Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost Shirts

Ghost Shirts! With glow-in-the-dark paint! Need we say more? How about that they really glow!

ghost_shirts2_titleLast year we made bat shirts with freezer paper stencils and bleach. This year I wanted to do another shirt, and I was going to use bleach again, but then I saw this paint in Joann’s and thought it was worth a try.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Halloween Costume Idea : Disco Ball

Happy October! We first posted this a few years ago, but if you need an idea for a little one, it’s not too early to start. Below is a baby Disco Ball and here is a Circus Strongman.

I feel like it’s been so long since I really dressed up for Halloween. For the past few years, we’ve sat around the house (waiting for those dozen or so trick-or-treaters to show) and would throw on something from my bag of old Halloween costume parts from years past. Witch’s hat, Eskimo, and giant pumpkin for the win! This year Calder said we had to get serious – “don’t get out your witch’s hat” may have been a direct order. Luckily, some serendipitous inspiration struck not once, but twice, last weekend.

Moment 1: It began with me ordering this baby jailbird costume out of desperation. Did you see those tattooed arms?! A few hours after placing the order, I remembered Oh Happy Day’s strongman costume from last year – so awesome, right? And perfect for Little A. If he’s a strongman, then I’m happy to partner up as the bearded lady. And now we have a pair of costumes for our town’s Halloween parade.

Moment 2: Calder was randomly telling me that he wanted to bring 70’s fashion back (no joke). Minutes later we wandered into vintage store and found the most amazing 70’s clothes! Calder walked out with a pair of plaid pants and three rayon shirts with extra large lapels. Me? I’m the proud new owner of a psychedelic jumpsuit. All we needed was a disco ball. Enter Alex. And now we have the family costume theme that we needed for a friend’s party next weekend!

Making the Disco Ball

liveseasoned_fall2014_costumes1

Little A is a mover, and we have a strong feeling that he’s not going to put up with having a costume with a lot of frills, bulk, or even a hat. So we have to keep everything simple and make sure that it’s still easy for him to move. What we wanted to do here was to make him a sequined shirt that he could still easily move in. We thought about stuffing it to give him more of a ball shape, but his big belly is round enough.

I’ve been holding onto a sequined dress since high school (thank you Christmas band concert), knowing that it would come in handy eventually. Our plan was to make a simple sequined shirt/vest for Alex to wear over a black shirt and pants. Originally I thought I would use black felt to make the shoulder straps and snaps for closures (shown in the materials photo above), but as it turns out, I didn’t need either!

 

The straps on the top of the dress, are almost perfectly spaced for little A’s shoulders. So, all I had to do was take in the sides slightly, and shorten the dress to the length we wanted. The one challenge to shortening it was that the long zipper. In the photo above on the right, I’m showing you where the zipper ends with my thumb and how short I want it with my finger.

The dress’ sides had been brought in once before (red thread above). I wanted to bring in the seams by another inch or so, and I was going to cut off the excess fabric so that it didn’t add bulk. The one challenge I faced was that the sequins seemed to eat up the thread, and I would end up with gaps without stitching. I was using a cotton thread, maybe there’s a better choice? I handled it by just sewing the same line a few times, and it worked well enough.

The next challenge was the zipper. I’m not a zipper expert, but I do know that these zippers with small-ish plastic teeth are easy to shorten. You begin by marking the point that you want to be the new bottom of the zipper. At that point you’ll sew a bar tack over the zipper’s teeth. To do this, set your machine on a zig-zag stitch that is just wider than the zipper’s teeth with the stitch length as short as it can go (so you’re sewing back and forth over the zipper at the same point). I began by testing the stitch without thread in the needle, manually moving the needle to test stitch widths and making sure that the zipper was perfectly centered so that I wouldn’t hit its teeth with the needle.

