Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations
We are all trying to be a little greener in our lives to help protect ‘Mother Earth’ and a great way to do this is to make your own Christmas decorations from things around the home. Besides the ‘green’ aspects of it – spending time with your children making them is a marvellous way to enjoy quality time with them. And the fresh air is great as well. What’s not to like.
While winter and the holiday season may force a break from gardening for many of us, it’s a great time of year to pay homage to your favorite hobby. The Christmas tree doesn’t have to be a traditional, red and green, tinsel draped affair. Why not devote your tree, or at least some of its decor, to your love of gardening? Here are a few easy, do-it-yourself ornament ideas for gardeners.
Using Items From Your Garden
You don’t need to look any further than your garden to find wonderful materials for your ornaments. Choosing items directly from your garden, such as seed heads, pine cones, evergreen branches, and pressed flowers will give your tree a natural look. Some options:
1. Seed Head Wreaths
If you have left perennials and their seed heads intact for winter interest, you have some great materials for ornaments. For example, Rudbeckia or Echinacea seed heads are sturdy, and make great ornaments. To make a simple seed head wreath, simply cut a circle of cardboard or foam board to the size wreath ornament you want on your tree. To disguise the cardboard, you can either wrap it in raffia or twine, or give it a coat of paint.
Once you’ve done this, use a hot glue gun to attach seed heads (with as little stem attached as possible) to your wreath. You can do one side, or make your ornament totally three dimensional by adding seed heads to both sides. The next, vital, step is to seal your ornament so the seed heads stay intact. You can use some hairspray, workable fixative, or a light coat of polyurethane. Finally, add some ribbon, and attach it to your tree.
2. Glittering Pine Cones
This is hardly a new idea, but it is one that any gardener with a pine tree can appreciate. Collect pine cones from your garden (or from around the neighborhood or behind your summerhouse). Select sizes and shapes that appeal to you. The only trick to working with pine cones is that they are often sappy, and you will be a sticky mess after working with them. To prevent this, simply bake the pine cones on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes. Once you have your non-sticky pine cones, it’s time to create a way to hang it from your tree.
If you have a very sturdy pinecone, you can screw a small screw eye into the base of the pinecone, and attach either some ribbon or a hook to that. Otherwise, you can use some twine or wire by simply wrapping a bit around the pine cone, tying it off, and using that to hang it from. After you’ve finished this, it’s time to make them sparkle. You can paint a little diluted white glue onto the tips of the scales, then sprinkle the entire thing with your choice of glitter and shake off the excess. Or, you can spray the entire cone with spray adhesive, pour glitter over it, and have a completely glittery cone. For a different look, you can try using a few different colors of glitter. Paint a few scales with white glue, glitter them, and let them dry.
Then, do a few different scales in another color. Once those dry, you can add another color. A beautiful combination of copper, silver, and gold would look gorgeous, as would a traditional red and green combo. Of course, you can be totally wild and use pink and purple, if that’s your style.
3. Dried Hydrangeas
Ornaments don’t get any easier than this. Hydrangeas dry to gorgeous colors in the fall, and, if you cut some off of your shrubs now, you can decorate your tree with them. All you have to do is cut the bloom off the shrub, leaving a couple inches of branch attached. Then, just stick them into your tree wherever you want a pop of bloom.
4. Evergreen Branches
Much like the hydrangeas, you can use branches from arborvitaes, pines, or cedars in your tree. They’ll add extra texture, different colors, and wonderful scent to the tree which is a real bonus if you have an artificial tree. Just stick the evergreen branches, either in bunches or individually, into your tree wherever you need a little color or texture.
5.Pressed Flower Ornaments
If you enjoy pressing flowers, you can make a wide assortment of Christmas ornaments. Here are some ideas:
Cut two pieces of glass or plexiglass to your desired size and shape, and sandwich either a single pressed bloom or an arrangement of several pretty blooms inside. Secure the two pieces of glass or acrylic together using copper foil tape. To make it hangable, drill a small hole in the top center of your ornament to thread a ribbon or bit of wire through.
A good craft to do with the kids is cut thin pieces of wood (thin plywood or hardboard is perfect for this) into shapes, paint it any color you like, and glue or decoupage the pressed flowers onto the wood. Drill a small hole to loop some ribbon or twine through to hang it from the tree.
For the more patient among us, decoupaging blooms to the inside of a clear glass Christmas ball can give your tree a very elegant look. The first step is to use a thin brush to paint some white glue or decoupage medium to the inside of your ball. Use long tweezers to place your pressed flower onto the glue. Add as many blooms as you’d like. Once your blooms are in place, let the glue dry completely.
If you want to add even more color, you can paint the inside or outside of your ball with paint specifically made to adhere to glass. Reattach the ornament topper, and you have a beautiful decoration that would also make a perfect gift.