Sunday, December 12, 2010

Burlap & Twine Christmas Tree

'Tis the season to go craft crazy.  I mean, clearly there aren't more important responsibilities to take care of like going to work, taking care of your children, or reLAXING!  Nooo....spending hours wrapping twine around styrofoam balls is a MUCH more logical use of that's what I did.

I was inspired by a sheet of screen printed burlap I bought in Seattle a few months back.  Taking such an unexpected material, like a utility fabric and making it something beautiful really got my brain buzzing.

Needing an excuse to play with my new favorite material, I decided on a Burlap & Twine Christmas Tree. So here's what I made:

Burlap Flowers:
I went over to Joann Fabric and picked up about 10 yards of burlap for $1.50/yard (after 50% off coupon). I cut out somewhere between a one and a billion circles, folded them in quarters and wired the bottoms together (I didn't have any actual wire, so I unfolded a bunch of those cheap metal ornament hooks), and **poof** you've got flower:

Paper "Mod" Ornaments:
My studio already kinda looks like a paper warehouse, so when I saw this ornament tutorial over on Design Sponge a while back, I had plently of material to work with. Some ornaments I made from plain kraft paper, some from old time Christmas scrap book paper and my favorites, from pages of a vintage geography book I found at an antique shop.

Twine Wrapped Ball:
This ornament is pretty easy, although more time consuming than you might think.  It's just twine wrapped around a styrofoam ball. If you try it, just make sure you add dots of glue along the way, it'll keep the wrap tight and also keep you from losing your work if you have to stop half way through:

Stringy Wrapped Bally Thing:
These stringy wrapped bally things are from Martha Stewart.  I had some rolls of twine, some yarn, and funky textured string. All you have to do is wrap the string around a balloon and paint with glue, I used Elmer's, but a crocheting stiffener would probably work better. Martha's tutorial is here. The size of your stringy ball can be as big as you can blow a balloon, no need to limit yourself to "fist size" as instructed in the tutorial.

Some hung:

Some just tucked in between branches:

Tree Topper:
Now, I don't know about you, but I tend to find inspiration just about everywhere.  Even when I'm in a doctors office...about to get an make sure there isn't a growth...on my SPINE (there wasn't).  Anyhoodle, as I was sitting at the imaging center, I saw this fun thing hanging from the ceiling.  I just loved it, so I took a picture to save for a rainy day:

Little did I know then, the lonely star hanging from that ugly drop ceiling was my future Christmas Tree topper.

The paper is from the same vintage geography book other ornaments are made from:

Here 'tis on the floor:

Here 'tis atop the tree:

Tree Skirt:
And the final touch, a tree skirt.  I still had yards of burlap left and just draped the unfinished fabric around the bottom of the tree. It totally worked, but it was missing something.

I had read about a freezer paper stencil technique all over the internets.  It was easy enough, just cut a design into the paper or use an inkjet printer to print your image on the paper side (not the waxy side) and use as a cutting template. Then, iron the paper (waxy side down) to your material and brush or dab paint right on top.  When you're done painting, just pull the paper up. No waxy or sticky residue left behind. 

Oh, did I mention that a whole roll of this stuff costs all of $3.50?  Make your own stencils for $3.50? Oh yeah, I'm all over it:

Here's the cut out:
And here's the painted version: I used printers ink, which I wouldn't recommend, it's way too sticky, fabric paint would do just fine and be much more forgiving:


Put it all together and you have a Handmade Burlap & Twine Christmas Tree:

Coming soon: Personalized Stockings and Burlap Holiday Wreath.


Sandra said...


Maritxikis said...

Beautiful tree. Thanks for the ideas.

Ruffles and Relics said...

love it!! just found this on pinterest..

Anonymous said...

great looking tree - thanks for the ideas! what did you use to secure the paper mod ornaments?

Mrs. Julius said...

LOVE it! This is exactly how I want my tree this year! Burlap & Twine.

Thanks so much for the tips and how to. :)

Kristen Jackson said...

For the "mod" ornaments, I simply stapled the tops & bottoms.

Anonymous said...


the arsenic hour said...

Do you still have the pattern for the tree topper star?

CryBabyInk said...

I used a "kit" from Paper Source, here:

Martha Stewart also just came out with a template thingy here:

It's simple straight cuts in paper, I'm sure w/ a little googling you could find a free template online somewhere. Good luck!

Polola said...

Thanks so much for sharing! your tree is wonderful!
By any chance do you remember where did you buy the printed burlap sheet in Seattle?
Thanks a lot!

CryBabyInk said...

I bought the paper at least 1 1/2 years ago, so I'm not 100% sure from where. I tend to shop @ Packaging Specialties, Paper Zone and Impress Rubber Stamps when I'm in Seattle (Paper Source too, but I'm almost certain I didn't buy it there), so you may want to call around?

Sorry I can't be more of a help and I'm glad you liked the tree!

mrssmiley said...

I love the font on your tree skirt! Do you mind telling me the name of it? Everything you made is just beautiful!

Keeping My Cents said...

I love the font and the tree skirt too. What is the name of the font?

jenclair said...

You made me laugh with the first paragraph, and then I got to admire all of your lovely, crafty, Christmas decorations!

Teresa said...

What did you actually do with the pretty screen printed burlap from Seattle? It looks gorgeous!

tiffjones611 said...

For those wondering how to make the topper:

You're welcome. Cry Baby - thank you for the inspiration! I will make sure to send you a pic of my tree inspired by YOU! :D

Anonymous said...

Another link for snowflake instructions:

annewalker said...

Wow, that was awesome! I love those "natural" and woody christmas ornaments! I'd love to try that, especially the paper one. Thanks for sharing great Christmas tree decorating ideas using those twines and paper. Cheers and happy holidays!

curly-chalupa said...

I think that this is a beautiful, rustic, natural, theme for decorating a tree! I am excited to get started on these pieces! Thanks for the ideas!

Anonymous said...

A couple of questions. 1) what size burlap circles did you cut out for the flowers, and 2) how many circles did you use for each flower?

Anonymous said...

Is there a more detailed instructions for the flowers?


Lisa Ludlow said...

This is a lovely tree and the ornaments are pretty. Thanks for all the tutorials.