After the bar tack is sewn, I cut out the zipper’s extra teeth, keeping my scissors as close to the teeth as possible and leaving the zipper tape intact. To close the hole that was made by the missing zipper, I sewed the excess dress hem (that would have covered the zipper) to the zipper tape on the opposite side, closing that hole. You can see this line of stitching in the photo above on the right. At this point I had a segment of the dress that was the correct width and could be  cut to the right length for the little guy. So, it was time to try it on and get that final length measurement!

He was a willing model first thing in the morning – as long as I didn’t mind him running around with his dog named Cat. He was super excited when he figured out that Cat could ride the bike by sitting in the water bottle holder. With the fitting done, I cut the dress to the length we wanted and our disco ball costume was complete!

 

Here are a few more disco shots, crazy eyes and all!

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Bat Halloween Shirt

Halloween is just around the corner, and now that we have a 3.5 year-old in the house, every holiday is a big deal! Combining Alex’s current love of bats and the coming holiday, I have a great DIY for you : bleached bat t-shirts!

bat_shirts5bThis project couldn’t be easier, but unfortunately, since you’re working with bleach, this is not necessarily a kid-friendly DIY. Don’t worry, they’ll have a great time watching the “magic formula” work!

bat_shirts

Supplies

  • black or navy blue t-shirt
  • freezer paper (it has a wax coating on only one side whereas wax paper has a wax coating on both sides)
  • bat stencil (I free-handed on, but you could print out a bat clipart silhouette)
  • piece of cardboard (an empty cereal box works well!)
  • toothbrush
  • bleach
  • water
  • latex glove (to protect your hand will applying the bleach splatters)

bat_shirts8

bat_shirts2

bat_shirts4

Hints

  • Trace and cut-out bat silhouettes from the freezer paper. I made large and small bats, but you have complete flexibility with the size and number of bats you use (whatever you think will look good on your shirt).
  • With the iron on low heat, carefully iron the freezer paper bats onto the shirts (make sure the waxy side of the paper faces the fabric). Keep the iron relatively still, pressing into the paper and fabric and moving it slowly across the stencil. The freezer paper should will stick to the fabric, forming a bond that will stop the bleach from getting under the wax paper.
  • Make a 50-50 water and bleach solution.
  • With a gloved hand, dip the toothbrush into the bleach solution and splatter the solution on the t-shirt around the bats. It’s ok, and even looks great, to make both large and small splatter marks.
  • You should see the bleach start working on the fabric after a few seconds. Continue to splatter the shirt until you’re happy with the density of “stars” on the fabric, being sure to thoroughly splatter the shirt around the bats so that you get a noticeable silhouette once the wax paper is removed.
  • Watch the bleach activity – when you’re happy with both the density and intensity of the stars, remove the paper stencils and quickly rinse the shirt under water to stop the bleach activity.
  • Wash the shirt, and you’re done!

bat_shirts7

And look at that kid, he loves his new shirt! Such a simple project and it brought this little guy so much joy.

bat_shirts6

Happy Halloween!

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Last Minute Gift for Pre-schoolers

liveseasoned_winter2016_sewingbag3
liveseasoned_winter2016_sewingbag5
It’s Christmas week!!! We’ve been having so much fun with Alex this year since he really understands that Christmas is something special, but he’s still asking a lot of questions and trying to make sense of what’s going on around him. “When can we open the presents?” “We get to put the tree in our house?!” “It’s Christmas season, but not Christmas day, right?”

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Valentine Archives

Hey there sweethearts! With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to share/re-share some super simple projects for dressing up your space and celebrating the ones you love. And don’t forget to put on your favorite lovey-dovey playlist as you craft.

liveseasoned_w2015_valentinesgarland3

Instead of packing away the felt hearts I made as Christmas ornaments, I strung them on a piece of rustic twine to create a mini garland that greets guests right inside our door.

liveseasoned_w2015_valentinesgarland3

If you’re throwing a party, Sarah’s tassel and lace garland makes the perfect decoration and photo backdrop!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Cinnamon Ornament Surprise!

