Christmas Tree Centerpiece (a la J. Crew)

So, I doubt you'll remember, but my friend and I were in charge of decorating for a large Christmas dinner. (Original inspiration board here, although we veered from that.)
Our budget was verrrrry small. It's not easy to decorate a gym (at all, let alone) on a very small budget. So, inspired by J. Crew's crew cuts catalogue, we went total handmade-vintagey. We're talking cardboard trees and tissue poms and glitter here, friends.
And I couldn't love the results more.

Here's what we did:
Start by collecting some cardboard. We found ours outside a Sears store near the dumpster. (First we double-checked with the guys inside that it was okay if we stole it. They quickly gave us the thumbs-up.)
We determined tree sizes (super narrow and tall but not so tall that you couldn't see the people across the table at dinner). I think we went with 20", 16", and 12" heights, and maybe 6", 5", and 4" base widths. Ish. Scored and then cut the triangles in this cut-effective way, where one cut worked toward two triangles:

(Because, really, raise your hand if you could live a long happy life without ever cutting out cardboard. Mine's raised, for sure. And I'm even typing, so that's not easy...)
You'll end up with lots of pieces like this:

Take half of the triangles and cut cardboard-width slits into the top half. Take the other half of the triangles and make slits into the bottom half (shown below):

(The slits will be where the two triangles slide into each other to create a free-standing 3D tree.)
Lay out all triangles to prepare for spray painting.

Spray onto 2-3 trees at a time (I used Krylon gold metallic), then quickly drizzle gold glitter onto the wet paint so it sticks.

Let them dry, then flip them over and repeat on the other side.
Some of the glitter will fall off (as we all know glitter is wont to do), but most of it should stick if you're careful in handling them and if you got the glitter onto the paint while it was still wet.
Assemble the trees. Looking kinda cute in their little forest-y setup.

Cut about an inch off the tops of the trees so they're flat. Use hot glue to attach little pom-pom tissue paper balls as "stars." (Check pinterest or google on how to make these.)

We did three per table, one of each size. Love love love them. The photos don't do their cuteness justice. We used real pine boughs and fake candles (votives) for ambiance, and I love how the light flickers off the glitter.
Here's a "daylight" shot. Not as magical, I know.

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  1. Love them! They look good in the daylight too!

    P.S. I remember! ;)

    1. Of course you remember, Crystal. Because you are awesomeness incarnate.
      K, not to brag and be all lame, but SERiously, the trees looked super cute in the daylight or by tealight. My poor photog skillz failed to catch the magic. But fo' shiz. Love them.

  2. that looks amazing! great job!

    1. Thank you...I promise they're cuter in real life. :)

  3. wow, that is a lot of cutting, but it turned out great!!! :)

    1. You ain't kidding! Yes, lots of cutting. Fortunately, the razor blades did the trick most of the time.

  4. Love, love, love them too! These trees are so gorgeous! Amazing job on a budget :)

    1. Thank you, Karen! Funny how teensy budgets bring out the creativity, isn't it?


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