Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Its finally done!!! After lots of work I finally finished our DIY homemade Christmas tree this morning, inspired by the unique and inventive trees I found and wrote about in this post a few weeks ago... Here's a pic of it and a few details of how I made it ^_^

We collected sticks from around our neighbourhood, purposefully looking for interestingly shaped ones (looking rather strange to the neighbours we passed on the way), picked the best ones, and just spaced them out and adjusted their widths accordingly to create the triangular-ish shape of a Christmas tree. I simply adjusted them by eye and mostly just snapped off the ends (with the help of an old kitchen knife at points) as I needed to (as opposed to trying to make them super neat or accurate) to maintain a very rustic feel. One of the nicest parts about making your own tree like this is being able to custom make it to fit into whichever area its going into.

You do need to do some accurate measuring to centre each branch though, 'cause attaching each one to the other is definitely the most difficult part, so marking the centre point of each one with a bit of chalk (which you can just rub off later) is essential. And then I attached each one, starting from the top, with fishing line (so that its pretty see-through unless you look really close up and you get that feel of them being suspended on their own). I measured each bit of fishing line gradually making the gaps between each one bigger, the further down the tree I went - it all just depends on the space you have, the size of your decorations and the look you want...

The decorations were a collection of things my mom and I collected around both Durban and Grahamstown (like the recycled paper mache stars I found). We decided to keep everything in neutral tones of whites, creams, browns, silvers and subdues golds, both because it just looks lovely and classy and whimsical, and also 'cause it goes with the colour scheme of our flat. :P

We made it even more personal by printing out some family photos and attaching them to these flat wooden decorations my mom found in a store. Its one of my favourite parts of the tree - each member of our close family has a picture up ^_^

Little fun elements like this cute little angel with feathery wings, and the tiny teddy called Brown Bear which we've had for more than 10 years, add to the feeling of whimsy.

Here are all of the elements we added to our tree, including the adorable glittery reindeer, and the heart-shaped key-ring one of my best friends Katie gave to me years ago that's made up of the 'Zulu love beads' that are quintessentially Durban... (It is super important not to have too many things or to over-crowd the tree to keep the general feeling of lightness and of whimsy.) A lot of the store-bought pieces still needed some minor customising to make sure they went with the feel of the tree - like the star which was just a bright gold, R10 plastic one from Checkers (which I dulled down with lighter gold and silver paint, and added a bit more contouring to with some metallic white paint). 

I'm super proud of the final product. All the work definitely paid off. I love how unique it is, and how personal each touch it is whether it be little elements from our past, photos of our family, bits and pieces I found in Grahamstown (my university town I've just left) or things I changed and customised myself - it really does feel like its ours. :) 

No matter what your Christmas tree is like, it should be a reflection of you, your house, and most importantly your family. Happy decorating and celebrating to you all! 

Much love and mince pies and mistletoe to all the lovely peeps out there! May your Christmas time be magical <3 


  1. Love it ..... love the decorations, the photos ... everything! x

  2. Totally thought the top star was a starfish; it looks like that from far cuz of it's shape >< oops! hahaha. It does look amazing though, Tam, and I love how much thought you've put into it. Your photo-taking/editing skills are also pretty cool :)