Anna, Studio

One tree a week: Fabric braid Christmas tree

by Anna

Braided fabric christmas tree art
Braided fabric christmas tree art

My two favorite crafting supplies are paint and fabric. That’s why there had to be a fabric Christmas tree for this months one DIY a week. I was inspired by string art, I just did not love the yarn stringing so much. I dreamed of more texture, a lusher string if that makes sense. And as often the idea hit right before going to sleep: I’d make a braid of fabric. Said, done. Well, ok, I sketched it quickly (handy to have a notepad by the bed) and went to sleep.

Fast forward to the next day after work: choosing cotton fabrics. I wanted a traditional look, so green had to be in there. Festive was the second wish which made me choose red. To balance it out a bit of neutral would not hurt. Mine have a white or off-white background with a christmasy motif. Now, over to you!

Supplies for a fabric braided christmas tree
Supplies for a fabric braided christmas tree

You’ll need
a wood plank (mine measures 11.5 by 15.5 inches / 30x40cm)
red wine vinegar, oil, a brush, newspaper
16 nails, hammer
three different cotton fabrics or more (I used one green, two reds, one brown/gold, three different neutrals)
ruler, pencil, fabric scissors, tape
tiny ornaments

How to
I bought my wood plank at the home improvement store and used it as a serving tray before. For this DIY I stained it with red wine vinegar and let it rest for a night. The stripe effect was achieved by placing the stained side on newspaper. Next day give the plank a coat of (olive) oil. I do this to my raw wood kitchen counter tops every month not often enough so I knew it would darken the wood for a vintage-y look of the plank. Let dry about 24 hours.

Make a tree outline and mark the tips
Make a tree outline and mark the tips

Draw a Christmas tree on the wood plank. Mark the tip of the tree and those of the branches. The stem can be sort of a square or more rectangular. Hammer the nails in the plank on the tip points that you marked. About half an inch (1cm) of a nail should still show. Now measure the outline of the tree. Mine was roughly 140 cm / 55 inches.
My choice of fabric (only used one green though)
My choice of fabric (only used one green though)

Cut stripes of fabric that are almost an inch (2cm) wide. I used two different kinds of red that I cut strands of different lengths of. I tied the strands together with tiny knots. Those knots serve as decoration later on so you want to make them visible. The length of each single fabric strand can vary and be rather short (my shorter pieces were 12 inch pieces and I teamed them with longer ones). What matters is the overall length after tying them together! Braiding makes the length decrease by roughly 1/3. So I started out with fabric strands of up to one meter. No worries though: If you realize that the braid is too short while braiding you can always tie in another strand. Don’t ask me how I know…
Tied fabric strands
Tied fabric strands

Make a green strand of the needed length, a neutral one and I made a red/brown/red strand so I would have a different color for the stem in there as well. Place the fabrics on top of each other with the neutral in the middle, face side up. Knot those strands together and secure them on a table top with tape. Braid. It’s a mess at first because the cotton is not smooth (plus all that length) and then it gets easier and more fun. Pay attention to have the knots of the fabric strands show while braiding. Tie the braid with a knot once more.
Make the knots show in the braid
Make the knots show in the braid

Time to start putting the tree together. Starting at the “stem” wrap the braid around the nails in a way that it will stay. (All the way at the bottom it should be on the outside of the nails then inside the outlined tree, then out again at the tips, it comes naturally)
Finishing touches
Finishing touches

With my stem fabric bit being somewhat off of the middle of the fabric strand I ended up with the end of the fabric by the right side of the tree’s top. There I opened the knots of either end of the braid and tied them together. Tada, a braided Christmas tree shape!
Braided fabric christmas tree
Braided fabric christmas tree

If you are feeling ornaments go for it! I used those teeny tiny ones. How about adding nails to add more ornaments inside the tree? I would love to see photos if you make one yourself! ~Anna~

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