eco crafting: wine cork christmas trees
With the holiday shopping season under way, business has been good at The Wooden Bee. We can’t seem to keep our coaster set kits in stock & we have been busy making new inventory from our recycled wood! Every week we are posting new inventory, so be sure to check in often & see where the wood is taking us!
After many suggestions & encouragement from our customers & friends, we are going to start posting our crafting ideas on our blog as well! So, here is our first holiday craft of the season! Special thanks to my artist friend Jami J. for her inspiration!
__paper craft cone ( 11” or 14” height)
__wine corks (either synthetic, oak or both)
__strand of Christmas lights (battery operated or plugin)
__mini tree topper star
__hot glue gun
First, decide what size cone you would like to use for your tree. The number of wine corks available to you can help determine the size. When using the smaller 11”cones, you will need about 50 wine corks per tree. The larger 14” cones will take at least 100 wine corks. Once you have determined the size, you have some options on the material of the cone. We prefer the paper cone because it is the color of the wine corks, should you not cover every spec of surface with the wine corks. We also like the paper cone because it is hollow & allows you to hide the battery box so the lit tree can be put anywhere! The other cone material available is Styrofoam. Styrofoam cones allow you to easily pin the lights to the surface & are offered in much larger sizes should you have hundreds of corks to use. However, they are not as environmentally friendly as paper.
After, you have purchased your cone, put on your star topper & get ready for the lights. You can use white lights or colored lights. Most battery operated light strands have only 10-12 lights per strand & I would only use them for the smallest of the paper craft cones. If you are using the 14” cone for your tree, around 30 lights would be best. Remember to leave a little extra cord at the bottom, either to tuck under the cone or to reach the wall outlet. Start your light strand at the top, evenly wrapping the lights on the cone. With the paper cone you can use tape to hold the light strand in place as you wrap the lights (this also allows you to re-position them as you glue your corks if needed). I like to leave a little extra give when wrapping, so that when I am gluing the corks on I can move the lights to fit into place perfectly.
When your glue gun is hot & ready, start applying your wine corks at the bottom of the cone. Make sure to glue them so that you still keep a nice level surface for the tree to sit on. I start the corks at the bottom but then I jump to the top & then fill in the middle. There is no pattern, put the corks everywhere & anywhere as you are covering the surface of the cone. A second layer of wine corks will help cover any gaps or holes & the Christmas lights will stick out through the layered corks. I have even had to add a third layer to the base of the tree to help keep the tree shape. You will have to hold the corks in place for 20-30 seconds sometimes, especially when you are gluing cork to cork.
If you would like to add a little extra jazz to your wine cork Christmas tree, cut acrylic paint with blending gel (or water) & paint your wine corks before starting! Cutting or diluting the paint allows the designs on the wine corks to still show but adds a little color to the cork. I chose to dye only some of my oak wine corks on this tree…green & red wine to add the perfect Christmas colors. You can paint synthetic corks but I would only recommend the oak.
Please feel free to email, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions (& send pictures of your wine cork tree creations)! One of the things I liked about this craft, is it allows you some play & creativity so each tree is unique.
Our next crafting blog will be a magnolia cone wreath! Our daughter is thrilled to help with this, since she’s been collecting the magnolia cones on our nature walks all year long!