Hey! We’re popping in this weekend to share another super simple Christmas craft (this is for the folks that have finished their shopping – if you’re rushing around the mall today, don’t even bother to read this post). You’ve probably seen some version of cinnamon ornaments popping up on your Pinterest page? Or even made them as a kid? They are super easy, relatively fast, and a fairly kid-friendly project.

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament5_wm

So, why are we sharing yet another cinnamon ornament post? Because as I was prepping mine for the tree, I realized that they would also make a really cute garland! The key here is to make a batch with shapes that are close in size, then your garland will hang nicely and you won’t have really heavy and big ones weighing it down in different areas.

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament_wm

Ingredients

You can use your favorite recipe, but I like the ones that have a little bit of kids’ glue in them.

  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp white glue

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament6_wm

 Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together, adding more or less applesauce depending upon how dry your mixture is. You want it to form a nice ball that sticks together, but still feels slightly dry.
  • Cover the mixture and let it sit for one hour.
  • Break your ball into three or four sections for rolling. Roll out one section at a time between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. If the dough seems too dry when rolling, you can always spray it with a bit of water.
  • Cut out your shapes and add a hole for hanging. I used a wooden skewer to make my holes, and I think they were *just* barely big enough. Since there will be some shrinkage as the ornaments dry, you want to err on the side of a larger rather than smaller hole.
  • Place your ornaments in a 200F oven for two hours to dry, turning them halfway through. If your dough was on the dryer side or you live in a dry climate, you may want to check on your ornaments after an hour and a half.
  • Once cool, using baker’s twine or another string for hanging.
  • To make the garland, I brought the twine up either side of the ornament and tied a knot at the top, this allowed the ornaments to hang parallel to the string rather than perpendicular.

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament4_wm

I ended up making two pieces of garland. The little three-piece one hangs just inside our door on a wall that was just an empty space, so you see it and the tree as you enter the house, creating a nice little Christmas scene when you enter! The longer one hangs on the empty wall going up our staircase, but because the staircase is open, we still get to see it from the living room, which I love.

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament3_wm

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament2_wm

There you have it, a super simple twist on an old Christmas craft, and one that you can use to decorate a small space that could use a touch of cheer! xo

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Weekend Project : Knit a Stocking (or three!)

Ok, maybe three’s a stretch, but we’re all a bit crazy at this time of year. This is the first year we’re celebrating Christmas morning as our own little family of three, and we didn’t have stockings. Knowing that, my original plan was to do something fun and easy. Maybe buy a couple pair of festive knee high socks or some cozy looking wool men’s socks and use those for this year. But a month or so ago I ran across some bulky yarn, decided it was perfect for stockings and worth just testing the waters.

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings7_wm

It’s easy to fall down the knitting hole, but with so many other balls in the air, I didn’t want this project to consume me. So I picked up two skeins of yarn (one red and one white) and wanted to see how long it would take to knit a single stocking and how far the two skeins would go. When I knit that first stocking in a weekend using only those two skeins, it was a no-brainer to knit the other two!

If you have ever knit a sock before, this is a project that you can easily finish in a weekend. If you’ve never knit a sock before, then this project may take you a little bit longer, but knitting big is such a great way to learn some new sock-knitting skills, and I include links to some of my favorite resources in this post. Plus, a common problem for a first time sock knitter is finishing that second sock and/or getting it to match the first; you won’t have that problem here!

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings16_wm

Whenever I hear “knit stocking” the one thing I worry about is how dense the stitches are. If you have a loosely knit stocking, then as soon as it’s filled with treats, the stocking will stretch and you’ll get that holey look between the stitches. I wanted to avoid that, and one of the easiest ways to do it is to knit with a bulky yarn on needles that are a few sizes smaller than what you would normally use. That’s exactly what I did here, and it produced a nice dense fabric that doesn’t stretch out of shape too much when filled.

