Make a 1950s Style Tinsel Christmas Tree

Retro Vintage Christmas Tree Miniature

It is that time of the year, and while we plan for our real homes to be decorated for the season, how about thinking of what you can do to decorate your little mini spaces.
This tutorial was originally published on the Dolls House and Miniature Scene craft club website, but I thought it was time that it was repeated. The instructions are given for one twelfth scale, but you can use the same principle to make the tree larger or smaller. The main thing is that you want it to be stable and you may have to make it more than once until you manage to get the wires wrapped tight enough.
Post-war style was very modern and a departure from the traditional appeared in tinsel Christmas trees in all shapes, sizes and colours. The tree branches were quite sparse and the decorations were also simple – what we call minimalist today.

You will need 

8 – 10 tinsel pipe cleaners in silver 30 cm long
1 x 45 cm long 18 Gauge Cloth Covered Stem Wire (Thick florists wire) 
6mm Glass beads in Green 
Petite Glass beads in silver
1 large coloured sequin
Solvent free Adhesive 
0.4 mm silver-plated wire
Piece of 6mm dowel
Needlenosed pliers 

Retro Vintage Christmas Tree Miniature 2_1
Take the thick florist wire and measure 100 mm from the tip and mark.
Bend sharply at this point, and measure 15mm from bend, and curl around the piece of dowel to make a foot, bringing the wire back to the first bend.  (The overall foot will measure 20mm after the bend.)

Retro Vintage Christmas Tree Miniature 3

Repeat for the other 2 feet so the finished base looks like a clover. Adjust so the base sits perfectly flat.

Retro Vintage Christmas Tree Miniature 4

Take a tinsel pipe cleaner and twist it 3 times to the central stem of the tree starting 15mm from the base and 70 mm from the end of the pipe cleaner. Trim the other end of the pipe cleaner to the same 70 mm length.  (Keep the cut-off lengths for use later up the tree.)
Take a second pipe cleaner and insert the pipe cleaner below the first twist and 70 mm from the end of the pipe cleaner, twist another 2 times going over the bottom stem and ending above the second stem. Cut off as before.
Take a third pipe cleaner and insert  below the last stem and twist 3 times so that the second branch is above the last stem.
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Continue in this way all the way to the top of the tree, reducing the size of the branches in small increments. The last branch should poke straight up.  The overall tree should measure 130mm in height which roughly equates to 5ft in real size – but of course you can make this tree any size.

Shape the branches upwards with a gentle curve. Use your thumb to make the curve close to the tree so the branch arches gracefully. (Some trees of this era were dead straight and just angled upwards.)
Trim the branches so that the tree shape is generous at the bottom and narrower at the top.
Take an off-cut of tinsel and wrap around the bottom of the stem from the base to the first branch.

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Cut 1 x 20mm length of silver wire for each branch. Use small needle-nose pliers to make a small curl at one end of each wire. Insert a green bead and then a small silver bead. Dot a bit of glue on the wire to keep the beads secure.
Bend the top of the wire over and glue to the tree making sure that the decoration hangs straight.
Find a large sequin in the shape of a star or a flower and glue to the tree, choosing the best looking side of the tree as the front.

I do hope that you enjoy making this little tree and that it gets you off to a great miniature Christmas start.

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