Welcome to our first post in the DIY series "I Have a Glue Gun & I'm Not Afraid to Use It" .
In this and the upcoming posts we will be constructing some basic cowboy Christmas tree decorations which will set the tone for a western themed accent tree. By the last post we will have this tree fully decorated and be well proud of ourselves for not only having a great tree but for getting it all done without having to say "next year I'll start earlier". We are doing this together as we go, so even I do not know what the completed tree will look like.
No special skills required, no need to fret, as always, we keep it nice and easy but usually, messy yessy.
For this project I will be decorating a pre-lit 6' slim Dakota Pine. I like the style for western (and country) because it is very open, letting us show off our pretty baubles which might get lost in a larger, denser tree, plus the twig and pine cone accents lend an overall look that's a bit more wild and untamed.
I set it up in a nook in my house for inspiration. Honey Bunny was not thrilled about a Christmas tree in October but I have a glue gun and I'm not afraid to use it.
What do I mean by "basic theme" decorations?
Glad you asked!
In this project these decorations will set the general tone theme of the tree. Think of them as the backdrop for a play which lets you know where you are and sets an overall mood. Your specialty ornaments are like the actors who take front stage and let you know why you are there and engage your imagination.
The basics we will create are: ball ornaments, icicles, pics, tree skirt and garland. The color scheme - red bandana & denim.
We will start with the garland. It makes a bold dramatic statement and we'll feel like glue gun goddesses when we're done. BTW this garland has tons of decor uses. Remember our motto. Garland...it's not just for Christmas anymore.
The specialty ornaments I am building this around are our new wooden ornaments, dangle spurs and the red tin stars because they are all fairly light, well priced and I have to say, I feel in love with them. Your "special" ornaments can and probably will differ. Actually, you can use only the DIY decorations we make and have a mighty fine tree but make more than I do so you have a nice full effect.
We will also be using generic glass satin finish balls to brighten things up a bit but we'll get to that another time.
This picture highlights the look of the garland, it is not the completed tree.
Items needed for (1) 9' strand of garland are:
Hot glue gun
Tacky or Fabric glue
1 spoon 4" wired bandana ribbon (there will be leftover)
9' of 1" rope
Spool of thin craft style twine rope (Walmart)
I am making 2 for my tree. I may not end up using both for the tree but for sure I'll use the extra in a wreath.
** Hints- if you have time, let the rope hang with a weight for a few days to straighten out if it was tightly coiled.
** After cutting all your pieces, lay them out and eyeball the situation. Neither the ribbon or the rope are perfectly flat so some adjustments may have to be improvised to get the desired result.
Cut a 8.5' section of ribbon then cut it again lengthwise down the middle so you end up with (2) 2" wide 8.5" strands of ribbon.
Smaller sections are easier to work with so cut the ribbon again into lengths of approx. 25" per.
Tacking rope in place...
Lay out the first section of ribbon print side down and put a blob of hot glue on the center (approx) of one end then lay the rope on top of glue making sure to leave 4" of overhang (this will make the frayed tail later) hold in place until it dries. Continue tacking the rope in place along the length of the section with hot glue blobs, about 4 or 5 should do.
Then squeeze several lines of the tacky glue the length of that section. Don't use too much or you'll have a goopey slow drying garland mess.
Fold the side of the ribbon that is not wired inward onto the rope then fold the wired side over that which will leave us a more finished edge. Squeeze the rope and ribbon together, we want to really distribute the glue. Give another blob of hot glue to quick tack the end. Let set 5 minutes. Don't be alarmed if you see popping up edges, we will deal with them later.
Move on to the next section and do the same process until you have covered the rope, once again leaving a 4" uncovered end. You can leave gaps between sections if need be because they will be covered by our twine joints.
Now starting on the end where we began, where the ribbon meets the tail, take 5" of twine, tie a knot, squirt with hot glue to tack in place then continue winding the twine to create a pretty rope cap end to where the ribbon leaves off and the tail begins. give a little blob of hot glue to finish.
Repeat this process wherever the ribbon sections meet and make as thick or thin a twine joint as you desire. This not only hides the gaps but adds some flexibility and interest to the garland.
After all this fussing you will notice some edges of the ribbon edges popping open. No worry. Give some more squeezes and let set about 10 minutes. If there are still edges you don't like add hot glue blobs to tack where needed.
Once again working in sections: start at the end where we began, tie a knot of twine without cutting the twine from the spool. Give it a few twirls around that section ending at the next joint. Cut the twine, tie it off, give a hot glue blob and move on. This gives the garland a bit more structure.
After that is done , go back and add some hot glue tacks a bit here and there along the twine swirls just to hold them better in place. Unfurl the 4" tips we left on each end and guess what? We're done!
It's eggnogg time.
The rope I used came from Home Depot the craft twine and glue came from Michael's.
Links to ornaments:
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