so I ended up buying a piece 2 feet by 60″ for only $12.00. After making my trees I had a little bit left over for some future projects. If you can’t find this canvas at your local store then you should be able to find it online either on Ebay or Amazon.
First, dilute some Mod Podge with a small amount of water in a disposable cup. You want it to be a little runnier than usual but not dripping. Next, decoupage a sheet of the script tissue paper to the primed side of your canvas by adding a layer of Mod Podge and then carefully placing the tissue paper face-up on top of the wet glue. Use your hand to smooth out the tissue and make sure it is fully stuck down everywhere. Also, don’t waste your time trying to remove the wrinkles in the tissue because they won’t even show when your tree is eventually assembled.
Keep adding sheets of tissue paper across your canvas, decoupaging as you go. Try to keep your tissue paper straight with each additional sheet added. Once you have finished decoupaging then apply a coat of the Mod Podge over top of everything to seal it. Leave your canvas to dry completely before moving on.
This next step is optional.
I decided to age my canvas because the script tissue paper is cream in color and my Christmas decorations are white. If you like the color as is, then move on to the next step. If not, you can age your own canvas by applying a very diluted coat of white gesso or white craft paint to the top with a sponge brush. Dilute your paint with enough water so that it is runny (almost like skim milk). Work on one small section at a time. Paint on the mixture then use a damp paper towel and rub it away immediately. You still want to be able to see the text still when you are done. (Photo above shows aged canvas on the left, original on the right).
After your canvas is dry, apply one to two coats of diluted Mod Podge to seal it. Leave it to dry completely.
Now turn over your canvas onto the backside (the fabric side). Use your yardstick to square the bottom of your canvas and then cut the entire length of the bottom of your canvas with your pinking shears.
Next, use your yardstick to measure out and draw lines 2.5″ apart. I made myself a 2.5 inch wide strip of cardboard from a pasta box and used that to draw the lines on each end of the canvas and then used my yardstick to connect the lines. Preferably use a disappearing sewing felt pen to draw the lines. I used a pencil and erased the markings afterward but you could still see the marks when I was done.
Making sure you have the text facing in the right direction, cut on the top of your drawn lines with your pinking shears so that the bottom of each of your strips of fabric has a pinked edge. I messed up on my first strip as I cut the wrong end of the fabric and my text ended up upside down. Oops! I used this strip for the bottom of the tree where it was less noticeable and then made sure I cut the rest of my strips the correct way.
Place a piece of one inch painters tape at the top of your first strip to make a guide for cutting. Using your pinking shears, cut approximately a 1.5″ vertical straight line up to your tape without cutting into your tape. Then cut your next line about 1.5″ over. I just eyeballed my cutting and did not measure. Move along your entire strip of fabric making sure that each end of your cut is pinked.
Next, cut your previously cut sections in half to make approximately 1/2″-3/4″ strips.
Now use a pencil or a chopstick to roll the bottom of your strip upwards to make it curl. I rolled mine about half-way up to the bottom of the green tape. NOTE: Canvas has a mind of its own and sometimes curls unevenly. This just adds character in my opinion.
Remove the painter’s tape from your fabric to be used on the next strip. Continue cutting and rolling all of your strips so they are ready to add to your tree form.
Using your glue gun attach your first strip of fabric (on the uncut portion only) to the tree form approximately 1.5″ up from the bottom. Make sure you have your text right side up (this one was my mistake-yours should be the right way up). Match up the top of your fringe to the bottom of your tree form as shown. Try to keep your strip of fabric as straight as possible as you glue it around the tree. As you come to the area where each end of your strip will meet, use your scissors to cut off the excess fabric and then secure the ends with hot glue.
Next, fill in any gaps at the top of your strip with more hot glue for added durability before moving on.
Continue adding strips of fabric to your tree with your glue gun. As you move up the tree it often helps to cut small slits in the top of the fabric to help it better form to the tree.
For each continuing strip of fabric, move up approximately 1″ above the previous one so there is a separation between the layers but no so much that you can see the cardboard base showing through. Save some of the smaller fabric scraps for the top levels of the tree. Also, I made sure to start my strip of fabric on the same side of the tree for each layer so that the seams were less noticeable.
When you get closer to the top of your tree it can get a little tricky to add the strips of fabric without a lot of overlap. This is where adding more slits comes in handy to help the ribbon mold better to the tree.
To hide any noticeable gaps such as the very top of the tree you can coat it with a layer of fake snow texture such as Snow-Tex or MS’ White Texture Effect. Use your plastic spatula to apply it as needed and then leave it to dry for at least 30 minutes.
To add even more glamour to your tree you can apply glitter randomly to the branches of your tree with Mod Podge. I used Martha Stewart’s glitter (fine white) but you can use whatever color fits with your decor. It is hard to see the glitter in the above photo but my trees have a beautiful sparkle to them when the light hits them.
That’s all there is to making these sweet little trees! The most time-consuming part of this project is cutting the strips of fabric with the pinking shears but once you get through that part the rest of the project moves fairly quickly.
I think my tree turned out pretty cute, what do you think? I love that they cost so little to make and that I will have them for years to come.
You can display your trees as is or you will find that the cone form usually fits over most wide candlestick holders. I ended up using these amazing FRTJUST candy bowls that I found at Ikea for the base of my tree.
I love the vertical element that these trees bring to my decor. From afar they look like they are made of paper but up close most people are surprised to find out they are in fact made of canvas.
Have you ever had a chance to use pre-primed canvas for projects before? Maybe you didn’t even know it existed. I have used it for a couple of projects so far and I think it is my new best friend. It’s awesome!
Keep an eye out on my blog for more projects using pre-primed canvas coming in the near future. As well, I know I am really late but I hope to share some more of my Christmas decor with you tomorrow.