To celebrate the season I am kicking off Craft Lightning holiday week — a collection highlighting simple Christmas crafts that can be completed in 15 minutes or less, plus, I feature a roundup of other quick-and-easy craft projects from craft bloggers around the web. My project today was created as part of Michael’s Dream Tree challenge, but I think it may have spurred a pompom epidemic that will be felt in my house through Valentines day!
Before we begin, I just want to say that I’m not in the business of telling people what to do, especially if when it comes to something as personal as holiday decorating (I’d sooner tell someone how to put on their socks than how to do their Christmas tree (and you don’t even want to see the horns that come out of my head when someone tries to tell me how to do mine!)). That said. Ahem. If there is one suggestion that I could give the world, it would be to bust out of the heavy, dull triangle shape of the traditional tree by adding a layer of what I call “frosting.”
What is frosting? It’s the things you add to the surface of the tree to make it less of a cone shape. Branches. Feathers. Big swags of tulle and mesh. Stuff that sprouts out of the tree, not the stuff that hangs off the branches in the tree. I talked about this a little more in-depth while back. Frosting a tree is an absolute game changer. This year I added these pompom branches and you would not believe how much of a difference they make. Look!
Yes there are more ornaments on the right, but the magic happens in the edges. There are no hard lines. Let’s look again.
One is a boring triangle. One is a boo-yow spaghetti monster. Which one would you want to take home?
That was a rhetorical question.
These branches are super fun (AND EFFECTIVE) so I thought I would share how I made them. Let’s go!
One last time: did I mention this was easy? It’s easy.
Gold Branches. I used faux, plastic and wire branches from the floral section at Michael’s. One stem retails for $9.99, but they are big so you can get 2 or 3 branches out of each stem. Holiday floral is 50% off right now, and Michael’s currently has a coupon for 25% off (including sale items) so that means you can get one stem for $2.50, which actually breaks down to one branch for 83cents. That’s a great deal! I noticed yesterday that Michael’s also carries a red velvet flocked version of this branch. THAT WOULD LOOK AWESOME. You can also use real branches from the garden, but be wary of using them on a tree in a high-traffic area because when they snap, they snap. Can you tell I learned that one the hard way? Yeah. How many branches will you need per tree? The more the merrier, but I suggest at least an average of 2 per foot of tree. So if you have a 6′ tree, prepare for 12 or more branches. I would go with 18. It’s Christmas.
Pompoms. I have been gradually collecting pompoms for some time, but if you are a beginner, I like this variety bag (again, from Michaels – retails at $5.99 but you can use your 40% off coupon) and just remove the blue ones. Just about anything with a rainbow assortment can look Christmasy when you remove anything blue or black. I think I might have also added a couple mini packs of red for good measure, but it’s very easy to customize your color wave here.
Hot Glue. I strongly suggest using a glue gun with a “warm” setting so you don’t burn your fingers, because your fingers are going to be all up in here, but that’s your call.
Something to keep your braches upright. This process will go a lot faster if you have your branches sticking in a bucket of sand or a heavy vase. Trust me.
Start with a dab of glue on the tip of the branch.
Now stick a pom pom on it. I like to burry the glue bit in the pompom so it stays on there good and snug, but that’s a lot easier when you aren’t worried about burning your fingers (high five to you, warm temp setting glue gun).
If you are using the branches I used, you’ll find there is a fork in the middle. You can use a wire cutter to snip them off, but I found that wiggling them back and forth ten times was equally effective.
When they are done you can stick them in the tree, no wires or hangers needed. Just slip them in as the very last item on the tree and watch the magic happen! Or, skip the tree and make your own little table top tree.
Doesn’t this remind you of those gumdrop branches that used to be popular back in the day?
And here is a tip to remember: If you find yourself with a bunch of glue strings, wait until you finish all the branches, bundle together, then hit them with a hairdryer for 20 seconds. The strings disappear. I know, isn’t that nifty?
Merry Christmas! Looking for other quick and easy ways to kick off the holiday season?
ME TOO! Now for the great crafts from our partner blogs this week…
I’m nuts over these plaid rag ball ornaments a try over at Mad in Crafts. She is ground zero for the holiday plaid trend so be sure to check her out (no pun intended). Also, Jessica is the person who gave me my new favorite German vocabulary word, backpfeifengesicht = a face that needs to be slapped, so y’all are going to like her if you don’t already.
