DIY Cone Christmas Trees

Most of your stockings have likely been hung by the chimney with care for going on two to three weeks now. In fact, you Pre-Thanksgiving decorators are probably tempted to stop reading right now (rookie decorator, why are we still talking decorations?). I’ll tell you why. Scenarios in which it’s not too late for this post:

a) You’re hosting that rocking Christmas party this weekend plus oodles of family next, and your space could honestly use a little more holiday jazzing up (You know it could.)
b) You might be on the hunt for a simple DIY whilst hosting a more intimate -yet equally festive- gathering of friends in the coming days.(How much more “Girl’s Night” does it get than busting out glue guns and glitter?)
c) You aren’t hosting anyone, but are practically bubbling over with Buddy-The-Elf-Like Christmas Spirit that’s kinda getting on people’s nerves and you need to channel it stat before you burst into a million tiny sugar plum pieces.

I most closely identify with the third.

I practiced immense self control this year in not going Christmas-crazy in our apartment. It’s our first Christmas married, so we bought a lovely tree, and have one of two little holiday pieces tucked here and there -then I drew the heartbreaking, pragmatic decorating line. (Somehow I didn’t imagine conversations with family explaining why everyone’s presents were in the form of nativity centerpieces and candy cane wreaths sprucing up my living room as going very well.)

The inspiration for this project was one part Christmas spirit, and one part newlywed practicing budgeting discipline and seeking out some fun, frugal ways to decorate and enjoy the season while crafting.

DIY Christmas Tree Cones
Cereal Box Cone Christmas Tree Forest

I found these a blast to make. They’re unusually addicting -I started looking at everything in my apartment as potential cone tree material. The concept is so basic, the sky’s the limit for creativity.

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The inspiration for these trees was from this absolutely terrific post. She has some crazy creative ideas that I love, and does a nice job of explaining step by step how she made her creations.

I tried to make these as cheaply as possible, staying under the $25 mark for the lot using materials I had at home, plus great sales and coupons from craft stores. I  used the cardboard that was already in my pantry and made the cones out of cereal boxes, like she suggests, because that sounded like a great idea (and eventually, ultimately was.)

But let’s be honest for a second: the inspiration post says “roll, cut, glue, & trim!” like it’s that easy. I must have missed an elementary lesson on cone-making back in the day –my first cone was so complicated and lopsided.
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Sure I could have bought styrofoam cones, but that meant spending more money and defeating the purpose. Several glue gun burns (and silent expletives) later I figured it out, and have total confidence you will, too (likely much more easily than I did if you didn’t miss that particular day of second grade.) All of that to say if you struggle a smidge, you’re in good company, and it gets easier and more fun.

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My favorite tree was honestly the most expensive to make, this little jingle bell guy. I fell in love with the sort of non-traditional metal tones of bells at Hobby Lobby and knew immediately I needed to incorporate them (the tones are much more gorgeous in person.) I started by painting the base a metallic gold because I knew a little cardboard would show through in the gaps between bells (nothing screams sloppy DIYer more than images of Fruity Pebbles peaking through.)

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This one took patience seeing as I chose the largest tree to be covered with the tiniest pieces (plan better than me, You.) Ultimately I think the texture and color is a nice addition to the team and I’m happy I went with it, but it took a few episodes worth of Gilmore Girls snipping and gluing tiny pine cones pieces. I knew I planned to paint it a metallic green when I was finished, so I just started with the brown base.

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I started with a white base, clipped the ends of the feathers to create clean lines, organized them by size, and topped this fluffy guy with a random faux pearl from the bottom of my craft bucket. I think it took fifteen minutes. I love the starkness of the white with the team and the texture -even if it looked like I had a fight with a monster chicken when I was finished (have a hand vac ready, feathers are almost as bad as glitter for getting everywhere you never imagined.)

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This one wins the gold medal for easy -maybe 10 minutes. I painted the base metallic gold in case any cardboard peaked through, then stuffed one end of the cord into the top of the tree and wound it around tightly hot gluing every so often until I reached the bottom. Done.

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In theory, this final tree would have been as easy as the gold cord tree had I purchased the correct supplies. If you can find a roll of tinsel-like (what do you call it? ribbon? cord?) -use it. That’s what this looked like in the package, and I know it exists. Instead, I bought a silver garland with individual tinsel-looking branches, which I clipped off and hot glued individually. It was more time consuming, but it had the same effect, and it was important for me to mix silver in the group.

Due to constraints of working, out of town trips, and an exploding glue gunthis is where the forest ends this year. (My glue gun screamed “I’m done!”  around midnight with a bright orange spark and a loud POP as I was gluing the last of the silver tinsel on the final tree. Apparently my holiday spirit was getting on his nerves, too. I have a neat battle wound.)

I would love to make more trees out of different ruffled fabrics, leopard ribbons, poinsettia petals, or jute -but those will have to wait until next year. If you give these a whirl, please tell me what you use! Comment below!

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2 thoughts on “DIY Cone Christmas Trees

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