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I make costume jewelry Christmas trees as gifts for family. This one on black background was given to me 30 years ago and made by my 86 year old aunt. It is one of the most loved things in my home.
Old family pieces are nice or just collect them at yard sales. They are getting harder to find.
You can also use buttons and let the kids make them.
The other day, I had two funnels in my pantry. When I moved the biggest one, it knocked the next smaller one off the shelf. When I picked it up, I realized it sat on the larger one like it was stacked, like a Christmas tree. More on that later in the post. This was a labor of love and I hope you like it.
Total Time: 3 hours
Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.
What type of glue do you recommend for the tree or decoration of jewelry on velvet?
I do all kinds of crafts and find that "Gorilla" glue will just about do for any project, go to a craft shop and read the label and this way you will find the one need for what you are doing.
There is Aleene's Super Fabric Adhesive.
All the glues mentioned above have issues in one way or another. If you are making the tree on a board covered with velvet, then glue a gold chain in the outline of your tree, then fill in the outline with the crackled, broken glass of a green wine bottle (specific instructions on how to do this!) and then will be gluing down the heavy vintage bejeweled rhinestone brooches and such, there are only two glues out there that cut the mustard. One is Beacon 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue (crystal clear, instant grab, fast dry.) It is very good if your tree is not going to accumulate a lot of weight by the size of your tree. But if you are making a larger tree with a heavy frame and crackled glass and jewelry, like I make, then the very best glue that meets all the criteria and will hold forever is E-6000. Only about $2.50 per tube on Amazon and at Walmart stores, elsewhere, they charge $5 -7 per tube. Happy crafting, Ladies! Pam
By suzanne from Lafontaine, IN
I have known people in the past that made those trees out of old costume jewelry. I have always wanted to make one but never seem to have enough of the right kind jewelry to use.
I saw something similar on Antiques Roadshow. It was a sculpture made from old jewelry and other small objects. There was a name for it. I can't remember the name but at one time it was fashionable to make these things from objects that a loved one owned and wore in their lifetime, after they passed on. They are a form of folk art and had a lot of value.
I bought costume jewelery in bulk off Ebay and designed and made my own Christmas trees. I have 3 of them. This was popular back in the 30's and 40's. I don't know if there are kits but I think a persons own imagination, a velvet backed picture frame or shadow box, and some junk jewelery makes it good to go. You can even drill holes in the backing and add some Christmas lights through the back, I use battery operated ones.
What type of glue do you use to attach the jewelry to the fabric? I want something that I know will stick, but I don't want it to be noticeable. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Can I buy a Christmas jewelry tree kit?
By kim from Canada
I have not seen a kit for making the tree, but I am in the process of making one. I bought a green floral cone at the craft store and covered it in dark green velvet from an old pillow. I have been adding sparkly old jewelry, from thrift stores and family, as well as the flat back craft stones. The base will be a wooden block, sprayed gold, and encrusted with more craft stones. I also bought some of the small clear lights with a battery pack at the Dollar Tree. This will, I hope, be a beautiful heirloom project, with very little expense involved.
Take a large piece of thin ply board. On the backside, draw a large tree. Drill holes here and there, evenly spaced as you would like them to insert tiny colored lights through. On the front side I glued a large piece of black velvet and make holes where the lights will be placed so they can pop through okay. Where the tree is, glue jewelry: pins, bracelets, pretty buttons, break apart necklaces and bracelets. Use good glue (I can't remember what kind I used but it has to be effective on the jewelry and fabric). Use bracelets as the trunk and base. Be creative. Find a star to use at the top. When I make mine, I always put something to the outside of the tree like a dragon fly, butterfly, bird or something shiny. I will try to get a picture posted later.
You can take a large frame. Paint it if it isn't pretty.
Here are some pics of my tree I made about 30 years ago and still use.
How do I make a Christmas tree out of jewelry?
By carol from Bay City, WI
I haven't a clue as to how to make an actual tree structure out of the jewelry. I did however purchase a cheap fake Christmas tree at a craft store and simply strung some necklaces about it and adorned it with earrings ( the ones with the hook backings ), I've kept the tree up just as it is year around and I find it works wonderfully just as a jewelry stand. :)
I made two several years ago like the one pictured. It has some special pieces on it like little gingerbread men and some small leaves from the craft store amidst all the beads. These special pieces really made it meaningful to me. The girl scout pin is a great idea, nursing pin or caduceus etc would be neat.
