Project: Folk Art-Inspired Ornament Tree

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By Lish Dorset
One of my favorite Christmas trees, that I’ve had for years, has a bit of a Charlie Brown look to it – just a few sparkly branches, but very loved. It’s the best because the ornaments can be shown off for all to admire. I use the tree for the handmade ornaments I’ve received from friends and ornament swaps, but it’s getting a bit full (which is a good problem). I decided I wanted another simple tree, but not the same one. With just a few dowels and some kitchen twine, I created this folk art-inspired ornament tree to show off my growing collection.


4 cut wooden dowels, 7/16″ diameter. Lengths should be 1 – 26″; 1 – 11″; and 2 – 18″. You can ask to have the cuts made at your hardware store.
Craft paint
1 foam brush
Kitchen twine
Pint-sized glass or tumbler
Kosher salt
Ornaments of your choice


Step 1: Paint your dowels. I gave mine only 1 coat for a stained look as opposed to being very glossy with several coats of paint. Set aside and let dry completely.
Step 2: It’s now time to start tying the “branches” to the “trunk.” The first branch will be 11″ up from the bottom of your tallest dowel. Cut a long piece of kitchen twine and tie it to the long dowel. (The longer the twine better – this will make the bond more secure.) Center the 11″ dowel right where you tied your knot and begin criss-crossing the twine around the two dowels. The twine will build up as you continue to move back and forth across the bond. As you come to the end of your twine, tie off and trim the ends.
Repeat this for the two remaining dowels, with the second dowel placed 5″ above the first, and the third dowel placed 6″ above the second.
Step 3: Once the tree is assembled, select the glass of your choice to be your stand. I used a favorite vintage tumbler of mine, so I decided on using Kosher salt instead of a permanent solution, like plaster of Paris. Fill the glass up with salt. Stop just short of the top and insert your tree. Pack the salt down to keep the tree from wiggling around. Once packed, add more salt to fill the glass entirely.
You’re done! This isn’t the type of tree for heavy ornaments, so keep that in mind when you’re trimming.
Do you have any Christmas tree traditions?
Stay tuned for Lish’s Paint Swirl Glass Ornament project tomorrow at noon.
About the Author:
Lish Dorset loves to craft and inspire others around her craft (including her cat Ronnie), too. She’s a staff writer for CRAFT and a lover of Maker Faire. A lifelong Michigan resident, Lish is a part of Handmade Detroit, a DIY gang that’s been hosting the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, Michigan’s first indie craft fair, since 2006. While she loves all crafting mediums, she spends most of her time sewing, quilting, and finding ways to involve a glass of wine in her projects.

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