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings19_wm

Resources

  • Cast on. Turkish Cast On
  • Increasing. M1L and M1R
  • Short Row Heel : basic instructions or a video with a method for eliminating the little holes that are common at the start and finish of the heel. This heel is really easy to make, and the holes are so (soooo) minor, so I don’t want that to deter you. I have my own way of dealing with them by picking up extra stitches and then decreasing them later, but since you’re knitting a simple stocking that won’t be worn, you could easily just use some extra yarn to stitch the hole closed – if you even get them!
  • I cord bind off. You will have to use the cable cast on before starting the I cord bind off.

Materials

  • Yarn : Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in fleece (white) and claret (red)
  • Needles : US 10, you will need either one long circular for the magic loop method or a set of double pointed

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings15_wm

Instructions

You will be knitting these stockings from the toe up to the cuff. I’m going to give you a set of generic instructions that can be used to knit any stocking of this size, and then I’ll give you the details for the specific patterns you see in the photographs. I’ll assume that your stitches are split evenly between two needles (i.e. that you’re using the magic loop method).

  • Cast-on. use the Turkish method to cast-on 20 stitches (ten on each needle). Fortunately, these instructions show you how to do the Turkish cast-on with exactly that number of stitches, so you can follow it step by step.
  • Begin Knitting. When I start a sock, I like to knit one and a half rounds before starting my increase rows (I always think that knitting across the first needle creates a single row for the tip of the toe, and then knitting a complete round creates my first official round – I may be crazy).
  • Start the increase rows (this comprises the toe area of the sock). Round 1 (increase round) : k1, M1L, knit to the last stitch on the first half of the stocking, M1R, k1. Repeat over the stitches on the other half of the stocking. Four stitches added. Round 2 : knit all stitches.
  • Continue repeating rounds 1 and 2 until you have 44 stitches on your needle.
  • Knit the foot. Knit straight for 27 rows.
  • Knit the heel. Use the short row method to knit the heel. You will work the heel over the 22 stitches that are on one half of your sock. When making the stockings, I wrapped 7 stitches on each side of the heel, leaving 8 unwrapped in the middle.
  • Knit the leg. Once your heel is finished, knit the leg of the stocking for 53 rows.
  • Bind off using the i cord method. This is a great technique for binding off the stockings because it creates a strong final row that will not stretch out over time (unlike a ribbed cuff) and as you’ll see, it also seamlessly morphs into a loop for hanging your stocking. The only problem is that you may not be able to really stretch the cuff if you want to sneak an over-sized present in the stocking! The other problem that arises is that the loop for hanging your stocking will be placed where ever you start the i cord bind off. Thus far we have been knitting the stocking in the round starting from one side of the sock; you don’t want your loop on the side, but on the back of the stocking. Before beginning the i cord bind off, knit 11 stitches so that you are now positioned at the center back of the stocking. You will work the i cord bind off over three stitches, just like these instructions (lucky you!).  Once you come to the end of the cuff, don’t cast off the three i cord stitches, rather continue knitting an i cord for 21 more rows.
  • Finish your stocking. Sew the live stitches of your i cord to the start of the i cord row ~ creating a seamless-looking i cord band with a loop in the back. Weave in all loose ends. Hang your stocking and cross your fingers that it doesn’t get filled with coal!

Santa’s Sock Stocking Detail

  • Knit the toe. Use the basic instructions from above, casting on with the white yarn and using it to knit the toe area.
  • Knit the 27 rows of the foot in red.
  • Switch to the white yarn and knit the heel.
  • Knit 40 rows of the leg in red.
  • Switch to the white yarn and knit 11 rows in seed stitch.
  • Knit one complete round plus 11 stitches to position the start of the i cord at the back of the stocking. Finish with the i cord bind off.