Where is your picture. Would love to see it.
My friend loaned me a magazine with instructions to make a Christmas jewelry tree and pictures. I lent it to a friend who has mislaid it and can't find it. I don't know the name, but it was a few years old. Can you help with the name of the issue? I would like to purchase it if I can.
By Susann S.
The website below is from a past Thrifty Fun question re a possible jewelry tree:
I am looking for instructions for a Christmas tree made out of old jewelry.
By Donna C. Eaton from Gibsonville, NC
I have collected the costume jewelry, frame. I am ready to organize the jewelry on the black material. How do I make a tree shape? How do I sew on the jewelry? I have many signed pieces and do not want to cut them or glue them onto the fabric. Thanks for your help.
By Lee B.
I am looking for information on making a vintage jewelry Christmas lighted picture frames.
By Rita from Maggie Valley area
Years ago, my grandmother had a lot of junk jewelry around. Using a desired pattern (Christmas tree for example), she painted the frames, covered them with felt, added wood to the back of the frame (so it stood out from the wall), drilled holes through the pattern, and added tiny Christmas lights from the back. The lights were also the reason for it not to hang flush against the wall. Finally she put some type of hanger on back of frame. They look beautiful during the day and even more lovely at night when the lights are turned on.
Does anyone have this pattern or directions for making these? Also do you have other crafts that can be made out of junk jewelry?
By Rita N
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I am trying to locate a pattern for a costume jewelry Christmas tree. I have spent hours on the web and still cannot find one. Can anyone help me?
By Carole Garcia from Monterey Park, CA
You really don't need a pattern. If you have a nice shape for a tree, whether it is the kind that have the points of the limbs straight down or pointed it, simply get a piece of thin board. I used to cover mine with red felt, velveteen, or sateen (fake satin).
Then you put your pattern on it, draw it, and place your jewelry on it. If you have sets, like earrings, it's fun to place them on the same points on each side of the tree, or if your pieces are all different, you can put the larger ones in the middle and the smaller ones on the tips of the trees.
Shiny ones work wonderfully, and the best glue is E-6000. Take off the earring backs, pin backs, or anything that keeps the pieces from being as flat as they can be.
Keep something magical for the star on top, or just make a glitter glue one by drawing the shape and filling it in. If you make one, send it to us. (11/16/2009)
My mom has some great vintage costume jewelry from my grandmothers. She wants to make velvet covered Styrofoam Christmas trees with jewels and beads adorning them for gifts for her daughters and granddaughters next Christmas. How do you make these? Any help is appreciated.
Julie from Monticello, IL
I just saw something like this on TV the other day. They didn't say what type of glue to use, but they covered their tree with fabric before putting on the jewelry. I'm sure they used straight pins to attach the fabric to the styrofoam base. If this is the case, you could use almost any type of glue, but I think tacky glue would work best.
Their tree was to be given with a piece of jewelry attached, as a gift. It wasn't decorated too much, so the recipient could use it to hold her jewelry between wearings. She could attach her pins, earrings, etc. Decorative pins were put on to hold necklaces and earrings. It was meant to keep clutter off of a dresser. (12/17/2005)
E-6000 glue will hold all of your projects. A low heat glue gun may work as well. (12/17/2005)
I made a beautiful tree using styrofoam cones. I first painted a clay pot and inserted the cone into the pot. I use E-6000 glue sparingly! It does deteriorate the styrofoam a bit. I mixed up all kinds of colors and Grandma's old clip on earrings. For the top I used a jeweled ornament from a pendant. Trim the pot with wired ribbon. I also made one just using gold buttons.
I'll try and post a picture (01/21/2006)
I responded to another post before I read yours. I use 1/2" to 3/8" velvet ribbon (which is hard to find. I buy online). Then place gold, silver, etc. braid on top of ribbon. The ribbon circles the ball to form 4 quadrants. Select a piece of jewelry, place it on 1 or more quadrants depending on whether jewelry is earrings or pins, then fill in with sequins, matching, contrasting or whatever you desire. (02/10/2006)
I used to work in a craft store and saw a beautiful jeweled Christmas tree many years ago. It was mounted on black velvet covered board with lights that came through from the back. The artist also framed it in a very fancy gold leaf frame (about 8x10). It was one of the prettiest things I've ever seen. I'm going to make one this year.
