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How to make Evergreen tree ornaments using household tools

I love the durability of leather ornaments – they could be passed down for generations.

These trees are designed to be made with household tools, if you don’t have stamping tools – you will need a wide chisel, a standard screw driver, and  small phillips screwdriver.

They can be hung on a tree or hung on a “pennant banner” perhaps with other seasonal ornaments such as small clusters of pine branch tips tied with a bow, pine cones, stars made from twigs secured at the ends with thin wire, or leather or paper birds as described in the previous post. If you want the trees to be dyed green- use Rit Kelly Green! Apply with a small piece of t-shirt in a circular motion- with rubber gloves on, of course. I used brown acrylic paint for the trunk, and silver acrylic paint for the star.

I used vegetable-tanned leather, as “veg” leather has some stiffness and can be easily dyed – although other types of leather could be used.  I use “belly” leather from Wickett and Craig – it comes in a long strip, cut off from the “more desirable” leather, but perfect for making these ornaments. Also, the tree will need a string.

I cemented two pieces of veg leather together using white glue to give it the “body” it needs.  If you have thicker veg, you might not need to line it.

Directions

  1. Use the tree in the photo as a pattern, then use it to cut out your leather. You can use scissors to cut the leather, but a chisel will guarantee you straight cuts. Place a piece of wood or a plastic cutting board under the leather, and hit the chisel with a hammer or rubber mallet.
  2. Decorate the tree by making “garlands” by hitting the screwdrivers with a hammer, in any pattern you like. Practice on a scrap first, as you don’t want to hit the screwdriver very hard or you will cut through the leather. I alternated straight lines made by the standard screwdriver with the “stars” made by the phillips screwdriver. I then randomly placed more stars on the tree.
  3. After the tree is decorated, it can be left in its natural state, or it can be dyed as described above. I tried to avoid filling in the designs so they would remain natural.
  4. To make the star, cut out a single layer of leather. Paint or dye it if you like. Punch two holes in it for the string to pass through.

The ornament is now ready to hang..

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