Striped Stocking Detail

  • Knit the toe. Use the basic instructions from above, casting on with the red yarn and using it to knit the toe area.
  • Begin the stripes. Switch to the white yarn, but don’t cut the end of the red yarn (you can carry both colors up the length of the stocking, drastically reducing the number of loose ends that you’ll have to weave in). Knit five rows in white. Knit five rows in red. Repeat this pattern for 25 rows (ending with five white rows and just before starting a red row). Knit two rows in red.
  • The heel area. I like to work the heel in the middle of a stripe so that there aren’t any funny color switches immediately before or after the heel. Continuing to use the red yarn, knit the heel. Once the heel is complete, knit three more rows with the red yarn. When looking from the front/top of the stocking you should see the five red rows of the stripe pattern.
  • Knit the leg. You are now at the start of a white stripe. Continue working the five row stripe pattern for 50 more rows.
  • You are now at the top of the stocking. Knit 11 more stitches to position the start of the i cord at the back of the stocking and continue using the red yarn for the i cord bind off.

Snowflake Stocking Detail

  • Knit the toe. Use the basic instructions from above, casting on with the white yarn and using it to knit the toe area.
  • Knit the 27 rows of the foot in red.
  • Switch to the white yarn and knit the heel.
  • Knit the 52 rows of the leg in red (not the 53 listed above!).
  • Switch to the white yarn. Knit one round plus 11 stitches to position the start of the i cord at the back of the stocking. Work the i cord bind off.
  • Finish the stocking by embroidering a snowflake design into the side of your stocking. I make a very simple design using a backstitch. I decided to embroider the snowflake because I wanted it to have six points (like in nature), but it’s hard to find and/or to design a knit snowflake pattern with points rather than eight. As for other embroidered embellishments, the skies the limit! I added a line of running stitch around the toe and heel areas. You could add number of snowflakes, varying their size and shape.

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings1_wm

 

If you knit a stocking, we would love to see it! Leave us a comment below or tag us on instagram @liveseasoned. Happy knitting or happy rushing around buying those last minute presents ~ either way, we hope you have a great weekend!


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Felt Ornaments

Hey! I looked at our calendar and realized that we have entered a week of Christmas crafting making on the blog! This isn’t necessarily gift crafting, just more little projects to decorate the tree, your walls, to send off in the mail (technically, I guess that’s giving), and maybe we’ll even have something to eat or drink by the time the week’s complete.

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament1_wm

Today I’m talking about the felt ornaments and wreath that were pictured in this post. Both of these ideas came from my Christmas board on Pinterest, but unfortunately the links associated with the pins won’t take you to the original source for attribution. You’ll see that I’ve pinned many different felt ornaments, and I’m thinking that over the next few years I may make quite a few as we become a house with two little boys! Felt ornaments are just so kid-friendly, with a big loop, they are easy for little hands to hang and pull off the tree, and there’s so little investment in terms of both time (the the case of the ones I’ve made) and money, that I don’t mind if little A throws them around a bit while playing. Plus, they look really cute.

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament9_wm

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament3_wm

For today’s ornaments, I was first inspired by this photo. In addition to the stars, I added a few hearts with white stitching to our collection, inspired by these red felt ornaments. I personalized the stars by using a red blanket stitch around the edges, and I drastically simplified my hearts from the inspiration photo, eliminating the stuffing and choosing simple stitches that would follow the hearts’ edges.

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament7 copy

Supplies & Tools

  • Felt
  • embroidery floss
  • thin jute
  • sewing needle
  • scissors
  • shape template

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament8_wm

Instructions

  • Find or draw your template. For my templates, I did a Google image search for  “heart clipart” and “star clipart”. I was able to find images that included hearts and stars of different sizes, so I printed them out and cut out the size that I liked for each.
  • Trace your template on the felt and cut out two of the same shape. As you can see from my template, I traced around it with a marker. Having those marker images on your felt isn’t a problem, because you can have the marked sides face inwards.
  • Sew your pieces together. Use three stands of embroidery floss for the embroidery. Holding the two felt pieces together (marked sides in), use your favorite stitch to hand sew the pieces together. I used blanket stitch for all of the stars, but was more creative with the hears, using blanket stitch,  back stitch, and a simple combination of long and short running stitches to create the third.
  • Add your loop for hanging. I used skinny jute for the hanging loops. You can find this in craft stores, and it’s usually sold in a smaller quantity than the bigger balls of fat jute (you can see the packaging in my supplies photo). The jute will not pull through your felt as easily as the embroidery floss. I found that it was easiest to thread the jute through the eye of my needle, pierce the felt with my needle, and then move the needle in circles to create a larger hole (but one that is still snug) for the jute to fit through.

