Frugal Holiday Decorating Ideas
Last Minute Holiday Touches on the Cheap
Faux or Real Fir?
I thought that I wanted a topiary on each side of the front door this year. Great idea until I priced them! One store had the topiaries for $185 each. Another store had them for about $70 each. Needless to say, I did not buy them! Now, I am thinking about making a pinecone tree for either side of the door. I thought to take a dowel and stretch something around it (cone shaped to mimic a tree), but I can't figure out what to use. Chicken wire would be too bulky. I want to use something that I can hot glue pinecones, sweet gum balls, etc. to and maybe spray with a little gold spray paint. Any ideas? I am at a loss as to what to use. I have looked through some old magazines and can't come up with a solution. Any help would be very much appreciated!
To make cone-shaped "trees," how about using an inexpensive block of foam from the dollar store or craft store. If they don't have a cone shaped one, you can cut and glue the foam together to make a cone shape and then glue on whatever decorations you wish. You may even find green foam. Anchor the foam in pots or urns, perhaps using a dowel as a "trunk."
Barbara in CT
I once saw how to make inexpensive topiaries on a home decorating show. The person used a hot glue gun and some foam rubber (the kind used for ice chests) and created a beautiful one. Check out HGTV for more ideas.
My daughters and I did something similar several years ago, but we didn't use a form at all. We simply gathered a lot of pinecones and then hot glued the bottom row together, building on that. We made it smaller as we went up, giving it the tree shape. We may have added a light string, but it has been several years so I can't say that for sure.
Try using various sizes of grapevine wreaths. Leaves should be off the vines this time of year, and by wrapping the vines in circles of various diameters, one should be able to make a nice stack from largest at bottom to smallest at the top. Or, you could skip gluing on the pine cones and just adhere white lights to the "tree" for a pretty effect.
My grandmother has made wreaths and topiaries for years, using hard Styrofoam forms that can be purchased at craft stores or online. She has made topiaries in various sizes by buying the Styrofoam form and using her hot glue gun to glue on various shapes and sizes of different types of pinecones, acorns, sweet gum balls, seeds, nuts, etc. When she is through, she applies several light spray coats of glossy polyurethane.
I encountered the same thing as the reader when I decided to put a topiary on either side of our front door. The price in the stores was more than I wanted to spend. Instead, I purchased two artificial Christmas trees that were about two feet tall from The Christmas Tree Shop. They were stuck into a small piece of wood with batting and burlap tied up with a ribbon. I took off the burlap and batting, put them in two pots I already had that were filled with dirt, and placed the burlap over the pot to hide the dirt. Then I purchased a battery-operated string of lights for each.
Check out this craft project from about.com that uses tomato plant wire to make porch Christmas trees.
Although you are thinking of putting a cone shaped tree on either side of your doorway, perhaps you might rethink the shape. Using a dowel placed into your planter or urn, you can attach three grapevine balls spaced an equal distance apart, approximately ten to twelve inches. Using the wrapped vines as a base, you can glue on pinecones, glittery or painted balls, and perhaps colored bows. If you don't want to use pinecones, then you can get moss and glue that on. If you are making this as a temporary thing, you could purchase pine or cedar boughs and glue those on.
I made my "topiary" out of a tomato cage. I used the large one but I made several smaller versions that I sold at a craft sale.
Take the open ends of the cage and wire them together to form a cone. For my purposes, I bought several inexpensive green pine garlands (some even come already decorated)and wrapped them around the cone, tucking some individual "branches" around the wire sections. You can cover the entire cage to look like a tree or use less garland to have a more "open" eclectic look. I also wrapped an extra long string of lights around the garland/cage. I wired on extra pine cones that I had spray painted gold and finished the top with a huge wire net gold ribbon with tails falling down the front. I had two identical topiaries, but someone saw them and asked to buy one so I sold it! Now, I use one that I sit on top of a weighted box that is covered in gift wrap paper, surrounded by smaller boxes of the same design. Maybe one day I'll make two matching ones to put by the door and use the older version in my front yard near the sidewalk.
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