Speaking of plaid…these plaid ruffle tags from Dolen Diaries are too cute!
This custom photo ornament would make a terrific gift for anyone, but I see the granny crowd going especially nuts for a gift like this. Home gift + cute photos of children = Happy Grannies.
Michelle’s Party Plan It made some festive drink containers and coasters in just minutes.
Or look at these snowmen. Would you have ever guessed they started out as a child’s handprint? Amazing!
Or what about vintage blocks become photo holders with this tutorial from Duct Tape and Denim. These were made for your mantel. HELLO.
And, turn simple circles into a card in minutes with this idea from Cute as a Fox. Way to up your holiday card game!
Angie’s holiday luminaries are going to take festiveness to new levels!
Don’t miss a minute of Craft Lightning It’ll be here all week. Click here to follow along with our Pinterest board so you don’t miss a thing!
“Gumdrop trees!!!!” is the first thing that popped into my head, before reading any of your wonderful (as usual) post.
Your idea is so much better; no sticky, sugary mess, and no one will be tempted to eat the pompoms.
This is such a fun idea and will be a nice change.
Bonus: doubles as a post-Christmas cat toy.
Dude. I did not even consider the cat toy ramifications of this craft. NANCY, YOU GENIUS YOU!
LOLA is my muse.
God bless you for breaking down the cost of the branches, and I will be heading to Michael’s tomorrow. I was trying to figure out how I could afford to add some of your “frosting” to my cozy, plaid tree… red flocked branches it shall be!
Anne in NC
LOVE these pom pom branches, and the interesting tip about removing the blue ones. Now my question — do you think regular white craft glue would work? I actually don’t own a glue gun, hot, cold, or in-between.
You could try quick dry tacky glue (the thickness might help hold), but I would fabric fusion tape (I’m on my phone or I’d include a link but you’ll see I used it in my yarn wrapped lampshade a couple day ago). It is SUPER STICKY. You’ll find it (or similar) by the hem tape in the sewing section. You’ll probably want to cut it into tiny pieces, then wrap the branch tip, then use then bury it deep in the pompom. Let me know how it turns out!
I’ve been looking for something to top off my Mickey Mouse tree without breaking the bank.
Added bonus-perfect craft project for my crafting challenged nieces for ‘Craft Day’.
THERE SHALL BE NO TEARS THIS YEAR!
(And the blow dryer tip for the glue strings? Where have you been all my life?!! Why have I not known if this???)
OH OH OH!!! We can hit them with some sparkly things, like glitter or fake snow! It’ll look like frosting too!!!
Deb in Oklahoma
Uh, YEAH you spurred a pompom epidemic! My student workers are already planning to make these for the office Christmas tree, and joy of joys, last Friday I found a stash of already-painted and glittered branches that had been thrown in a storage closet last year after Christmas, so we’re already halfway done. But we’re going to get a little crazy and go with only ONE color for all the pompoms, and not use that color elsewhere on the tree. I know…we’re pushing the envelope on this one. Thank you for the How-To’s and Tips.
DAAANG! Those pom pom branches totally change the game for the tree! I’m makin’ some tomorrow!
They are so beautiful and I thought you had to create the branches, too…this is easy squeezy! p.s. you can tell me what to do any time.
Angie @ CCC
I can’t stand the cuteness! LOVE!
Once again, worried about Louis, the insane demonic cute-as-a-button cat, attacking Christmas tree. Branches that will make good cat toys later will make great cat toys as soon as they’re done!!!!
Perfume? That’ll really work?
Oh my goodness! Your branches are so cheerful and adorable! I like them equally well in the vase. Thanks for the tutorial.
I love these. Absolutely love them. They remind me a little of pussywillows… but so much more colorful and fun!
It doesn’t seem possible to be a humbug if you have these in the house (and I frequently am, this time of year). So much happy!
Also, probably going to sign my holiday cards, “Boo-yow, Katie”
You have the best phrases.
Your tree with the fluffy pom pom branches was by far my favorite of a host of lovely trees. Thanks for this tutorial!
Would you mind if I used one of your pics–with attribution and links–on my blog?
Of course- you are always welcome. Thanks for shout out 🙂
So I finally got to Michaels (this was in Oakland, there are very few Michaels in SF area), and there was ONE gold branch left. All the other Christmas floral stuff was full, as in not bought yet. Unlike the cleared out gold branch section….
There might be some indicators here that you’ve got a hit on your hands 🙂