Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

     As a child I remember gazing upon my grandmother’s costume jewelry Christmas tree.  It was so shiny and the Christmas lights made it mezmorizing.  My grandmother was very crafty, she made hers at a church activity.  This was a popular craft back in the 1970′s.

     There was a magazine produced with instructions back then!

(here is an excerpt)

Craft Magazine with Jewelry Tree

Check out that tree, wait the hair is what is really amazing about this photo!  Ha, ha.

Years later I decided that my kids deserved the a magical Christmas tree like the one I had enjoyed.

Grandma's Vintage Cosutme Jewelry Christmas Tree

     My grandmother was an avid crafter.  She had homemade ornaments, stockings, and more supplies than you could imagine.  When she passed away my mother brought box loads of mixed up crafting supplies.  It was too much for even her to handle.  I offered to take it off her hands.  Once I went digging, I found amazing treasures from vintage ribbons to sea shells.  I also inherited a huge bead and costume jewelry stash.  This may sound glamorous, and it is now, but then it was all mixed up, tangled and a bit stinky.  I spent days, really days, sorting out the jewelry by color and then the beads by color.  I nabbed an organizing case from my husbands workbench and filled her up.  My sister and I went through all of the jewelry and took out the peices we might wear some day.  The rest would be used for our own Jewelry Trees.

Sorting Costume Jewelry and Beads

Supplies:

  • Frame
  • Background fabric
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Tiny String of Christmas Lights
  • Glue Gun
  • Costume Jewelry and Beads

     For my frame, I knew I wanted something big and dramatic.  My Christmas is decorated with gold, champaign, and deep red.  I shopped thrift stores but they were too banged up for my taste.  I shopped antique shops for a funky frame but the frame wasn’t square (it didn’t lay flat on the wall).  Then I went the Michael’s and JoAnn route with a coupon, but they weren’t substantial enough.  Then, the always amazing ROSS (you know, Dress for Less) came to mind.  My sis Amy and I jetted over there and found the perfect frame.  It had a faux oil painting of wine bottles in the center that happened to be painted on thick Masonite!  I think I paid $35 for it.

Frame for Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

 

     This was going to be simpler than I had imagined (note: if your frame doesn’t come with a Masonite center, pre-measure and have a piece cut at your home center for free).  I took the painting home and sketched the outline of my tree.  I went for a more contemporary straight line tree.  Then I evenly spaced dots for the number of lights on the string (note: be sure that they are not spaced farther than the distance of the wire between each light!).  Then I drilled a small pilot hole in each one followed by a drill bit just a hare smaller than the lights themselves.

Frame for Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree



     The Masonite painting was held in with staples so I removed them and removed the painting.  I sprayed my deep red mohair (left over from my Noel hanging) with a spray adhesive and laid it out on the back side of the painting (the painting was bowed inward, so when I reversed it it popped out a little bit, that was better than a sink hole).  With a small pair of scissors I cut an X where each of the holes were drilled in the backside.

     The board was then reinstalled in the frame with staple shapped nails that my husband Justin hammered in gently.  Because the lights were bulkier than my frame was deep (on the back side) Justin, my genius, bought two yardsticks, cut them in half, doubled them up and hot glued them to the back.  This lifts it off the wall enough for all the cords to be hidden out of view.

A Yard Stick to Raise Costume Jewelry Tree off Wall

Each of the lights was hot glued into place so that there wasn’t any wiggling out of their new homes.

Hot Glue Lights Into Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

 

Don’t forget the all important DIMMER!  After all, you don’t want to be blinded by white lights so that you can’t appreciate each piece of jewelry.  This one is a cheapie from Ikea that I just leave connected to the light cord.
A Dimmer for your Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

     Now for the jewels!  Amy and I laid out our grandmother’s jewelery on our fabric a dozen times.  Mixing different colors, sizes, and layouts until we were each happy with our lot.  We had very different trees which helped in the dispersing.  I ended up grabbing a few pieces of jewelry special to me to add to my tree.  Each piece was hot glued on individually and a few beads were mixed in to fill in any gaps.

