A couple of years ago my BFF (who from here on in shall be called Pookie for that is what I call her) made me a mini Christmas tree. This may not seem exciting to you but she’s definitely not the “crafty” one of the group. I taught her how to knit and that in and of itself SHOCKED me. She had the patience for it and did it more than once! Mind you, she puts it down for years at a time, but she still did it! And liked it! Patience is not one of her virtues.
So, she made me this super cute mini tree made of wire hangers and garland. I loved it. I kept it by my night stand. Who doesn’t love a little Christmas cheer in the bedroom, which is generally neglected when it comes to holiday decor. But couple a damp crawl space with a delicate tree and it sadly didn’t make it through to this year. I begged for another one and instead she told me she’d show me how to do it myself. Cool, I thought. And it is cool! And it’s a pain in the ass too.
It’s totally shocking after she showed me how to do it that MY Pookie, the one with absolutely no patience, was able to make a load of these beautiful trees. She shocks me still after 22 years of knowing her. And I love her for it.
So it was decided that this morning she’d come over for coffee and tree-makin-time. She lives four houses down so this isn’t really like rocket science to plan. Plus coffee with the Pookie is one of my favorite things ever.
These little trees are really difficult to explain, but I will do my best and hope that common sense and logic take over for you. Two areas which aren’t my strong suits.
You’ll need a bunch of stuff. Stuff like this.
Yeah, too general I know. Well, here’s what you’ll need:
4 Wire hangers (the coated ones work the best)
15 or so feet of garland. Preferably not white unless you intend of using white string lights AND white electrical tape. You see I have white garland above, but I had to change my tree to silver for just such a reason.
A set of mini lights. I prefer the battery powered ones, but it’s up to you.
A tree topper. A mini one.
Lots of patience.
The first thing you are going to do is set the wire hangers in each of your hands with the hooks facing on another, pointy side down. Slip each hook through the main body of the opposite hanger and hook it onto the bar of that hanger. Yes, I know, makes no sense, but look. (The 6’8 angry looking guy in the background is optional).
It’ll stand up on it’s own, I promise. This is one of those things you really need to TRY with all the stuff in your hand for it to make sense. If you are just reading it, you are probably going HUH? But trust me, makes more sense in practice!
Now you are going to do the exact same thing to the other 2 hangers. Once that’s done you are going to start securing the hangers together using pipe cleaners.
Insert the one set of hangers UNDER the other set of hangers so they all come together right in the center, like this:It makes a little tripod that looks kind of like a tree already. Start TIGHTLY wrapping the pipe cleaners on the center top of the structure. And WRAP like hell because you don’t want them coming apart. This WILL be awkward at first, but once you get it just a little tight, it becomes MUCH easier. Then do the same thing on each hook, securing the hook very tightly (and closely) to the bar of the hanger it’s attached to. Make sure you secure ALL the hooks! Here’s what it’ll start to look like:
Once that’s done and your base is nice and secure (it might be a little off balance but it shouldn’t fall. It should be very stable), you are going to get your tree topper on. This has to be done first because the garland will cover the space you need to put it on. If you’ve got a tree topper with a hole in it already, good. Just stick a pipe cleaner through the hole and wrap it around the base of the topper until it’s nice and secure and sticks straight up. Leave enough pipe cleaner at the bottom of your topper to attach it to the top of your tree frame, right in the center. There’s already pipe cleaners there, so feel free to wrap around that existing pipe cleaner. I did it in an X formation to secure it even better, over and under, like you are sewing on a button. Wrap that sucker tight so it stands up nice and straight!
Mine tree topper was actually an ornament, so I had to put it half way through it and secure it that way. Take a look:Now it’s time for the lights!
Starting at the bottom of the frame, wrap your lights around the frame, taping the string to the frame with electrical tape. Make sure each light is sticking OUT because the garland is going to cover most of the actual strand, and you want your lights to show. It’s ok to kind of twist the light strand and tape appropriately to force the lights to stay outward. (YEAH! You tell those lights!) Remember to go in a slightly upward spiral angle, taping well as you go, until you reach the top of the tree. If you want more than one set of lights remember to start at the base again but go in the OPPOSITE direction, spiraling up towards the top. If your lights only go halfway up the tree and you can comfortably hide the connection (non battery operated lights are the only ones that have those), then you can start where you left off.
Now take your garland and, starting at the top of your tree, LOOSELY start draping the garland over the frame. LOOSELY now. I got scolded about 500 times for making it too tight. I can’t help it. It’s my natural crafting inclination to make things secure, but in this case, it’s counter intuitive. The tighter you make it, the more SQUARE your tree will look, and that’s bad. You want it to look like a tree! That didn’t stop me from inadvertently tightening it though. Pookie kept having to loosen it for me. Mind your lights too! Make sure that the strands are covered but the bulbs are not. The garland should kind of act as a “rest” for the bulbs, you don’t want those covered (see, that’s why I told you they needed to be sticking out!)
My tree topper was a little small, as you can see, so I had to trim some of the garland back so it showed. Once your garland is nice and wrapped all the way to the bottom of the base, just cut it and tuck it in. It’ll stay. You see now why I couldn’t use the white garland…you could see the electrical tape and light strand right through it. Stupid white garland.
Now it’s time to decorate your tree. Use lightweight mini ornaments. You don’t want them too heavy or they will pull the garland down. You can use string to attach the ornaments or hooks. Use lightweight mini hooks OR cut regular size hooks and make loops yourself.
Now you just gotta turn on your lights!
Honestly, it’s TOTALLY cute, but if I had to do it again I would add more lights. Pookie’s idea of securing one of the lights just behind the tree topper was a great idea. If you get the change, get a string of 50 mini lights, I got 2 strings of ten and I’m not happy with the amount of lights at all. But hell, this was my first attempt! I plan on making more. They are very delicate, and so many of my friends live too far for me to bring it to them, so shipping would be the only option. I’m not too keen on doing that, I’d be afraid of them jostling too much. That’s ok, I’ll still make a bunch more of them cause I’m damn determined to make me some more mini trees! How’s THAT for jolly holly!