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Trim a tree

A metal tree decorated with seed beads and crystals creates holiday fun

Yes, beads can grow on trees – at least on this fanciful fir. Beaded-strand garlands spruce up a small, plain tabletop tree. Choose seed beads in festive colors and bright, flashy crystals for tiny ornaments. Then plan a quiet afternoon. You’ll soon have a captivating centerpiece friends and family will want for their own holiday decor.

SUPPLIES

  • 9-in. (23cm) wire potted tree (Michael’s Arts and Crafts, www.michaels.com, #4625)
  • hank of size 6/0 seed beads
  • 6 8mm round crystals
  • 6 6mm round crystals
  • 12 1 1⁄2-in. (3.8cm) head pins, gold plated or base metal
  • spool of 24-gauge gold craft wire
  • roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Trim a tree a
Photo a
1. Cut three 20-in. (51cm), three 18-in. (46cm), and three 16-in. (41cm) lengths of craft wire for the tree’s lower, middle, and upper tiers, respectively.

2. Begin on the lowest tier of branches and bead the shorter strand first. Fold a 20-in. piece of wire in half and place the fold underneath a metal branch near the center curve. Wrap the wire ends around the branch in opposite directions.
Trim a tree b
Photo b
3. On one end of the wire, string seed beads until the beaded strand reaches the next branch, allowing for a slight drape. Pass the wire under and wrap it around the branch twice.

4. Repeat step 3. Trim the excess wire.
Trim a tree c
Photo c
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other end of the wire. To finish the strand, wrap the wire’s end twice around the branch closer to the branch’s tip. Pass the wire under and around the first wrap twice. Trim the excess wire.
Trim a tree d
Photo d

6. To add the second and third garlands to the lower tier, repeat steps 2 through 5, placing each subsequent wrap nearer the branch’s tip.

7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 with the 18-in. wire for the middle tier and the 16-in. wire for the upper tier to complete the tree.

Trim a tree e
Photo e
8. String a 6mm crystal on one head pin and an 8mm crystal on another. Make a plain loop above each bead. Make a total of six dangles for each crystal size.
Trim a tree f
Photo f
9. Open a dangle’s loop, attach it to a branch end, and close the loop. Alternate the 6mm and 8mm crystals on successive branches.
Tip!

Design guidelines

  • Decorate each tier with three separate pieces of beaded wire.
  • Vary the number of seed beads hanging between each branch from the shortest to the longest garlands on each tier, according to each garland’s swag.
  • String the shortest strand of garland first on all tiers, beginning near the center curve of the branch. Move closer toward the branch’s tip when wrapping each consecutive strand.
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