Do you have a favourite tree that you like to visit again and again? Tree Dressing Day in early December celebrates the importance of trees in our lives. We love the idea of dressing special trees, but we believe in taking a natural, wild approach, inspired by the beauty of the natural materials we can find all around us. No need for hunting out things at home or going to the shops – just go outside and discover the wonderful treasures just lying on the ground waiting to be picked up and made into wild decorations.
Go out for a walk in the woods or the park and collect loose natural materials; begin collecting as soon as you can and store them in a cool, dry place until December. Suitable items include: leafless winter twigs; teasels; poppy seedheads; tree seeds, such as acorns, beech mast or sycamore seeds; fir and pine cones; crab apples; rose hips; cotoneaster, holly and hawthorn berries; greenery from ivy, holly and other evergreen trees; mistletoe; feathers.
The challenge is to make natural decorations by fixing your finds together with wire, string, raffia, ribbons and glue. We hope these pictures might provide some ideas and inspiration for a natural approach to decorating trees for Tree Dressing Day.
Re-leafing the trees
Collect autumn leaves and dry them. On tree dressing day, re-leaf the trees in leaves again, hanging your natural leaf collection among the branches. You could even write tree messages and stories on each leaf.
Thread a long piece of wool onto a large needle, such as a sail needle. Sew the wool through the coloured leaves in a running stitch. For added contrast, sew different coloured leaves on top of each other.
Tread stalks together, rather like in a daisy chain. Place a leaf with a long stalk on a hard surface such as a chopping board. Roll the stalk as flat as you can with a rolling pin or perhaps a pencil or a biro. Make a split near the end of a flattened stalk using the pointed end of a biro or a cocktail stick. Repeat with more long-stalked leaves. Thread the leaves together in a long chain by pushing the stalks through the splits. Alternatively thread them on a piece of wool using a darning needle
When the world sparkles with cold, try out this ice bunting, or make it in the deep freeze if the temperatures are not low enough. How do the icy shapes change as the weather freezes and thaws
- Find a few cookie cutters and some shallow plastic boxes or metal baking trays.
- Go outside and pour water into each container to a depth of about 1cm/0.5inch. Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish. Place cookie cutters in some of the baking trays. Arrange a few natural treasures in each shape.
- Cut some lengths of thin wire, twisting one end of each length. Place a wire in each shape, with the twisted end in the water and the other end hanging over the edge.
- Leave to freeze overnight, and then use some warm water to remove the ice from the containers. Tie a line of string around a tree and then hang the ice bunting along the string.
Balloon ice baubles
These beautiful ice baubles would be a great way to attract attention to your favourite tree!
- Curl one end of a length of fine wire into a small spiral and then feed the spiral end down inside an un-inflated balloon. The other end of wire should be sticking out of the neck of the balloon.
- Place the balloon over the spout of a tap and fill with water. For coloured baubles, add a couple of drops of food colouring.
- Remove the balloon from the tap and either clip a peg over the open end of the balloon, or tie the end with thread.
- Hang outside on to freeze. Carefully cut off the balloon to reveal an ice bauble hanging from the thin wire.
Safety Tips (for the tree) – Take care not to damage the tree in any way. Don’t use nails or anything that might interfere with its growth. You may need to get permission to dress a tree.
For more ideas, please see our series of Going Wild books – and please send us photos of your wild decorations!
1 year to go!
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