Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Decorating a Christmas Tree on a Budget

As you can see from the title of this post, I'm going to show you how to decorate a Christmas tree spending very little money.

When I first started showing you the ornaments I was making, did you guess I was doing an experiment? Probably not as I didn't mention why I wanted to make the decorations for my tree. It isn't like I haven't amassed a gazillion ornaments by now. For heaven sakes, I've been decorating trees for decades. 

The object of my experiment was to see how inexpensively I could decorate a 7 1/2 foot tree. I wanted to see if there was a way of making ornaments by using the materials that I and many of us who do crafts or sewing have on hand. I also looked in other areas of the house, namely the pantry for inspiration. Although the majority of the ornaments were made using materials that comply with the above criteria I still ended up making one type of ornament that I had none of the supplies on hand because I really like the way they look.

Since I have a rather large stash of fabric finding a way to use some to make ornaments seemed like a good idea. Thus the little fabric heart shaped cushions got put on my list. I had the buttons and the fiberfill  in my supply cupboard. The "ribbon loops" are torn muslin. Cost with using what was at hand? $0.  If I had not had the fabric, buttons, lace and fiberfill on hand I might not have made these. 

Most of the photos I'm going to show you are repeats but are being shown now so you can see the ornament along with the cost of making it.

Appearing here with the hearts are the clothes peg Santa ornaments which were the most expensive part of my ornament making since the only thing I had on hand for these were the paints. Cost of making thirty ornaments was $5.98. That was for the clothes pegs and for the bells so this is still a very inexpensive ornament coming in at less than 20 cents apiece.

Next, using supplies from the pantry I mixed up a couple of batches of salt dough and using my cookie cutters cut out several different shapes. Since I've never used salt dough before I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't altogether pleased with the results. Maybe someone with more experience with this stuff would have had better results.

Besides the gingerbread men with the torn fabric scarves and the "Stuffy" gingerbread men, there are puffed stars and little puffed trees and angels, Santas and snowmen made from the salt dough. In all I think there were 7 or 8 dozen ornaments that turned out nice enough to be given as gifts and end up on my tree. The cost for these ornaments was about 50 cents for salt, I already had the flour.

Then, me being me, I had to have some paper mache ornaments somewhere on the tree so I designed the Santa and elf ornaments. They were made from less than one batch of paper mache clay and the cost for 24 ornaments was less than $4.00 I know that not everyone is into making paper mache but since it's my "thing" I had to include it.

At the last minute I made these little angels and they were the least expensive ornaments of the lot. Each is made with 3 basket style coffee filters, a cotton ball, a bit of white cotton string and some Tacky glue. Cost was mere pennies.

This little experiment was fun and I wanted to see for myself what could be done with very little money to make a uniquely decorated Christmas tree.  Who would believe you could decorate a tree this size for just over $10.00? I may go back to using my other ornaments next year but this was a challenge and I'm pleased with the outcome.

I'm keeping busy baking and making candy and working on finishing up some gifts. I am however not working so hard that I'm not enjoying some free time here and there. Today I'm making candles. The supplies were purchased last year but I never got around to them and nearly forgot that I had all of the materials. I wonder what else I can make if I look inside some more boxes.

This is the time of year for watching all of my favorite movies. Watching a Christmas movie puts me into the spirit of Christmas like nothing else can. We have a huge collection of movies to chose from. I honestly don't have a favorite but there's a joke around here that my favorite Christmas movie is, "A Long Kiss Goodnight." If you're familiar with the movie which stars Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson you may not think of it as a Christmas movie but since it takes place at Christmas the movie is stored in the drawer with the more Orthodox selections.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? There seems to be new ones coming out every year but some of the older ones will always be up there among my favorites. I could watch, "It's a Good Life" every year and not get tired of it.

Warm wishes for good cheer and happy memories to all of you this holiday season.
As always, thanks for stopping by.


Katy Cameron said...

Oooh, well done for the decoration on a budget! I'm sure I could have decorated about 50 trees and still have stuff leftovers. Come to think of it, I have a bunch of candle making stuff that's never been used either...

