Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pipe-Cleaner Christmas Trees

I never planned on such an early Christmas post but like it or not, Christmas is barreling down on us. I hate that I think of it that way sometimes but I not only have a personal Christmas, I also have Christmas at work- more trees and decorations, more food and festivities, more hustle and bustle. Any time I can cut the work load without sacrificing the holiday spirit- I'm all for it.

Cute and cheap and quick! That's the ticket! I found myself wanting "something more" for a centerpiece on the tables at work last year and came up with these little guys. They go together fairly quickly and I got plenty of compliments, particularly on the ones made with the white sparkly pipecleaner.

Important Bit- I honestly don't remember if I came up with this on my own or if I had seen it somewhere else and just didn't remember. All I know is that I was doing a centerpiece for a meal with the patients and it had to be super-duper inexpensive. If you've done this or have seen it some place, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

The bare minimum items that you need for each tree are:

Styro cones
Pipe cleaners

I used 6 inch cones for these trees and that size took 17 pipe cleaners. Of course I went with the sparkly ones.

Insert one end of the first pipe cleaner into the top of the cone about 1/2 an inch.

Bend the pipe cleaner over at a 90 degree angle,


and start curling it in a circle around in a circle on the flat top of the cone.


The stem will spring loose if you don't hold on to it so you'll need to "keep a holt of it" as they say out on the farm.

The first stem should make it over the edge of the flat top on the cone. The nice thing about the sparkly pipe cleaner is that it sort of sticks into the styro a bit to hold on. We'll talk in a minute about the softer pipe cleaner.

When you run out of stem, make an elbow about 1/4 inch long ...

and stick it into the cone.


Insert the next stem right beside the first one and continue to wrap the cone.


Be careful about leaving too much space between each stem or the cone will show through. If you're using white pipe cleaner that's not such an issue. I try to coil the stems so that the ends of the little bristles overlap just a tiny bit.  That seems to be a fairly economical way of doing it but of course you can wrap the pipe cleaner more densely if you prefer. Just remember that you will need more than 17 stems of pipe cleaner if you do.


Wrap the pipe cleaner all the way down to the base of the cone.

Turn about an inch or so of the last stem under the base and insert the end into the styro.

You can make toppers for your trees if you would like using whatever you have on hand. I had these small ornaments and just ran a pearl pin through each one and stuck it onto the top of the tree. 

You could decorate your tree with sequins or beads if you wanted to but I didn't do that so don't have any pics to show you how cute I'm sure it would be. 

The white tree you see above (in the middle) is made with the sparkly white pipecleaner and got lots of compliments. People had no idea what it was made from. Then we have a fun little Santa's Hat tree made from the softer pipe cleaner. There was a pom pom on top but it apparently went on back to the North Pole, never to be seen again. The white at the top of the Santa Hat tree gave me an ornery time- it didn't want to stay put.

Cut a piece of stem about half an inch, fold it into a "V" and use it to anchor your cantankerous section of stem into place.

For last year's patient Christmas Dinner table, I was working with a lime green and red theme but green Christmas trees are so expected so I made mine red.

We set up one long banquet table so I generally use a long centerpiece that stretches most of the length of the table. I ended up with about half a dozen more trees after I took this photo.

I bought the silver sparkle stars at Michael's. They're foam and a little hot glue gun action was all it took to get them to stay.

The Intern made this centerpiece for our overflow table. So simple but so festive. Maybe it would look nice if the entire thing were set on a silver or glass platter.

So there you go- easy little trees for your Christmas decorating needs. My mind is already churning for this year- maybe an entire Christmas tree forest with trees of different sizes, some fuzzy, some sparkly, maybe some wrapped with ribbon. Oh boy, the possibilities.

And even though this is a Christmas post, don't forget to have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

  1. Have sparkly gold pipe cleaners! Have a styrofoam tree! I think I really need one of these!