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament12_wm-1024x768 copy

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament10_wm

While we were so excited to put the tree up, after the lights were hung it looked so pretty that we’ve been really lazy about adding more decorations. But a few nights ago we were looking for one more activity for little A before bath time, so I pulled out these ornaments and a few others for him to add to the tree. The pictures aren’t great, but I think you can tell that he was excited to get in on the tree action (clapping after each ornament was hung), and now it’s become a daily activity to remove and rehang a few.

In addition to making their way onto the tree, I used one of the stars in our new wreath. Again, I’m borrowing and modifying this idea from something brilliant I saw online. 
liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament13_wm

Supplies

  • grapevine wreath
  • white bottle brush trees
  • moss roll (you can see the packaging below)
  • hot glue gun & glue

How cute is that wreath? It came together easily with a few supplies from the craft store. The project is relatively self-explanatory : wrap the moss around your wreath, slipping it under a few of the larger vines if possible (this just takes a bit of wiggling). Glue the trees where you would like them. Tie a star ornament from the top of your wreath. Bam!

liveseasoned_w2015_wreath3_wm

Once I hung this and the green garland above the door, I realized that we have a lot of brown and green going on out on the front porch. Maybe this year it would have been nice to go with something brighter? But I’m loving the peaceful look every time we walk in the door.

liveseasoned_w2015_wreath1_wm So, that’s my little felt project for the season. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with felt (or even had a little supply of it in my craft room), and I’m excited work with it more in the future. I really enjoyed making these ornaments because they were so easy and mindless to put together, creating a polished result. What does that mean for you? If you want to slow this weekend, but still feel a little bit productive, this is a great meditative project

liveseasoned_w2015_feltornament2_wm

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Orange and Clove Pomanders

Oranges our our ingredient of the season. We have big plans for a winter of zesty recipes and sweet crafts.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander6_wm

Today we’re sharing a super simple craft that you often see around the holidays : the orange and clove pomander.

Pomanders are balls made of some sort of scented or perfumed material. They are considered an original form of aromatherapy and have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages!

The orange and clove pomander is considered a modern version, and if properly dried, you can use these sweet and spicy smelling balls year after year as holiday decorations or in place of sachets in your dresser drawers.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander1_wm

This is a very easy and kid-friendly craft! To make a bare-bones pomander all you need are oranges and cloves (buying your cloves in bulk is the way to go here). If you want to get fancy, you can add ribbon, either tied around your orange and incorporated into the design or looped through your orange for hanging.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander2_wm

With your supplies ready, start making a design on your orange. I did all of these over the course of a couple of days ~ whenever A. Max was busy playing and I had a minute to myself. So rather than fuss over a specific design, I just played with the cloves and did a few free-form patterns.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander3_wm

There were curved lines.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander_wm

That looked like swirls from the top.

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander4_wm

One had a vine with flowers.

And there were polka dots!

The one issue you’re likely to have, especially if you’re in a more humid climate, is some mold growth. I’m hoping that the dry CO climate is going to help us out here! But to be on the safe side, once I was done with the designs, I put these in a cool, dark closet for about a week to dry out more. As they dry, you’ll notice that the cloves are sticking out a touch, so you can go around a poke them back in.

A traditional way to avoid mold growth is to sprinkle your finished oranges in orris root powder. This will help to dry out the orange and will add a violet scent to your pomander. In an effort to keep this project simple and low cost, I’m taking my chances and skipping the orris root!

liveseasoned_w2015_pomander8_wm

Putting them all together, it’s a nice little display of pattern that smells unbelievable! Alex loves to walk over to them and take a big whiff, which is unbelievably cute!

