My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Half and Half Copper and Twig Christmas tree

Draw a half Christmas tree shape to transfer on to a copper plate

Trace a half Christmas tree shape on to a copper plate with a sharp object like a nail.

Try not to rest your hand on the copper

Simply lightly scratch out the outline of the shape.

Cut out the Christmas tree shape

Cut out the Christmas tree shape.

Press the inside edge of the tree flat

Press the inside edge (where you add the opposite half) of the tree so that it lies flat on the surface.

Design note: I rather loved the outside edge to not be flat, to curve slightly so I left that as is.

The Christmas tree shape is too big to fit into a bowl or jar.

The Christmas tree shape is too big to fit into a bowl or jar to allow the chemicals to develop so I will apply the mixture directly onto the surface.

I plan to add most of the patina to the outer edge of the tree

For a bit of extra Christmas detail I added sticker stars to the edge of the design to protect the copper from the chemicals. Make sure to smooth the stars down. The effect is subtle if you use paper stars (like I did) I will show you in another design how to completely block out the chemicals to create patterns. But for this design I just wanted to hint at stars.

Design note: The more you smooth the stars flat the more of the chemicals will be blocked out. So work lightly if you just want a hint... or smooth some flat and some just lightly place, even over the edge in some places for a more natural look.

Mix the chemicals to patina the tree (see the Tutorial below)

Pour the mixture to run onto the shape

The next step depends on the object you want to treat. If it is a large object such as a lantern or sculpture place the chemicals in a spray bottle and spray it onto the surface in a well ventilated area. Or if it is really large, like a door or fence you can paint it on. Or if it can be placed flat, like my tree pour the chemicals to puddle in the areas you wish to treat.

And guide it with a wooden skewer in the direction you want treated

And guide it with a wooden skewer in the direction you want treated.

Close the copper with plastic

Close the copper with plastic

Seal the edges with painters tape to make sure it is tightly wrapped.

Design note: seal the edges with painters tape to make sure it is tightly wrapped.

Let the chemicals develop overnight

Let the chemicals develop overnight.

Build up the matching twig half of the tree on the plastic

Meanwhile start to build up the matching twig half of the tree on the plastic that covers the copper.

Glue in side branches with hot glue

Glue in side branches with hot glue.

Design note: To build up a strong but delicate structure make sure each twig you add is secured at, at least three other places. This way it still looks as if it is barely there delicate but it can even support the weight of the water tubes we will add...

Also make sure to glue the twigs to the other twigs and not to the plastic

Also make sure to glue the twigs to the other twigs and not to the plastic.

Mirror the shape of the copper tree half so that they match

Mirror the shape of the copper tree half so that they match.

Remove the glued twig half of the Christmas tree from the plastic

Carefully remove the glued twig half of the Christmas tree from the plastic.

Lift the plastic from the copper

Lift the plastic from the copper.

To reveal the beautiful blue green patina

To reveal the beautiful blue green patina.

Design note: If you want you can leave the paper stars on the copper and just continue the design. In time the salt will disappear leaving a vintage look on the silver stars as the paper cracks.

For my design I used a tweezer to lift away the star

For my design I used a tweezer to lift away the star...

Leaving just the suggestion of a star on the copper surface

Leaving just the suggestion of a star on the copper surface.

pretty, right?

For a third option you can also score the outline of the star.

For a third option you can also score the outline of the star so that it is more visible than the shape alone but not so visible that it still shines.

Sprinkle on some artificial snow to cover the twigs

Sprinkle on some artificial snow to cover the twigs.

See the Tutorial below for detailed instructions on how to add artificial snow to twigs.

Add a twig to the back of the twig tree half so that it stands upright on a display surface

Add a twig to the back of the twig tree half so that it stands upright on a display surface.

Connect the two twigs so that the twig Christmas tree is extra secure

Connect the two twigs so that the twig Christmas tree is extra secure. The copper half is rather heavy so make sure the twigs are able to carry some weight.

Match the two halves of the Christmas tree on a display surface

Match the two halves of the Christmas tree on a display surface.

It stands up perfectly with just the twig support but if you want to decorate the tree it might need more support at the back.

Add a support to the back of the copper half of the tree if it needs more support

Option one is to add a cardboard support to the back of the copper half of the tree if it needs more support

I like this option because it is fairly easy to make, will not scratch or damage the display surface and can be removed without damaging the tree. But you can also add in a twig support to match the other side or a copper support similar to the cardboard.

Glue in a few water tubes to keep the flowers hydrated

Glue in a few water tubes to keep the flowers hydrated.

See the Tutorial below for detailed instructions on how to make your own water tubes.

Fill the tube with water

Fill the tube with water.

Because my designs are so delicate I like having a bit more control on how to fill the tubes with water so that I can reach deep into a structure and maneuver the pipe to pour the water just there... See the Tutorial below for detailed instructions on how I make my own pipette. And book readers turn to page 184 for a fun 2 litre version of this for when you need to fill quite a few water tubes. And I tell you how I came up with this idea.

For more information about my book: The Effortless Floral Craftsman

Place the Christmas Roses to nestle in the snow covered twigs

Place the Christmas Roses to nestle in the snow covered twigs.

Oh and then... my favourite: Rosary vine. The vines are perfect for positioning delicate tips to look like they are draped over the copper. The delicate succulent heart shaped leaves can cling in ways that opens up so many creative options.

Simply introduce the vine to the copper and it will hook in place.

Simply introduce the vine to the copper and it will hook in place.

Which is brilliant to design with. But once the vines get tangled it can take hours to untangle. I have a fun tip for you on how I untangle these vines. I discovered this trick trying to untangle vines on a competition floor. I was amazed how quickly it works. It is all in this week's notification email. The signup is below this post.

