We have a new animal in the house this year – you may recognize her from this post. She’s named after Windom Earle, the villain from “Twin Peaks.” I call her the Craft Overlord.

An example:

craft overlord
The Craft Overlord inhabiting my lightbox.

So this year, with so many childhood ornaments at risk, we decided not to get a real Christmas tree. Just the thought her getting into the tree is enough to make my blood run cold. Instead, I decided to make my own tree, devoid of dangling ornaments and tempting foliage.

Because I work a lot with paper in my art, I thought it only fitting to find a way to make an interesting wall-mounted (and cat-proof) tree using pages from an antique magazine anthology. Here’s how I did it and what you’ll need to do it yourself.

tutorial text materials

materials needed

  • Stapler
  • Dropcloth
  • Book pages
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glitter
  • Tree topper or other decorations of your choosing

tutorial text copy

sprayglue

For this project, I chose to use antique papers, because I love the textures that only they can provide. But a huge caveat comes along with that: antique papers are brittle, brittle, brittle. If I hadn’t had easy (and cheap) access to a large quantity of paper, I would have chosen something else, like a book from the thrift store or even newspaper.

First I spread out my dropcloth (an old sheet) and opened all the windows – spray adhesive can be stinky stuff. It’s best to keep kids and pets away during this step.

glitter

Working one by one, spray each piece of paper with the adhesive, sprinkling the glitter over the paper before it has a chance to dry. You can use any glitter you want, but I decided I wanted a chunky glitter in silver and gold tones, so I beelined for the kids’ craft section at the store. If you want something more subtle, look for glitter in the scrapbooking or paints section. Leave the pages for at least half an hour to dry completely.

create cones

papercones

If you are using old paper like I did, now is the time to be super careful. One crease and your beautiful cone will crack into multiple pieces. So, very gently, roll your sheets of paper into cones that look like the ones above. These don’t have to be perfect or even match each other exactly – after all, a live Christmas tree is neither of those things!

Once your cone is in shape, staple the seams together, again being very careful with the brittle paper.

tutorial text 3

Simple, simple, simple! Just unfold your stapler and start playing. I started at the top, with just one cone and continued down, stapling new cones into place as I went. Some were nestled inside other cones and some just sat beside their neighbor cones. It’s all up to you how you want this to look. I like a nice, tight look, so I made sure that none of the wall was showing through when I was done. Best of all? Each cone took only ONE staple to attach it. No sticky glue mess, no holes, no anchors, no nothing! After the holiday I’ll just pop the staples out and the wall will be good as new.

decorate

I felt that the fragile paper I chose wouldn’t hold up to lights or traditional decorations, so instead I pulled together a simple-but-glitzy tree topper, just to round out the look of the tree. If you’ve used heavier paper, feel free to go wild with the decorations – a garland would be beautiful or even some lightweight glittery stars.

finishedtree

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