Modern Christmas Tree

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Modern Christmas Tree

Like a lot of freshly-minted college grads, I didn't have much money to blow on Christmas those first few years, but I still wanted to do something to decorate. And so I went down to Michael's and got myself 3 dowel rods and a few embroidery hoops, and to the dollar store for a handful of cheap decorations, and my diy tree tradition was born. Besides being cheap, it was also ultra portable, as the dowel rods and decorations all fit in a poster storage tube, and the embroidery hoops actually got used. At some point I painted the dowel rods with gold paint.

Modern Christmas Tree

I actually kept this tradition going for 8 years, which is why I'm amazed I couldn't find more or better pictures in my archives. I did however make a stop-motion video in 2006:

This year, after a 5 year hiatus, I decided to haul out the dowel rods for another go, this time as a second tree for my 4-year old to decorate. I guess she has been spoiled by "the green tree", as she did not quite go as all out with the decorations as I had expected, but it was still a fun little project, and she didn't skewer herself threading popcorn garland with a real live needle, so I count it a win. Modern Christmas Tree

The method is extremely simple. All you do is use rubber bands or string or twist-ties to attach the pieces together to form the shape. Modern Christmas Tree

Though I used embroidery hoops, there's no reason you couldn't use something else to keep the legs at the distance you want. One year I used long, thick bamboo stems for the uprights, and then a cross of dowel rods for the base: Modern Christmas Tree

I ended up not liking the fabric garland I tried that year, but the base would have been a good scaffolding to hang more effective decorations on.

Speaking of decorating, my method is always to begin with the lights, and then some sturdy garland that can be used to hang ornaments off of. Rubber-banding these base elements to the frame at a few key points so they don't slip down is usually a good idea. Then pile on the glitz:

Modern Christmas Tree

And there you go! Now you have the option to spend your money on the decorations and not the tree, and a little extra closet space in the off season.

- Victoria, 2012-12-15

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