How to Make a Primitive Christmas Tree

Written by cyndee kromminga
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Primitive crafts use unexpected supplies in unusual ways to purposefully create an imperfect result. Make a primitive Christmas tree to decorate a table or mantle that features ornaments crafted from a recycled aluminium pop can. Made using ripped strips of homespun fabric, the frayed edges add the raggedy texture of the tree's surface. Make three or four trees as a holiday grouping for your home or craft several in a variety of colours and sizes to sell at Christmas craft shows.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1/4 yard homespun fabric
  • 9-inch foam cone
  • Marking pen
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ruler
  • Craft glue
  • Gloves
  • Aluminium beverage can
  • Household scissors
  • 1-inch wooden star
  • Hammer and nail
  • Scrap wood
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Paper plate
  • Stencil brush
  • 10 carpet tacks

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  1. 1

    Lay your homespun fabric on your work surface. Stand the cone on the fabric and trace around the base using a marking pen. Cut out the circle and set it aside.

  2. 2

    Rip five 1 inch-wide strips from the length of the remaining fabric.

  3. 3

    Apply a dot of craft glue to the flat tip of the foam cone and around the edge below the tip. Place one end of a fabric strip over the foam tip, with an inch of the end hanging over the side.

  4. 4

    Hold the end of the strip to the cone with your fingers. Horizontally turn the remainder of the strip and wrap it once around the sides of the cone below the tip. This is the first "round" of the strip that is wrapped horizontally around the cone. The fabric strip will be wrapped in a continuous descending spiral around the cone.

  5. 5

    Add another line of glue below the edge of the strip's first round. Wrap the strip around the cone as you lay it in the glue. Overlap the long edges of the strip with the strip on the previous round. Continue to add glue and wrap the remainder of the strip around the cone.

  6. 6

    Add a dot of glue to the end of the first strip. Overlap a 1/2 inch on the end of a new strip over the glue dot. Continue to add glue and wrap the strip around the cone. Add strips until the sides of the cone are covered.

  7. 7

    Lay the fabric circle on your work surface. Apply craft glue to the bottom base of the foam cone. Center the cone on the fabric circle to cover the bottom.

  8. 8

    Put on gloves to protect your hands. The metal of aluminium cans is thin and soft, making it easy to cut with household scissors, but the edges of the cut metal can be quite sharp. Open the blades of your scissors. Pierce the side of an aluminium beverage can with the end of one blade just below the top rim. Cut around the can below the rim. Discard the top of the can. Pierce the side of the can just above the bottom rim. Cut around the can above the bottom rim. Discard the bottom of the can. You now have an aluminium tube.

  9. 9

    Cut the tube open from one open end to the other. Open the tube. You now have a rectangle. Lay the rectangle on your work surface with the silver side facing down. The silver side will be the side you paint on.

  10. 10

    Place a 1-inch wooden star on the rectangle and trace around it with a marking pen. Repeat for a total of ten traced stars. Cut out the stars using the household scissors.

  11. 11

    Place each star on a scrap of wood. Center the tip of a nail on a star and pound a hole using a hammer. Remove the nail and repeat with each star.

  12. 12

    Place quarter-size dollops of both orange and brown acrylic paint on a paper plate. Lay the stars on your work surface with the silver side facing up. Dip a stencil brush into the orange paint. Dab the paint over the silver side of the stars. Do not clean your brush. While the paint is still wet, dip the brush into the brown paint and dab over the stars. The results will be a rusty, textured surface. Allow the paint to dry.

  13. 13

    Insert a carpet tack through the centre hole on a star from the front to the back. Attach the star to the side of the wrapped tree by pressing the tip of the tack into the foam. Randomly attach the remaining stars in the same way.

Tips and warnings

  • Tin snips can also be used to cut the can, but with their blunt tips and bulky blades, they tend to bend the aluminium and leave jagged edges.

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