Hook the vines to drape over the copper part of the Christmas tree and rest on the branches

Hook the vines to drape over the copper part of the Christmas tree and rest on the branches.

Add Christmas stars to the twigs to mirror the copper stars

Add Christmas stars to the twigs to mirror the copper stars.

Design note: If you find something that is supposed to be sticky is not as sticky as it was supposed to be double up. Place a star (or crystal or whatever) on the front and on the back of the twig to sandwich it. The accessory will no longer drop and stay perfectly in place.

A trick to match the stars

Design tip: If you struggle to match the stars around the twigs sandwich them both at one end...

Before placing the other ends over the twig to secure.

... before placing the other ends over the twig to secure.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.

Tutorials

24 November 2021 Patina Copper

The colour and the effect will vary due to application, temperature and humidity.

4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.

24 July 2012 Blow away hot glue strands

When you glue a structure with hot glue there are always a few stray strands of glue stuck all over the design. Blow it away with a hairdryer.

6 December 2017 Barely there twig tabletop Christmas tree

Glue curved twig snippets to craft a delicate winter white Christmas tree

16 December 2015 Ivy vine Christmas tree mobile

Twist ivy vines around a cardboard shape to create a lace fine Christmas tree mobile.

6 December 2017 Fluffy pillow filler tree skirt

The fluffy stuffing found in pillows create beautiful, water repellent tree skirts.

13 December 2017 Long lasting bark and Kalanchoe sleigh

Kalanchoe flowers last weeks without a water source and is the perfect way to dress up a bark and silver bell sleigh

19 December 2018 Sparkling Eucalyptus Tabletop Christmas tree

Craft an ethereal Christmas tree from Eucalyptus leaves, twigs and sparkling snow flake crystals.

23 December 2020 Weave a grass Christmas tree

Easy armature design that is actually quite relaxing to do... plant meditation!

28 December 2016 Adding snow to twigs

Glue artificial snow to twigs

16 December 2020 Cardboard base for a roasting-by-an-open-fire fishbowl vase snow globe

… ideal for fresh floral displays because it has a hidden water source that can be refilled and the candle can be switched on and off without disturbing the design.

11 December 2019 Twig and twinkle Christmas Tree

A light as snow twig and Christmas light armature

11 December 2019 Swirly Twirly Silver Dollar Eucalyptus baubles

Inspired by seedpods... Glue Silver Dollar Eucalyptus leaves into 3 dimensional Christmas decorations.

9 December 2020 A Twig and personal inner Gyp flurry melted snowman

Remember how Olaf from Frozen remained cool? With a personal flurry, of course! Two fishbowls, stacked and you are very nearly done.

15 December 2011 Spiral wire support pressed into a candle

The wire spirals are supported on wire sections pressed into the wax

27 November 2012 Winter Woodland Chandelier

Wrap vines and twigs around a wire frame to create a decorative woodland chandelier

Favourite Flowers

Ceropegia woodii

Rosary vine, Chain of Hearts, Collar of hearts and String of hearts

Related Designs

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This is the fourth of my Christmas 2021 series of designs. This year in the form of a mini workshop… my Christmas present to you. Paint copper to add a beautiful patina to a...

24 November 2021 It’s the most… it’s the most... Glowing-est Patina Christmas of all!

This is the first of my Christmas 2021 series of designs. This year in the form of a mini workshop… my Christmas present to you. We will explore how to patina Copper and use it to...

1 December 2021 It’s the most… it’s the most... Hap-Hapiest Patina Christmas of all!

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8 December 2021 It’s the most… it’s the most... Jingle Patina Christmas of all!

This is the third of my Christmas 2021 series of designs. This year in the form of a mini workshop… my Christmas present to you. Craft the easiest copper bells to hang in a...

6 December 2017 While I sing of beauty's treasure

Glue the most delicate twig table top Christmas tree

16 December 2015 Christmas Waves

Twist a Kalanchoe and Ivy vine Christmas tree mobile

4 December 2019 A Very Merry eucalyptus-collar-candle Christmas!

An easy and naturally fragrant winter white candle decoration to bring nature into your house this Christmas.

13 December 2017 Just hear those sleigh bells jingling

Craft a bark sleigh that will last for weeks.

19 December 2018 Oh Florist-tree

Craft an Eucalyptus Christmas tree

23 December 2020 Have yourself a Merry Cellulose Fibre Christmas: wired snowball pom pom for a woven grass Christmas tree

...ok not really that fancy- it’s made from paper pulp. Some cardboard to wrap the string around… really. In the spirit of 2020- I am inspired by the endless stream of cardboard...

16 December 2020 Have yourself a Merry Cellulose Fibre Christmas: Snow Globe

...ok not really that fancy- it’s paper pulp. Cardboard boxes, really. In the spirit of 2020- I am inspired by the endless stream of cardboard boxes being delivered. This week...

11 December 2019 A Very Merry eucalyptus bauble Christmas!

For this year's Christmas tree I wired and glued a wild and wintry twig armature... but... these little eucalyptus baubles are just the cutest!

9 December 2020 Have yourself a Merry Cellulose Fibre Christmas: Gyp flurry Snowman

...ok not really that fancy- it’s paper pulp. Cardboard boxes, really. In the spirit of 2020- I am inspired by the endless stream of cardboard boxes being delivered. My list of...

15 December 2011 Rocking around Three Candle Trees

Wire spirals twisted around candles to make small Christmas trees for the Christmas Eve dinner table

27 November 2012 The glories of Christmases long, long ago…

Weave a wire and twig Christmas chandelier