Thursday, September 10, 2009

Its The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!!!

I adore simple and inexpensive craft projects. And when those projects center around my all time favorite holiday... well, you can imagine my excitement and my need to share the wealth (click on the pic to enlarge). For those of you who have a Michael's craft store nearby... there is going to be a HUGE 50% off coupon in the paper. If you're going to give this particular craft project a try, the coupon might come in handy for the tree since it was the most expensive of all the items (at $16). Also, a 20% coupon can be used at Spirit Halloween Superstore using code "Society". But if you don't have access to these stores, your local craft store will have very similar items... use your imagination and have fun with it. The biggest tip I can give you is to look for Halloween "ornaments". The skull is a foam ornament. I literally ripped the hanger pin out of the top. The candle tray came from a dollar store. I sawed the ity bity feet off the bottom and super glued the plate into the arrangement. I then piled hot glue up underneath to level the plate. If you are going to be adding a candle to your centerpiece, be sure that the flame is far enough away from EVERYTHING else so that a fire isn't started. I use a tealight since they do not emit a lot of heat and the area around the tealight is open enough that it's safe to burn. As always, I never leave lit candles unattended.
This project is an easy one, just make sure to glue, glue and glue some more. Elmer's glue is your friend... it dries clear. Hot glue is your friend... it can be removed if needed. Super glue is your friend...because let's face it, there's nothing more helpful when completing a project than gluing your fingers together! HA!

Spooky Tree Centerpiece
You'll need:

Hot glue gun with glue sticks
Elmer's Glue (A LOT OF ELMER'S GLUE)
Super Glue
Floral Arrangement Foam
Floral Arrangement anchors/pins
Moss
Silk Flowers of your choice
A Base of some sort... bowl shaped works the best. I used a $1 plastic cauldron that I got at the dollar store and filled the bottom 1/3 with rocks to weigh it down. I then packed the floral arrangement foam on top with A LOT of Elmer's glue. I mean I packed that cauldron tight, so when I secured the metal tree... that sucker stayed! Explanation in detail below.
Various Halloween ornaments (spiders, bats, jack-o-lanterns
Ribbon (I used ribbon with traditional Halloween colors.)
Thin wire
Wire cutters
Scissors
Candle holder/candle optional

BEFORE beginning your project, and before removing price tags, lay out everything that you intend to use and pre-arrange everything. Make sure that everything will fit in your arrangement BEFORE gluing or securing anything. I purchased a 3" x 4" R.I.P. grave stone ornament to place behind the skull, but it didn't fit. Luckily I didn't remove any tags and will be returning it to Michaels tomorrow.

Getting Started: Make sure that the base is heavier than any other component. My cauldron was plastic and the tree is powder coated metal. If I didn't weigh the cauldron down with rocks, once the centerpiece was completed, the heavier tree would make it top heavy and could tip the centerpiece. Ensuring that the base is heavy will make for a much more stable project. To weigh my cauldron down, I went out into my yard and filled the cauldron 1/3 full of crushed granite landscape rocks. I then added about 1/3 cup Elmer's glue and stirred to be sure the glue coated the rocks. You do not need to let the glue dry. I then cut up the floral arrangement foam into miscellaneous, odd shaped chunks (because of the size of the cauldron, my chunks were about 2" x 2") and added them to the cauldron. I would add two handfuls, add a layer of Elmer's glue, gently mix the foam and glue together (be sure not to disturb the glue coated rocks below), pack it down and add some more foam, more glue, pack it down... continue the process until your base is fully packed. Again, do not let glue dry. Cover the surface of the packed foam with Elmer's and cover entire surface with moss. Do not let dry. Finally, complete your arrangement. I started with securing the tree using floral arrangement pins. I then hot glued the skull and then the silk flowers. My last step was securing the candle tray. Not including the shopping, the project took me about 1 1/2 hours to complete and cost me about $35 (would have been less if I would have waited for the sale next week... cuz I'm so patient! HA!).

If you do give this one a try... PLEASE let me know how it turns out. A nice fall theme alternative is to use a wood bowl in place of the cauldron, a bundle of dried wood branches in place of the tree, fall leaves in place of the silk flowers, and various fall themed ornaments like pumpkins and scarecrows, etc. If including a candle, be sure to ask your local craft store for metal "wood branches" and metal base for safety.

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