Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Paper (chain) Christmas Tree

Paper(-chain) Christmas tree: I was in a paper-chain making mood, so I looked on Pinterest, which I found has its own paper-chain section. Many fine possibilities appeared, but then I saw a most wonderful Christmas tree: “Must make one,” I decided. But it was not so simple at first. I went to the artist’s website and saw that the directions were in French without translations. It took me awhile to read it, enough time to realize that I needed to simplify it a bit. And in the meantime, my “pin” of the Christmas tree was repined many times, which surprised me and spurred me to offer the following simplified version of a paper-chain Christmas tree, made of individual paper rolls, so it is a simple version of a paper-chain. Here it is:
The first simplification involved the cardboard used in the original version; box cardboard was hard to cut and a source for the kind shown was needed. So I went to my COLLECTION OF LARGE PAPER BAGS from the grocery store (proudly recycling here).
Next, I gently pulled off the handles and cut off the bottoms of the bag so that it measured about 12 inches tall. I flattened the bag and cut it into strips about 1 and 1/4 inches wide. The strips are then wound around a pencil, with the wrong (printed) side facing you; wind firmly around the pencil, turning and turning the rolled strip toward yourself, and then gently pulling the roll off the pencil. I placed each roll in empty pill boxes (see photo), or you can use regular paper clips, in order to help retain shape. An hour or more later, you can begin your tree.
You can make a tree-shaped cardboard triangle covered in red paper, approximately 19 inches high and with the base about 20 inches. Or you can outline that tree shape on a rectangular piece of cardboard, about 22 inches wide by 30 inches tall (you might have to duct tape pieces of a box together), and cover it by gluing on red wrapping paper. Begin by placing the 18 rolls in a straight horizontal line along the bottom of the tree shape and then by stapling each roll at the top about a quarter of an inch down (with an opened stapler); the roll then curves down against the covered cardboard base and circle out and back up toward the stapled top. Continue working each row across, diminishing a roll or 2 in each row, until the top is reached with one middle roll. Alternatively, by the way, I discovered that you can Elmer-glue all of the rolls instead of stapling them.
The STARS: Attach one at top and a few on tree, using glue or double-stick tape or stapler. I prefer the less glitzy version, with simple golden bronze card stock (photo 2), but probably grandkids prefer the glitter card stock version (photo 3). There are so many possibilities, including sprinkling sequins or glitter or using little lights or small ornaments you may have.
The BAGS: The ones I used were from my local supermarkets and Trader Joe’s. I noticed they were slightly different shades of bag brown, and I loved the effect, using them just as they came up in an eclectic mix. If you prefer the same colon, use only one source of bags.
More variations: any colors of cardstock, fabric stiffened with Modpodge, an all-white tree with a little glitter, which would be amazing. I also want to try to rubber stamp images on paper before cutting. Also children (of all ages) can paint designs with water color, poster paints, etc., with the strips.

I hope you have as much fun with your tree as I did. I worked on and off over a period of three or four days, cutting up a couple of bags at a time, rolling, etc.

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