Tabletop DIY tree?
November 22, 2016 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm wondering if someone could point me in the direction of a DIY miniature christmas tree? Needs to fit in a carry-on bag. No bigger than a can of soup. Not real.

My husband will be working far away from home for the foreseeable future. I am flying out to see him for a week in December and would like to bring him a tiny tree that he can keep in his room. There are tons of options to buy but this man is cheap, cheap CHEAP and will be mad if I spend money on a miniature Christmas tree. Does anyone know of a good-looking DIY version? I have access to a lot of craft supplies.
posted by pintapicasso to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What about putting felt circles like ornaments on a green travel umbrella. Don't open it all the way, use tape to keep it tree shaped half open.
posted by tilde at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2016

The other option is a $4 green styro cone from the craft store. Buy a box of sparkly headed pins and beads. Push the pins through the beads into the styro.
posted by tilde at 10:43 AM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sew a series of graduated green puffy fabric rings (donuts) that stack around a candy cane core.
posted by tilde at 10:45 AM on November 22, 2016

Piece of green felt cut and shaped into a cone, with sparkly beads sewn on like ornaments.
posted by tilde at 10:46 AM on November 22, 2016

Take a fake fir garland and wrap it around a styro cone.
posted by tilde at 10:47 AM on November 22, 2016

Make one out of a magazine:
posted by spudsilo at 10:47 AM on November 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

We have done three non-big-tree natural decorations for XMas:

1) A live wreath. The smell is everything. We have a big one that we can put ornaments on, but a little one would accomplish the smell, _and_ it _seems_ a lot less expensive. You can also do what we did last year, which is get branch scraps from a Christmas Tree place and make your own wreath.

2) Just branches. Again, the smell is everything, but this is even less expensive. You can put the branch or branches on a table, sofa, or mantle (watch out for sap), and they are niiiice. You can put a red bow on it/them too.

2a) Branch fastened to a wall. Like a wreath, but more natury and can be quite dramatic. Bonus: you can hang ornaments from something like this.

3) Leafless branch mounted in a heavy base. We hang tiny bead ornaments from this. Basically, I took a small section of a log, drilled a hole in one of the circular faces, and stuck a stick in it. I spent some serious time picking out the stick so that it's lovely and graceful. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it. If you bring a base with you, you can find a stick while out on a walk with your husband (ditto for the evergreen tree branch idea above).

Going on a walk with your husband with this as a quest could be a lovely way to spend time with him.

Less plastic and synthetics in the world = less carbon emitted.
posted by amtho at 10:48 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you know how to crochet, there are some pretty nice looking free miniature Christmas tree patterns on Ravelry. Ex:
posted by henuani at 11:14 AM on November 22, 2016

I once draped a floor lamp in gold garland and a string of lights, then hung a bunch of homemade so-called ornaments on the thing and called it done.
posted by easily confused at 11:16 AM on November 22, 2016

A free pattern for a sewn, stuffed tree. The smaller version is likely bigger than you want but it's a pdf pattern so you can scale it down before printing.
posted by kyla at 11:20 AM on November 22, 2016

Quite a few small & cheap & portable options here.

If you're handy or crafty, it seems like it would be easy to make one out of cardboard, thin plastic sheeting, wood or metal. You could probably also wire a short strand of LED lights to it.
posted by Cranialtorque at 11:25 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

This gizmodo article also has a few fun ones. Some are too big and/or too expensive, but read to the end for the hilarious inflatable tree.

The LEGO tree looks totally fun to me, packs very small, and the two of you can have some fun building it together.
posted by Cranialtorque at 11:30 AM on November 22, 2016

How about a DIY bottle brush tree?
posted by mayurasana at 11:36 AM on November 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are wooden cutout trees like this, which you could easily make out of corrugated cardboard, and it would pack flat and be easy to carry. Here are instructions for a 2-sheet one; this one is fancy, uses 3 sheets.
posted by aimedwander at 12:26 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

If your craft stash includes sewing supplies, or felt/fabric and fabric glue, you could make one of these cute little trees.
posted by esoterrica at 12:52 PM on November 22, 2016

You need the MAGIC CRYSTAL GROWING TREE! This is what we bring to LA from the east coast when we travel. Packs flat, the size of a paper back. Here's one.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:56 PM on November 22, 2016

The other option is a $4 green styro cone from the craft store. Buy a box of sparkly headed pins and beads. Push the pins through the beads into the styro.

You can also take strips of fabric and loop them and pin them in. I have never managed to properly link, but here is an example of what I mean:
posted by dawg-proud at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2016

Two "Little Tree" air fresheners and a craft knife. Slit one tree from middle to top, the other from bottom to middle, and slot 'em together. Bonus: smellz!
posted by scruss at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went on an anti-tree rampage once after my just-finished-decorating tree fell over so my mom sent me a miniature artificial tree. It was about 6" tall and very realistic, I think she got it at Michaels. It was easy to find/make miniature ornaments and hang then with loops of thread. I even had a blinking Xmas lights novelty necklace draped around it. It fell over a lot too but this one was easier to pick up.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:00 PM on November 22, 2016

I think these felt trees are cute, cheap, and could be made to any size you like. A pinterest search offers lots more ideas.
posted by gennessee at 2:18 AM on November 23, 2016

Those little bottle brush trees are seriously, less than a dollar or two each, and I think they look very nice. Some people bleach and dye them, if you'd like a novelty colour - apparently this is very easy to do.
posted by glitter at 3:33 AM on November 23, 2016

There are lego kits for trees that can be had on ebay for £5. Otherwise if you're handy look up making your own wireframe trees on miniature wargaming blogs. They would be very cheap (£3 in wire) and can look very neat when finished. I bet you could make something quite cool with a single spool of gardening wire, but it would take some time.
posted by koolkat at 3:42 AM on November 23, 2016

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