As for the films, well, when I was off sick I must have watched about 30 Christmas films and I still didn't get into the spirit. I'm all off kilter for some reason, and I just can't quite accept the day is only 12 sleeps away - EEEEK! Must go and pull finger out of posterior tonight to get cracking on some pressies!

Christel Hutson said...

Hi Maddy, great little tut on making ornaments! I made some very pretty ornament using white sculpey you can get at walmart..some white glitter, and some light blue acrylic craft paint..I rolled out the dough to about 14 inch thick, cut out snowflakes gave them each a small hole for the ribbon later..(cookie cutter I had on hand) and baked for about 7 min..let them cool, painted a very light blue "branches from the center of each snowflake, added dots of paint, then using clear craft glue, I added my glitter! Turned out looking very much like sugar sparkles, placed white ribbon in the hole and voila! a dozen snowflake ornaments for my tree! Loved your ideas, and the tree looks great! I am thinking cranberries made from clay for a nice cluster ornament, maybe a silk flower leaf cut into the shape of holly! xoxo Christel

Christel Hutson said...

lol after reading that I rolled it out to 1/4 inch thickness..not 14 inch..wow, what fat ornaments huh? lol

♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

wow this is awesome.

Marijke van Ooijen said...

Hay dear Maddyrose,

Ohhh...what a lovely post is this.
The Christmasdecorations are adoroble...I love this Christmasornaments...
I love to come on visit on you lovely blog...

Wishing you a lot of love..

Ascension said...

Que maravilla de decoracion, me encanta cada uno de los detalles.
Visitar tu blog, es vivir ya la Navidad.
besitos ascension

Diana Moses Botkin said...

You certainly are creative and prolific. What an inspiration all these lovely decorations are!

Linda in New Mexico said...

I love crafts for the tree. As I have told you in the past, if ya ever want to market some of you pudgy gingerbread guys, let me know. I like them best of all. You have made a marvelous tree on a budget....but it doesn't look like anything except a very beautiful and heart centered tree. Thanks for sharing. Oma Linda

Kays Kids said...

Dear Maddyrose, your tree looks fantastic. It just show what those crafty hands can do.
Christmas Blessings

Christel Hutson said...

me again Maddy, come over and check out the ornaments..I posted a couple photos of the snowflakes! xoxox Christel

Lois--Huckleberry Lady said...

Hi Maddy, Your hands have made a lovely tree. It's amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it.
Merry Christmas

Susan At Glen Oaks Primitives said...

Wow, I can't believe the ornaments you made. I especially like the angels from the coffee filters. One of my favorite movies that takes place at Christmastime is "The Man Who Came To Dinner" with Montey Wooly, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Mary Wickes, Jimmy Durante and Billy Burke. Too funny!

Anonymous said...

I love your creativity!! Go back to my Son's porch...post...I posted extra pics of some free headbands I made...out of fleese and burlap...Thanks for sharing at Christmas...Mel's Designs

Christel Hutson said...

me again friend...I added a picture of my simple little skinny tree to my original post..just for you! he he Have a great day! xoxo Christel

Mina said...

Wow! You are now the Frugal Decorating Queen. Maddy, this is amazing. Who would have guessed that such tremendous beauty for a 7ft tree could cost just over $10.00??? I think this post will give great hope for many people who are feeling the economic pinch, those who just want to get back to life's simpler pleasures and also crafty souls. Thank you for this wonderfully inspiring post. Hugs always my friend. Mina

Lisa said...

lol! a Long Kiss Goodnight, we watch it every year...too!!! It's just fun!
Everyone of us could use tips for Christmas on a budget! Have to make my rugelach dough tonight, at least I'll have a jump on something.\\

lots of hugs.

orchid said...

Oh, Dearest Maddy.
SO sorry for my belated comment!!!
You made me really surprised to know that your GORGEOUS TREE is 7 1/2 foot tall☆☆☆
Wow, Splendid!!!
I loved to read Mina's comment saying "the Frugal Decorating Queen"♬♬♬
I think you are SO talented that not many other western people can borrow from your example. Your idea of little angels is fabulous.
GREAT WORK, my friend♡♡♡
Love you always, my friend xoxo Orchid*

JDConwell said...

I like the Santa/Elf papermaches and the puffy patchwork gingerbread men!

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