I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season so far! My favorite part of the holidays is all the traditions I get to share with my children. I feel like Christmas has gotten so much more fun since we've had children. We spend the day after Thanksgiving listening to Christmas music and decorating. They have new advent calendars their Grandma made for them. (Our 2 year old son has the figured out...he points to it the first second he's awake!) We give a Christmas Eve gift of PJ's, popcorn and hot chocolate. Finally, they get an ornament every year from their Uncle (my brother).
When I was growing up, my aunt would send my brother and me a ornament every year. It was a metal one that had our names and the year engraved on it. We got them into our 20's. My aunt is no longer with us, but her memory lives on especially when we unpack our ornaments each year.
I had been avoiding putting my ornaments on the tree for the past couple of years. I didn't want one of my kids to take off with one and find it years later..or worse miss it forever when it ended up in the trash. Last year I decided that I needed to figure out some sort of solution to keep the ornaments out (after all, my aunt didn't buy them to sit in a box!) but keep them in one place. I decided I needed to make an ornament tree just for these special ornaments.
I spent a good chunk of the year coming back to what I would like to do. I have a collection of vintage yard sticks I have been hording for a couple of years. I always wanted to do some sort of cool display of them, but I didn't know what. Finally this year, I went to put some presents in my craft closet (that's the secret Santa stash place!) and saw the sticks sitting there.
This project is very simple and only takes an evening to complete. Don't think just ornaments though! You could easily swap out the eye hooks for clips and display Christmas cards!
Vintage Yard Stick Ornament (or Card) Tree
4-5 Vintage Yard Sticks (Look at garage sales and antique shops)
Screws long enough to go through 2 yard sticks.
Wood Glue (optional)
Eye Hooks & Wire (or clips for Christmas Cards)
Saw (I used a jigsaw, but a hand saw or other cutting device would work)
1. Lay Out Design & Mark
You will want to lay out your yard sticks to determine how many "branches" you want and how you'd like them staggered. The great part of working with yardsticks is that it's VERY easy to measure everything out. I decided on how many branches I wanted (4) based on how many ornaments I had to display. Once I decided how many, I lined up the sticks on one side to see how I wanted them staggered. Then I simply used the measurements on the sticks to decide where I needed to cut on the opposite side. So, the top I had centered at the 6 inch mark, next was 9 and the next was 12. On the top, I just had to measure six inches over from center to know where to make my first cut.
Something I messed up and wished I had fixed is the yard stick in the middle (the "trunk" if you will) was upside down. I should have placed the pre-drilled hole in the yard stick at the top. Most yard sticks will have this hole since they are generally stored by hanging them. Put the hole at the top and you'll have the perfect place to attach the yard stick to the wall!
Pretty simple. Cut where you have marked. My bottom one didn't need a cut, so I only had to make 3 cuts. You may want to make different cut decisions if you want to incorporate a name or cool saying on the stick. I, for example, wanted to make sure the slogan on the top stick ("Where the Studs Are") was included so I cut the stick in two places to make sure I got the entire quote in.
Since vintage yard sticks probably are worn and rounded on the finished edge, take some sand paper and gently round the edge you just cut.
My screws were a bit on the shallow end (that's what you get when you don't measure and just hope you're buying the right size!), I also added some wood glue before screwing everything together.
5. Attach Eye Hooks or Clips
Now you just need to screw in your eye hooks or nail on your clips. Once again, it's pretty easy to center since you have the markings on the rulers as a guide. Screwing in the eye hooks sucks, but it doesn't last that long.
6. Attach Ornaments!
I grabbed some floral wire to attach my ornaments to the eye hooks. Now my ornaments are on display and not going anywhere!