Mini-tree Toppings

December 06, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

It hadn’t occured to me when I brought home my mini-tree that I didn’t have an official tree topper. As in, I’ve never had one. I do recall that a tree that I decorated in 2006 featured a J.Crew tissue paper bow (I was working there part-time that holiday season). It was cute, modest, and polka dotted. I wish I could find the picture I had of it. I don’t remember what we did in 2007 or 2008 for a tree topper. Truthfully, my then-roomie and I might have just decorated the tree with lights and called it a day.

But the new mini, fully adorned with fun ornaments, white lights, and tin foil garland really needed a topper. Unlike some trees I’ve had in the past, it had the perfect totally-upright spike just asking to be shoved up an angel dress.

Mini-tree happies.

The inspiration for the tree topper was a piece of holiday decor that I snapped a picture of last January when I was visiting a Cleveland advertising agency for something related to my then full-time gig.

Inspiration trapped on my phone since January 2011.

Doing a little interpretative dance, I thought it would be something I could easily make for my own home (I have no idea where they sourced it originally). I got really excited when last month, my friend Robbie (the one with this fun beach house) was clearing out her garage and offered me and Pete a carload of scrap wood from their many home improvement projects. No official picture of the car filled to the brim, but know that we came back with some great plywood, 2×6 + 2×4 boards, leftover pieces of trim, an old mirror (because I’m a mirror addict), and a few real wood floorboards.

Decidedly, those floorboards would be the perfect for a little holiday star project, and using just two of the boards would provide just enough wood to create a modest tree topping piece.

Unfinished floorboard scraps. Soon to be home decor.

I cut the boards into five 12″ pieces using the chop saw. After lightly sanding them by hand, I loosely assembled the pieces to form a star.

Star-boards. Five floorboards cut to 12" in length.

The boards are great quality. Thick, not flimsy. Wide and sturdy. And where I thought I’d have to use the nail gun or short staples to hold the star securely, wood glue and clamps did just fine.

Clamping the star together. Gorilla Wood Glue did the job.

Side note: Here’s Cody, my official helper, never taking things too seriously:

Cody, helping with the clamping, howling.

What I actually like best about the entire piece: the star ended up being very dimensional because boards don’t have any flex to them, so each board is only connected to a single glued point on another board. No star is glued in more than one place. From this angle it sort of looks like randomly layered pieces of wood instead of a star.

Dimensional boards, only touching where glued.

I created a little loop on the back to simply (and subtly) hold the star in place against the top of the tree using a piece of wax string and two tiny screws from my scrap drawer that weren’t long enough to penetrate the board fully (nothing complicated about this):

Used some tiny screws from my scrap drawer to loop a string on the back of the star.

Securing the tree topper to the tree top. Voila.

Perfectly scaled for my mini-tree (and bringing in some rustic/homey feel), it’s a pretty addition.

Finished tree topper.

I did leave the wood completely unfinished. I love the natural texture, especially how it plays up the wooden barrel base.

And a star makes it complete. Surely others have been whipping up their own tree toppers. I’d love to see some of your favorites!

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