As a child I remember gazing upon my grandmother’s costume jewelry Christmas tree. It was so shiny and the Christmas lights made it mezmorizing. My grandmother was very crafty, she made hers at a church activity. This was a popular craft back in the 1970′s.
There was a magazine produced with instructions back then!
(here is an excerpt)
Check out that tree, wait the hair is what is really amazing about this photo! Ha, ha.
Years later I decided that my kids deserved the a magical Christmas tree like the one I had enjoyed.
My grandmother was an avid crafter. She had homemade ornaments, stockings, and more supplies than you could imagine. When she passed away my mother brought box loads of mixed up crafting supplies. It was too much for even her to handle. I offered to take it off her hands. Once I went digging, I found amazing treasures from vintage ribbons to sea shells. I also inherited a huge bead and costume jewelry stash. This may sound glamorous, and it is now, but then it was all mixed up, tangled and a bit stinky. I spent days, really days, sorting out the jewelry by color and then the beads by color. I nabbed an organizing case from my husbands workbench and filled her up. My sister and I went through all of the jewelry and took out the peices we might wear some day. The rest would be used for our own Jewelry Trees.
- Background fabric
- Spray Adhesive
- Tiny String of Christmas Lights
- Glue Gun
- Costume Jewelry and Beads
For my frame, I knew I wanted something big and dramatic. My Christmas is decorated with gold, champaign, and deep red. I shopped thrift stores but they were too banged up for my taste. I shopped antique shops for a funky frame but the frame wasn’t square (it didn’t lay flat on the wall). Then I went the Michael’s and JoAnn route with a coupon, but they weren’t substantial enough. Then, the always amazing ROSS (you know, Dress for Less) came to mind. My sis Amy and I jetted over there and found the perfect frame. It had a faux oil painting of wine bottles in the center that happened to be painted on thick Masonite! I think I paid $35 for it.
This was going to be simpler than I had imagined (note: if your frame doesn’t come with a Masonite center, pre-measure and have a piece cut at your home center for free). I took the painting home and sketched the outline of my tree. I went for a more contemporary straight line tree. Then I evenly spaced dots for the number of lights on the string (note: be sure that they are not spaced farther than the distance of the wire between each light!). Then I drilled a small pilot hole in each one followed by a drill bit just a hare smaller than the lights themselves.
The Masonite painting was held in with staples so I removed them and removed the painting. I sprayed my deep red mohair (left over from my Noel hanging) with a spray adhesive and laid it out on the back side of the painting (the painting was bowed inward, so when I reversed it it popped out a little bit, that was better than a sink hole). With a small pair of scissors I cut an X where each of the holes were drilled in the backside.
The board was then reinstalled in the frame with staple shapped nails that my husband Justin hammered in gently. Because the lights were bulkier than my frame was deep (on the back side) Justin, my genius, bought two yardsticks, cut them in half, doubled them up and hot glued them to the back. This lifts it off the wall enough for all the cords to be hidden out of view.
Each of the lights was hot glued into place so that there wasn’t any wiggling out of their new homes.
Now for the jewels! Amy and I laid out our grandmother’s jewelery on our fabric a dozen times. Mixing different colors, sizes, and layouts until we were each happy with our lot. We had very different trees which helped in the dispersing. I ended up grabbing a few pieces of jewelry special to me to add to my tree. Each piece was hot glued on individually and a few beads were mixed in to fill in any gaps.
Here is my grandmother’s from so long ago. Funky gold frame, forest green velvet, costume jewelry, sea shells, and beads. Her lights were originally multi-0colored! They burned out and were replaced with beads. It now has a place of honor in my mothers contemporary entryway.
This is my sister Amy’s. Classic silver frame, mushroom ultra suede, costume jewelry, beads, vintage shape, mostly pink and aqua. Amy’s matches her pink house with her husband and 4 daughters. Sorry the pix are a bit fuzzy.
Here is mine. Traditional wood and linen frame, deep red mohair, straight lines, jewel toned jewelry from 3 generations. This is offically my favorite Christmas decoration of all time!
Waiting to be unwrapped!
In all it’s glory in the entryway. This thing is huge (33″ by 45″) and heavy. I can barely carry it by myself.
The frame is heavy, dark and had a linen fillet, perfect. Bright colored jewelry with mostly gold accents made up the field of my tree (I especially love the florescent pink flower!). The star is a matte gold flower broach. A light gold chain winding back and forth made the trunk of my tree.
I added a few pieces of jewelry that were of significance to me. A pin with a photo of me as a little girl, that my grandmother used to wear. My pin from my horseback ridding show jacket. And, my earrings from my wedding day.
All Lit Up!
Last year when I hung my version of the Jewelry tree in my entry, I can’t tell you how many people said their mom or grandmother had made one too! If you aren’t luck enough to have one passed down to your family, make one for yourself! Start gathering your materials whether it is jewelry, beads, shells, whatever, I promise it will add whimsy and enchantment to your Christmas.
Linked Up: Tatertots & Jello, The Trendy Tree House, House of Hepworths, Funky Junk Interiors, Home Stories A2Z, Savvy Southern Style, Corson Cottage, Nifty Thrifty Things, Thirty Handmade Days, Blue Cricket Design, Thrifty Decor Chick