Monday, December 12, 2011

Another Substitute Christmas Tree

I have another variation on the "substitute Christmas tree" for 2011! (For previous years, see my earlier post here).

I have to say that I didn't come up with this idea on my own - it's my own interpretation of a tree I saw featured on "Stephen & Chris" (incidentally one of my least favourite programmes on CBC, but on account of a viral infection I was laid up on the couch and formed a captive audience to whatever happened to be on channel 2 at that time!). For a truly hideous alternative Christmas tree, find the lampshade one featured on the same show here.

I murdered a novel last year to make a secret-compartment book, and I've been using up the cut-out pages for various crafts ever since. If you'd like to make a Christmas tree out of pages of print, I have a few suggestions for you before you start hacking to death a great work of fiction:
  • Buy one of the 6 copies of "Breaking Dawn" on the shelf at the Kits Salvation Army. Clearly you won't be removing a rare or beloved book from circulation by chopping up one of these. There's a few others that are in surplus - I also saw multiple copies of a novel whose title I forgot (but it's turquoise, and features a person covered in candy beads)
  • Used copy paper in the recycling bin. Black and white is effective, but colour print-outs could be cool, too!
  • Find a book you really, really hated. It's cathartic to cut out pages, fold and hot glue them to a wrapping paper roll core.
 I folded the pages simply (photos hopefully give a good explanation on their own! Worth 1000 words, right?), and glued the tips (with a hot glue gun - speediest option) to a styrofoam base. I needed extra stability so I glued that to a styrofoam tray part-way through the process! Where did I get all these supplies? From my craft drawer - and if you don't have one already, the day after Christmas is the best day to start amassing contents! Keep that gift wrap, those labels and the packaging as it can certainly be reused (and if not, it might be recyclable - more thoughts on that general subject here!).

As I added pages (started in rounds, but changed to a spiral pattern on the way), I started to change the "slope" of the glued on pages from gentle to steep, in order to (hopefully!) mimic the shape of a tall pine like a lodgepole pine or white spruce. If you use different sizes of pages (bigger on bottom) and keep the slope of the pages relatively constant, you can recreate the fuller-body of a blue spruce or other stumpier but traditional Christmas tree.

I put on a reused bow decoration for a temporary star (there's some really neat tutorials out there for Polish and Finnish stars I'd like to try - maybe I'll do a separate post on those if I get to them!).

Drawbacks to a printed page tree - it's not very tall (less than a metre), and it's a terrible thing to have around advent candles or a menorah! But on the upside, it's free (or very cheap!), it's unusual, it doesn't weigh anything at all, and it's mostly recyclable (and makes good reuse of landfill-bound styrofoam - read up on Green, Broke & Living in Kits plastic recycling in Vancouver here!).

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