I'm going to use something like pegboard if I can find it. I will mount black velvet on and use white chalk to sketch the tree outline. Then I can drill holes where I want the lights to come through. These days tree lights are getting smaller and smaller so this will look pretty nice with tiny lights I think. Then glue on the jewelry. White glue dries clear so that is what I will probably use. I have been buying some bulk jewelry on ebay and it is a hot item. I may have to buy more. Then I'll have the whole thing framed.
Good luck with your tree. (08/13/2006)
Years ago I macramed Christmas Trees with bells on the tips of each bough. Then I covered it with costume jewelry (pins, broaches, tie tacks) and "strung" it with gold chains and strings of pearls. You can add lights in between the macrame knots. We topped it with a beautiful rhinestone pin of my Mom's. Each of my children received one over the years. It hung from the ring where the macrame started on the inside of their entry doors about 36" long top to base and about 30" wide at the largest bough on the bottom. A family favorite for sure. Don't have the exact pattern any longer - sure hope you can find it on the internet.
Happy Holidays (12/04/2006)
I would use E6000 or similar type of epoxy style glue. You can adhere most anything to anything with that stuff! (04/13/2008)
Like the lady who posted 8/13/06, I saw an amazing framed picture on black velvet of a tree outlined in beads and chain. It had Christmas lights through from the back so you could plug it in at night. The tree was built up with broken windscreen glass (not sharp) and all sorts of old jewelery including 18k darts, watches, etc attached. A fab way to display meaningful trinkets rather than keeping them in a box or drawer. I thought it could be a memory tree.
I'm looking for craft classes and believe it is called a Christmas Jewelery Tree. (07/24/2008)
My Dad made some beautiful Christmas Tree wall hangings using old jewelry that he got when a major retailer went out of business years ago. There were a lot of similar pieces, but each one he made (he made 5) was unique. He used chains and beads as garlands, and earrings and pins as ornaments. He cut out a piece of heavy cardboard to fit the frames he made (they are over 16"x20"). This he covered in imitation velvet. Then he started at the top and worked his way down, keeping the Christmas tree shape in mind. He didn't glue anything down, he pinned it in some fashion. I'm gluing mine in place this year. But I am also working on one myself with finds I've gotten in Thrift stores and tag sales. Hope this helps. (11/06/2008)
I have one of these that my great-Aunt made in the 1950's. It is my favorite Christmas decoration. She used a styrofoam tree form that was flat on the sides. She covered it in green felt and trimmed the side seams in gold rick rack. She attached all of the jewelry with short straight pins that she threaded with small beads and pearls or sequins, so they looked like ornaments too. Most of the jewelry that she used was broken, like pieces of necklaces and bracelets. She sort of draped those so that they looked like garland. She used lots of earrings and pins. She topped it off with a hat pin with a large pearl on top and sprinkled the bottom of the tree with glitter.
I have seen the flat-mounted costume jewelry trees as well, and they are cool too. My sister and I tried to replicate the jewelry tree the year after our grandmother died using buttons from her button box, but they weren't as cute as the jewelry tree. (11/21/2008)
Did you ever make your tree? My girlfriend inherited hers last year from her great aunt and I made mine this year from her design. (12/22/2008)
I made one of these Jewelry trees this year. I have to say it has turned out to be my favorite craft project so far.
I dug through my jewelry box and bought "repair" jewelry from ebay to fill it. I used 1/4" plywood, drilled holes for lights, stapled black velvet to the plywood, put the lights through the back and glued on the jewelry.
Everyone that has seen it, loves it. Here is a picture (12/31/2008)
I made a costume jewelry tree just this year to duplicate one my grandmother made probably in the 1960's. I tried to make it as close to hers as possible and I think it turned out pretty good. (01/10/2009)
By Angela G.
I am looking for a Christmas tree wall hanging made of costume jewelry. If any one has one I would appreciate a picture. Thanks.
I am looking for directions on how to make a memory or Christmas tree out of jewelry. It uses one of a kind earrings or old jewelry that is not being used.