When we started our Christmas decorating plan for this year, we knew we wanted to go with a Winter Wonderland Glam theme. We come across and feature so many amazing bloggers with their original ideas for Christmas and holiday projects, but we were looking for something this year that would elevate the modern look of our new home, but still maintain the Christmasy feel that is so important to us. We came across this project from Chris at ‘Curbly‘, and decided it was just what we were looking for. We took it a hair further and tweaked a few things, but they turned out amazing, and just the right touch of glam with a smidgen of minimal. Here is our easy step by step tutorial for our modern Christmas cone trees!
- Paper Mache Cones (We used 24 inch, 13 inch and 11 inch)
- White Flat Spray Paint
- Drill and several sizes drill bits
- Sandpaper, fine
- Lights (Optional, but ok let’s face it, waaayyyyy necessary!) It’s Christmas!)
One of the first things we decided with this project was that in order to make a huge glam statement, more is more. We chose to make these the focal point of our main living area built ins, and that meant creating a forest of different sized cone trees! We also felt “go big, or go home” so we included several 2 foot tall cone trees from ‘Consumer Crafts‘. One thing we noticed about the cones from this company is that they do have seams, some more than one. However, we couldn’t find the largest size anywhere else, and that was important to our vision.
We started out choosing 3 different sized bits and drilled holes in the cones randomly, putting more towards the bottom, and fewer at the top. Try to make the holes quick and smooth and straight in, you get less ragged holes that way. You are drilling into what is essentially paper, so be prepared, it’s not going to look perfect right away. If you are hesitant and try to drill slowly, it will tear up the hole. Also, sharp bits work best!
Now the fun part. JK. Using fine sandpaper, sand down the entire outside of the cones, paying special attention to the holes. We used a dremel grinding tool to “clean out” the larger holes, and then a small bit or bamboo skewer to poke through the tiny holes to the inside. It’s a trial and error thing with the sanding, sand just enough to get the holes looking neat. We opted not to sand the inside, it just pushed torn cone back into the holes we just cleared! We had a theory that if we could just get the holes open and looking good (even if it was ragged looking inside) that once we sprayed the paint, it would all be held into place with the paint as “binding”. (We were right!) This does take awhile if you’re doing a lot like we did, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Really!
Spray paint the cones in light coats. We chose to use a flat paint like the original project, because Chris pointed out it made it look like high end ceramic. (It does.) But another good reason to use flat over gloss, it does a better job at hiding the flaws in the paper mache. You could also spray on a light glitter coat on last if you wanted a little glitz. Remember folks, light coats! Dripping paint here would ruin the high end look!
So now all you have to do is light them! We chose to use strings of firefly lights on copper wire, but you could use LED candles or even tap lights! If you use string lights, we found it helped to tape the lights into the top inside of the cone to keep the whole cone lit. This should go without saying, but do not, repeat, do not try to put real flame candles or other heat producing lights inside these cones. They are paper. Got the picture?
That’s it! Easy, fun, and they look AMAZING! (Ok, I had fun… I think Steve might have been cursing the day we became DIY bloggers by the time we got to cone tree #10…) Merry Christmas!