Tuesday, November 3, 2015

'Chris Missy' Christmas Holiday Tree Tutorial

As part of Panoply's holiday booths 2015 decor, my sister and I created 'Chris Missy' - a unique Christmas holiday tree, fashioned from various components, both vintage and new. This post is a tutorial on how the tree was created, a step-by-step instructional guide, designed for those of you interested in assembling one of your own.
As I stated in my last post, the concept of this tree is not new, as there are many of these type trees styled by others, whether you check Pinterest, read blogs, or visit major retailers such as Anthropologie. I'm sharing how we created ours so you can see just how basic (or elaborate) you can develop the concept.

The primary components for 'Chris Missy' include: 1) an artificial tree section and base (we used the middle section of an individually strung, pre-lit 7' slender tree, along with the original metal base stand it came with); 2) an upper body (torso) mannequin; 3) a slim pipe (to attach the mannequin to the tree base); and 4) 10 packages (15 count each) of Dollar Tree ornament bulbs for trim. We also used wired ribbon (Sam's Club has great choices), and vintage clothing.
Components for 'Chris Missy'
Once we gathered our supplies, we found a pipe to fit the base of the tree, but needed to cut it to size (approximately 2'). With the right tools, any job can be easy. We used a plumber's pipe cutter, and the job was like slicing butter - so easy. We tamped down the pipe into the tree base with a mallet to secure it, and then inserted the mannequin torso over the pipe (the mannequin had a pre-drilled hole in the center of its base).
Initial Assembly Steps of 'Chris Missy'
We then dressed the mannequin, first slipping a 1970s glitter tube top over it. The peplum was from a stored ballet costume, and its elastic waist fit easily over the waist of the mannequin, creating a nice transition into the tree base.

We quickly moved onto creating a "necklace" from the gold-hued bulbs. There are no photos for this part of the tutorial, but we simply used a long strand (about 2.5') of waxed dental floss. The strength of floss as thread was a trick learned long ago, when sewing ribbons on pointe shoes in my ballet days. We began stringing one bulb on at a time, centering it on the floss strand, and then tied the floss (once) after each bulb was added. We did this with just the first eight or so bulbs, to get a center cluster. After the initial eight or so bulbs were strung, we continued adding bulbs from each side of the strand, until it appeared full on the neckline (nearly 3 dozen bulbs). We did not string the bulbs completely around the neckline; instead, we left the floss unadorned from shoulder to shoulder. Holding the "necklace" around the mannequin neck, we tied it once we were satisfied with the appearance of the drape.
Initial Dressing of 'Chris Missy'
The ballet costume from which we took the peplum also had pouf sleeves, so we added those to the tube top with a tack stitch on both front and back for each sleeve.
Additional Vintage Clothing Flourishes for 'Chris Missy'
We next focused on the tree base, and decided we would alternate the wired ribbon trim around the "skirt". We simply tied each strand at the top of the tree's base (under the peplum), and then loosely twisted each strand for a ribbon candy effect, and cut each strand.
Decorating 'Chris Missy'
Pleased with the concept realized, we decided to finish the trimming once we took the tree into the antique mall, where we rent space and sell our vintage and antique items. If you notice the clock in the sequence of photos here, the entire process (excluding gathering the supplies) to assemble the concept took approximately two hours. The possibilities are endless in terms of how much time and money one could spend on decoration and design. We intentionally went for simple elegance.

Transporting 'Chris Missy' to the antique mall was easy, as the tree broke down easily. I couldn't resist the torso selfie in the car before the ride to the antique mall. ;)
Transporting 'Chris Missy'
Once transported to the antique mall, we assembled the main components swiftly, and then spent an additional hour or so stringing the ribbons and hanging the remainder of the bulbs.
'Chris Missy' Styled in Panoply Booth, Christmas 2015
The photos above and below show the Christmas tree on display in our antique booth space, standing nearly 5' tall. The small, concrete urn on the floor (center of the faux fireplace) has about 1 dozen or so of the remaining bulbs that we did not string.
Overview of Panoply Christmas 2015, 'Farmhouse' Booth Space
Feel free to pin the image from this original post so you can refer back to the ideas and tutorial on how we created our 'Chris Missy' Christmas holiday tree. Again, the sky's the limit as to how you may want to create and embellish your own 'Chris Missy'.
As always, your visits, comments and loyal readership are welcome, and much appreciated!
Rita C. at Panoply
A special thanks to the following for featuring this post:  Kathryn at The Dedicated House's 'Make It Pretty Monday #157', Diana at Adirondack Girl's 'Vintage Charm #5', and Jillian at Bella Rosa Antiques' 'Let's Talk Vintage #57'!

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