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Balsa Christmas Trees

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Did you get your tree? We had a disappointing, but funny, experience at a local tree “farm”. In more uplifting news, I was excited to realize that we’re almost done with the Christmas shopping! Unbelievable, right? Of course, there’s still a bit of Christmas crafting to do, but I’m feeling confident that it will get done. As a result, I had time to work on some of the decorations that have been on my list. First up ~ some super simple and quick Christmas trees for our mantel.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees14_wm

As I mentioned in my Elving post a couple of weeks ago, browsing Pinterest provided the inspiration for many of my Christmas decorations this year, including these simple Christmas trees. It started when I found an image from this post. I liked the simplicity of those trees and that they were made using balsa wood (no power tools or hard cutting required). I wasn’t as excited about how they were put together – mainly using glue to hold the pieces together. Having also come across this wooden tree post, I knew there was an easier way to build the same tree. And really, between those two posts, you have all the information you need for this project, but I’m happy to share my process photos below. And again I want to stress how quick these trees were to make – with all of the materials on hand, it took me less than an hour and a half to make the five trees from first cut to last dash of glitter!

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees13_wm

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees1_wm

Materials & Tools

  • balsa wood
  • Mod Podge
  • glitter
  • Exacto knife
  • ruler
  • cutting mat or board

About the wood : You can find balsa wood at many crafts stores, but not all (some Joann’s and some Michael’s carry it, but not all). If you’ve never worked with it, balsa wood is extremely soft and very easy to cut with an exacto or craft knife. It comes is a variety of thicknesses and widths, and there is no strict rules as to what you should buy for this project.  I picked up two 36” long and 1/8” thick balsa boards; one was 3” wide and the other was 4” wide.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees3_wm

Process

  • Cut two isosceles triangles of the same size. I found that it was easy to do this without using a pen or pencil. Just mark the height of your triangle with a small cut, noting with a poke of your knife where the middle point of the board is width-wise. For example, the tree I’m cutting in the photo above is going to be 5” tall on the 3” wide board. The middle top point of the triangle is at the 31” mark on the ruler above. To cut the sides of the triangle, just place your ruler on the board, so that the ruler’s edge is at a diagonal from one of the bottom triangle points to the top middle point (as I did in the photo above). Make a cut along the ruler, and then follow this same process to cut the other side of the triangle.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees4_wm

 

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees5_wm

  • Following the image above, cut the slits that will be used to fit your triangles together. You want to cut a slit in each triangle that is as wide as the width of your wood (1/8” in my case). One piece will have a slit that runs from the top middle of the triangle halfway down the height of the tree. The other triangle will have a slit that runs from the bottom middle of the triangle halfway up the height of the tree.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees6_wm

  • Put your tree together! Placing the triangles perpendicular to each other, slide the piece with the bottom cut down over the piece with the top cut. You’ll produce a free-standing tree that looks like the photo above.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees8_wm

  • Decorate your tree! I put a layer of Mod Podge on the upper portion of my trees, and then sprinkled iridescent and gold glitters over the surface. Do what you want: you could leave your trees natural, add glitter, or paint!

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees9_wm

  • Repeat the process making trees of different heights. From the 3” wide board I made two trees that are 6” high and one that is 5” high. From the 4” board I made two 8” high trees.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees13_wm

I used these trees for simple forest scene on the mantel ~ pairing them with a cute little wooden tree from Michael’s and a couple of old glass trees that were once candy dishes (they have an opening on the bottom, but without their lids, they’re just glass trees). In addition to the trees, I added a few beeswax candles that were leftover from our wedding. You can read about how we made the candles (choosing your wick is key) and cut the green bottles here and here.

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees10_wm

It’s so much fun to see the trees sparkle in the candlelight and to see their shadows on the wall. Calder mentioned that they also look like mountain peaks, which I think is really true when they are grouped together creating overlapping shadows!

liveseasoned_w2015_balsatrees12_wm

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone