Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Handmade Tree

Since it's autumn and almost Thanksgiving, I was inspired to make my own handmade tree with re-purposed tree branches that have fallen on the ground from the wind and the past storm.  I thought it would be handy for displaying all sorts of great decorations that will make my home a handmade festive extravaganza! 

Materials:
several twigs or as many as you want
plaster of paris
cup or your chosen container
water
something to stir the plaster (I used a fork)
wire & wire cutter if you have more than one twig
pencil or crochet hook
2 paper clips
scissor


Gather your materials in one area because it is just easier.  
Make sure to cover your work area with newspaper for spills and splatters.

You might be asking why you'd need a pencil or crochet hook.  Well, it doesn't necessarily have to be
exactly a pencil or crochet hook.  It's just what I had in the house that worked.  The crochet
hook/pencil will help your tree stand up straight in your hardening plaster.  You can also use a
chopstick, another twig/branch, or if you want to hold it up yourself for a few hours.
  
If you have more than one twig/branch I would recommend using thing wire to wrap the branches
and to keep them still as the plaster is hardening.  Of course if you have wire, then you would
need some wire cutters.

Gather the branches/twigs that you want to use for the tree.  You may want to move it
around so that you get the shape that you want.

I wanted to make sure that there were enough branches on all sides, but that's my preference. 
You may want your tree to look different.  Keep in mind that if you will be using your tree to
hang decorations, you may want your tree to be almost symmetrical so that the weight of
the decorations are distributed evenly once they're up.

Once you have the shape of your tree, use the wires to keep the branches together at
the bottom.  Now that you have your "tree" ready, put it on the side for now.

Put the plaster of paris powder in your container.  The plaster of paris/water ratio is two to one,
so here I used 1 and 1/2 cups of plaster of paris. Make sure that your container is appropriate for your twigs or branches.  The more or longer your branches are the bigger the container should be,
and that there should be more plaster of paris/water used so that it is proportional. 
Or else your tree can fall easily.

Add the water slowly.  Here I used 3/4 cup of water.

I used the end of the fork to stir the water/plaster of paris mixture.

The mixture should somehow look like pancake batter.  If it is too thin and watery,
just add a little more plaster of paris in the mixture.  If it is too thick, add some water.

Put your tree in the middle of your container in the plaster.

Put the clips on two sides of the cup.  Use your "holder" and place it between the two
clips and the tree.  You can certainly use a pencil or chopstick instead.  Whatever works.

The toughest time is waiting.  Depending on the size of your container,
it may take several days until the plaster sets.  I waited a whole week until I took my tree out of the cup.

Once it's time to take the plaster out, cut the cup with scissors and make slits going down toward the plaster.  Make the cuts about an inch apart going around the cup.  Then, gently pull down the slits and peel the cup off from the plaster.

Trim off the excess plaster on the edge to have an even base. 
This can be easily done by cutting the edges with a scissor.  Easy peasy!
Et voila! So many possibilities!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial
Go make something!
XOXO
C

4 comments:

Monica said...

Hi Christine this is cute and creative! Would you mind posting how you used the finished product? I'm actually thinking of making this to decorate my office space...thanks for the great ideas!! =D

christine said...

Hey Monica! Thanks for liking my tutorial. I'll be posting what I did with my tree very soon!!

Faith said...

This is SO cute!!! love it :)

christine said...

THanks Faith! glad you like it :)

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