Here is my grandmother’s from so long ago.  Funky gold frame, forest green velvet, costume jewelry, sea shells, and beads.  Her lights were originally multi-0colored!  They burned out and were replaced with beads.  It now has a place of honor in my mothers contemporary entryway.

Grandma's Vintage Cosutme Jewelry Christmas Tree

Grandma's Vintage Cosume Jewelry Christmas Tree Details

     This is my sister Amy’s.  Classic silver frame, mushroom ultra suede, costume jewelry, beads, vintage shape, mostly pink and aqua.  Amy’s matches her pink house with her husband and 4 daughters.  Sorry the pix are a bit fuzzy.

Amy's Jewelry Christmas Tree Details

Amy's Jewelry Christmas Tree Lit Up

Pink and Aqua Jewelry Christmas Tree Base Option

Here is mine.  Traditional wood and linen frame, deep red mohair, straight lines, jewel toned jewelry from 3 generations.  This is offically my favorite Christmas decoration of all time!

Waiting to be unwrapped!

Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

In all it’s glory in the entryway.  This thing is huge (33″ by 45″) and heavy.  I can barely carry it by myself.

Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

The frame is heavy, dark and had a linen fillet, perfect.  Bright colored jewelry with mostly gold accents made up the field of my tree (I especially love the florescent pink flower!).  The star is a matte gold flower broach.  A light gold chain winding back and forth made the trunk of my tree.

Modern Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

I added a few pieces of jewelry that were of significance to me.  A pin with a photo of me as a little girl, that my grandmother used to wear.  My pin from my horseback ridding show jacket.  And, my earrings from my wedding day.

Special Jewelry pieces for Jewelry Christmas Tree

All Lit Up!

DIY Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree

Pin It

Last year when I hung my version of the Jewelry tree in my entry, I can’t tell you how many people said their mom or grandmother had made one too!  If you aren’t luck enough to have one passed down to your family, make one for yourself!  Start gathering your materials whether it is jewelry, beads, shells, whatever, I promise it will add whimsy and enchantment to your Christmas.

Linked Up: Tatertots & Jello, The Trendy Tree House, House of Hepworths, Funky Junk Interiors, Home Stories A2Z, Savvy Southern Style, Corson Cottage, Nifty Thrifty Things, Thirty Handmade Days, Blue Cricket Design, Thrifty Decor Chick

 

 

 

34 Comments

  • I super love this. Let’s hope I can pull one off before Christmas. I’ll send pics if I do it. Thanks Amanda!

    • Yay! Julie I’d love to see what you do!

  • This is such a fantastic idea that we had to feature it today! It’s simply stunning! http://www.theroosterandthehen.com/cinnamon-stick-christmas-card-holder/

  • This is amazing! Well done!!!

  • That is beautiful! My Grandma had one of those, too. It was a favorite of mine growing up, and now my kids love to look at it at my mom’s house.

  • WOW! I wish I had seen this before I did mine – AMAZING!!!

    • Anna, yours is awesome! I love the variety and that everyone’s trees are unique.

  • FAB-U-LOUS!!!! This is my favorite Christmas decor too! and I haven’t even made it yet! I always see those vintage charms at yard sales and never no what to do with them. Now I will definitely be looking for some! Thank you so much for the inspiration. I’m pinning this.
    Jamie
    http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/

    P.S. More the Merrier Monday end tonight so stop by and link up if you have not already.

  • You’ve been featured over at House of Hepworths!

    Congrats!

  • Hi, I just came across your blog, I love all 3 of the trees! I’d love to make one myself. Sadly I don’t think I can pull it off by this Christmas, but i’m going to get started! Thanks for your great post!

    I know nothing about lights, What size is your tiny strand of lights? And do you know anywhere else I could get a light dimmer?

