Editorial, photos and video by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly
When decorating for the holidays, using elements from nature gives our homes something special: a beautiful earthiness of color, aroma and texture. And when they star in a handmade piece, well, now you’re talking about something magical!
Today’s festive how-to is a step-by-step guide in weaving willow branches into a mini Christmas tree centerpiece. With an added touch of twinkle and DIY craftiness, you’ve got yourself an instant show-stopper! This beautiful craft project uses no glue or power tools and can be made in just a couple of hours. A perfect seasonal decoration to display all winter long on tables, mantels, shelves or sideboards.
- straight willow branches – (at least 20” long)
- tape measure
- pruning shears
- 5” embroidery hoop (optional: 4” and 3 ½” embroidery hoops for set of three trees)
- cardboard (for template)
- hole punch
- yarn – 1 skein each of green shades
- LED fairy lights
1. Cut willow sticks into seven (7) 18” long pieces. If you’d like to create a set of three trees, you can cut an additional seven (7) 15” long pieces and seven (7) 12” long pieces.
2.Make weaving template. (a.) Trace around the outside of your embroidery hoop onto cardboard. (b.) Cut outside your traced circle approximately ½”. (c.) Hole punch seven (7) holes equidistance around traced circle. (d.) If needed, use your scissors (closed) and enlarge any hole to allow your willow pieces to fit through.
3.Gather sticks together, then secure top with yarn.
4.Open opposite ends and place each piece into the hole of your weaving template.
5.Secure willow branches to embroidery hoop. Separate the two embroidery hoops, then slide in one between the branches. Position it horizontally, then secure branches to hoop with yarn by tying off one end, then cross-weaving each branch. Tie off end.
6.Start 1 ½” – 2” from the top of your willow sticks and start weaving to approximately 2” from the bottom. Cut off 1 to 1 ½ yards of yarn at a time. Knot one end to one branch then start weaving in and out between each willow branch downwards leaving no space between. When you come to the end of each piece of yarn, attach new piece – be sure to tighten knot, then trim off end pieces. Continue weaving until you reach 2” from the bottom.
7. Secure fairy light switch inside tree with yarn, then wind lights around tree.
8. Optional: add a wooden star to the top and/or tiny ornaments. Have fun!
*Get creative! Weave different shades of green into your tree and/or weave two branches at a time. It’ll add depth and interest!*