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While the tree is decorated with silk leaves, the real decoration is a hands-on family collaborative where we will each write things we are thankful for this season and add them to our tree. This project can easily be crafted in an hour or two using bits and pieces of leftover supplies along with materials found in your own backyard.
First you’ll need to go on the hunt for several tree branches. The size you gather will depend upon how large you want your centerpiece to be. I recommend cutting branches that are still alive instead of using dead, fallen branches. The dead branches tend to be more brittle and can be difficult to work with if you’re not careful.
After collecting your branches, you’ll need to pull all remaining leaves and buds off the branches and tape them together at the bottom using black electrical tape. Once you find a suitable vase, layer the bottom with a small number of river rocks, insert your branches, and then fill the vase around the branches with more river rock until the vase is 2/3 full. Add a small amount of Spanish moss or reindeer moss on top of the river rock.
Then you will use a hot glue gun to adhere a package of silk leaves in random places on the branches. I purchased a package of 50 leaves from the Dollar Tree for $1 and used all 50.
Now, you’re ready to make the tags to hang from the tree. Punch several tags from a neutral cardstock using the XX Large Tag Lever Punch. Punch the same number of tags from various patterned papers using the same punch. Adhere a cardstock tag to the backside of your patterned paper tag and punch a small hole in the top using the 1/16” hand held circle punch.
Next, punch several leaves from various shades of cardstock, then punch a hold just above the stem using the 1/16” hand held circle punch. These leaves become way more fun if you use a variety of cardstock such as shimmered, glittered, embossed, textured, etc.
Using bakers twine or ribbon, attach a single leaf to each tag using a slipknot. If you like a little bling, add a small rhinestone jewel sticker to the corner of each tag.
To start your tree off with a little decoration before the holiday, you can use leftover phrase stickers to acknowledge some of the more broad spectrum things the whole family is thankful for, such as: love, health, friends, home, laughter, memories, etc.
Go ahead and tie those on the tree with either a slipknot or a bow, whichever you prefer. The visual reminder of these tags hanging in the days leading up to the holiday will get the conversation started and the family thinking about what kinds of more specific things they are thankful for.
Place the blank tags in a basket along with several pens or markers. (Note: If you have smaller children that might need more space to write, consider adhering two layers of cardstock together for your tags, neutral on one side, solid color on the other so their thankful thought can span both sides of the tag)
Lastly, add a little embellishment to the front of the vase to make it a bit more festive. This can range anywhere from stickers to chipboard to silk flowers or just a simple wide ribbon.
Once the holiday rolls around, pass the basket among the family members and ask them to fill out a tag or two (or three) with something they are thankful for, then tie them on the tree.
I hope you’re inspired to give this easy-to-manage project a try this holiday season! If a centerpiece is too large and overbearing, trying doing the same thing on a smaller scale by just using a single branch and a bud vase with just a few small tags. Your tags can be punched from plain or scalloped circles, even.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Fall Phrase Diecut, Felt Flower, Chipboard, Jewel Stickers (Little Yellow Bicycle)
Label Stickers (Studio Calico)
Phrase Stickers (Bella Blvd.)
Patterned Paper (Cosmo Cricket, Studio Calico, Little Yellow Bicycle, Making Memories)
Twine (The Twinery)