    • Lilly, the dimmer is called a “tabletop dimmer” and they sell them at Home Depot, Lowes, Target (and I’m sure a bunch of others) for around $15. Ikea has them for $8, that’s why I mentioned them. They are a must for my holiday decorating, especially my Christmas tree! They allow the tree and ornaments to glow instead of blind you from seeing what’s on it. I LOVE dimmers, OK, enough drama :)

      • haha! thank you for the info. I never even thought of using a dimmer for on a Christmas tree! Great idea

  • This is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to collect everything I need to make one for myself. I’d really love for you to share this at my weekly linky party, it opens tonight, I know my readers will fall in love with this project: http://etcetorize.blogspot.com ~

  • Really amazing! Just beautiful!

  • Congrats on the feature at Home Stories A2Z!

  • I recently saw a similar idea in a craft store, but I fell even more in love with yours! Seriously, amazing! I love the clean lines. What a fun way to make a memorable use of “old” jewelry. Nice job :)

  • My mom still hangs up for Christmas every year and my grandma also has one! Hers has a family picture of her and my dad with me when I was about 2 in the middle of it. This is so cool. My mom would LOVE it if I made one for myself! I am going to start collecting so I can have all of the things by December. What a great idea and yours is so beautiful.

    • Shelli,
      I’d love to see a pic of your mom and grandma’s! They are all so unique. I love that there is a pic of you in her’s too.
      Amanda

  • Hi Shelli!

    I love you for this blog entry. I saw this at someone’s house and have thought about wanting to make one ever since, but I didn’t know where to get started! And if it wasn’t for pinterest, I would have never found you. How do you attach the jewels to the frame? Thank you again!

    • Very carefully with a glue gun. Send me a photo if you make one, I’d love to see it!

      • I will definitely share! Thanks again, Amanda! Why did I call you Shelli above???? SORRY! :)

  • I am bugging you again, Amanda! I think I have enough jewels to try to attempt my own (very excited), but some of them need to be broken off. Doesn’t look easy. Do you have any tips?

    • Marian, It depends on the piece, most break pretty well. Just use small jewelry making pliers (you can get a cheap set of 3 at JoAnn). Snippers come in the pack too and you can just cut off the earring back or pin back with those. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!
      Amanda

  • certainly like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the truth however I’ll surely come again again.

  • Hi There,

    Where do you find the short string of christmas lights?

    Thank you.

    • Erin, I’m pretty sure I bought these at Walmart. Just look for the number of lights you want listed on the box. Send me a pic when your done! I’d love to see how yours turns out.
      Amanda

  • My Grandma made one of these and hung it up every Christmas! As a child I LOVED it and after she passed my Grandfather gave it to me since I had such fond childhood memories of it! I hang it every year and my daughters LOVE it! I have never scene another one or directions to make it. Thanks for posting it!!

    • Erin, That is awesome! Isn’t it great to have that piece of your grandmother? I love to look at the jewelry and wonder if and where she wore it. Thanks for sharing.
      Amanda

  • It is great that people are still making these. My extended family is actually having a party to make them shortly before Christmas. My grandmother made a tree for each of her children but now the grandchildren want in on the action. Should be fun! I do not have the supply you were left with so I see many thrift store trips in my near future.

    • Emily, I LOVE that! Send me a pick of yours, I can’t get enough of them. Thrift stores are a great source for the old jewelry and so is etsy.

  • Hi! Been planning on making a tree, I’m wondering about more of your technique in adhering the jewelry to the fabric. I see you used a glue gun, but can imagine it becoming a bit messy if you aren’t careful. Any extra tips for assembly would be helpful!
    Thanks
    Bridget

  • Keep up the amazing work. I really like it. I will definitely visit regularly.

  • […] a little different.  Then I went through my beads, vintage costume jewelry (left over from my Jewelry Tree), and miscellaneous crafting supplies.  I came across a souvenir bag from Limoges, France […]

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