Foam or Styrofoam trees are ideal for crafting one-of-a-kind decorations for Christmas, or to create a little festive ambiance any time of the year. Delightfully cone-shaped, lightweight and inexpensive, foam trees are readily available at craft supply stores in assorted heights and sizes. Make just one for a dramatic focal point or a whole forest of dazzling trees. Deck them out in colors and materials to complement your home decor; and display one or more on an entrance table, fireplace mantel or as a dinner table centerpiece. Foam trees look particularly beautiful dressed in painted leaves sprinkled with Swarovski crystals.
Things You'll Need
- Foam trees in different sizes
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Jeweler's glue or Bejeweler tool
- Hot fix or flat-back Swarovski crystals
- Large package of dried bay leaves
- Gold, silver or other color spray paint
- Paper towels
- Wet towels
- Non-toxic spray gloss or matte sealer
Spray the foam trees overall with spray paint. Set them aside to dry. Apply a second coat, if required. Load the hot glue gun with a glue stick and preheat.
Select the largest, most uniform-shaped dried bay leaves from the package and put them together. Select the next largest ones and put them together. Assemble three or four different-sized groups of leaves, depending on the height of the foam tree. Lay the bay leaves out on a sheet of newspaper, keeping them together in their size groups. Leave a space of about one inch between each leaf.
Spray paint the leaves in a sweeping motion, holding the spray can about 16 inches from the leaves, or as recommended on the can. Wait until the leaves are dry to the touch. Examine them to ensure they are all uniformly coated with paint. Spray a second coat, if required.
Attach the largest group of leaves to the bottom circumference of the tree with the point of each leaf touching the table, using a small dab of hot glue. Allow the pointed tip of each leaf to touch the table. Press and hold each leaf for several seconds to ensure it is completely affixed. Work your way up the tree, attaching the next largest-sized leaf around the circumference. Attach the smallest leaves around the circumference of the tree top, joining their ends to form a point.
Preheat the Bejeweler. Attach the Swarovski crystals in a random or symmetrical pattern over the whole tree with jeweler's glue or the Bejeweler tool. Spray the finished tree with gloss or matte sealer.
- Other beads may be substituted for the Swarovski crystals.
- Trim decorated foam trees with tiny, sparkling light strands in white, clear or colors that complement your decor and the season or occasion. Display decorated foam trees year round for parties and special occasions. Adapt the trees to the season by using different colors of paint, beads, feathers and other materials.
- Spray paint the leaves with glitter paint for extra pizzazz and display groups of different-sized trees in candlelight.
- Substitute other dried leaves for the bay leaves, either gathered and dried in the fall, or purchased from a dried plant and floral supply store.
- Attach small dried roses or other flowers and plant materials for a different look.
- Check out online resources for exciting design inspiration, ideas and tutorials.
- Keep lots of wet towels and paper towels on hand for clean-up.
- Spray paint and jeweler's glue should only be used in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid contact with the end of the hot glue gun, Bejeweler tool and hot glue.
- When displaying foam tree decorations near candles, maintain enough distance to avoid the risk of fire.