Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wine Decanter Branch Tree (DIY)

I woke up this morning to discover that I had a snow day - school is closed today (one magical perk of being an elementary school librarian).  With nine glorious hours of free time on my hands, I decided to decorate for the holidays, because, why not?  

It was either that or Netflix and sweatpants all day...well, let's be real: I did all three things: decorating, Netflix, AND sweatpants.
  Good morning, snow!

My home is relatively small, so a traditional Christmas tree just won't work here.  
I have an eclectic little group of ornaments to display, and wanted to spend zero dollars on this.  The solution: a modern stick tree.  It's simple, disposable, and practically free - all of my favorite things!

You will need: 
wine decanter or a vase with a wide flat base
6-8 branches in a variety of sizes
attractive rocks
15-25 ornaments
heavy wire clippers
hot glue gun

I began this process with a very chilly (and slightly unpleasant) walk outside.  
After collecting about eight nice branches, I shuffled back inside. I suggest picking branches in a variety of sizes, ranging from 1 to 3 ft. long with plenty of little twigs to hang your ornaments from.
Brush away any dirt and carefully pluck off any stubborn leaves.
The glass wine decanter I used is from the thrift store and cost about two dollars. If you don't have a decanter on hand, you can purchase one similar to this online or use a sturdy vase.
Very carefully, fill the bottom portion of the vase with attractive rocks. I suggest tilting the decanter so the rocks slide down rather than dropping them to crash to the bottom.  This could get dangerous. 
Again, I found the rocks outside while creating this Light Fixture Terrarium DIY.  
If you aren't as ambitious as I am, or if its snowing outside right now, you could always buy a few bags from the dollar store.

Arrange the branches in your decanter.
Start by placing the tallest branches in the center and placing smaller sticks around it, creating a tree shape. Use the wire clippers to shorten or trim as necessary. 
Don't worry about making the stick arrangement perfectly symmetrical. This isn't likely when using natural materials in a variety of sizes - and that is okay - the charm of handmade treasures are the imperfections, right?
When you are happy with your tree, use tiny dabs of hot glue to hod the branches in place. 
Avoid gluing the glass if you can - delicate glass decanters may crack when exposed to the heat, and too much glue will make your tree difficult to disassemble after Christmas. 
Notice how the glue caused steam to collect in the vase making it foggy. I'm not sure how to prevent that.  Hopefully, it goes away over time.
Now we adorn with ornaments.
I have a hodgepodge assortment of ornaments from thrift stores, family members, and things I've made.
Don't stress about making them coordinate perfectly or you'll lose the eclectic feel of this project.
The goal here is NOT to have ornaments that look as if they came together in a boxed set from Walmart.  Mix sizes and textures.  Combine handmade with vintage and elaborate with rustic.  
I recommend choosing one metal: either silver or gold.  
I chose gold, leaving my silver ornaments in the crate for next christmas. 
Don't feel obligated to display every ornament you own every single year.  Next year, you'll be interested in something completely different and those unused ornaments will be exactly what you want.  Trust me on this.
Hang the heaviest ornaments close to the center to avoid tipping and place light delicate items closer to the tips of your branches.
Red lantern from Target, after Christmas clearance post here.
 Here are links to a few of the handmade ornaments used in this post:

What ornaments do you plan to display this year?

Do some of them have special meanings and stories?

Do you have handmade ornaments as well?

I can't wait to see your wine decanter tree!

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