Posted Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012
For generations, Christmas tree toppers were pointy little nondenominational finials or religious-themed stars and angels.
(Raise your hand if you, too, once owned an electronic star-topper that lit up or a battery-operated angel-topper that flapped its wings.)
Lately, the little ornaments that topped trees without a very strong presence have been abandoned in favor of giant floral arrangements that burst like a fireworks display from the top of the trees.
Their size and plentitude are more appropriate for the heavily bedecked trees that are popular now. Crafting one -- and you do have to hand-make them -- is not difficult, but they have to be assembled once the tree is standing. Which means standing on a ladder and reaching, reaching, reaching.
Decorator's Warehouse in Arlington puts these giant toppers on all its trees and has a model for demonstrating how to construct them. Designer Veronica Tellez says it takes no more than an hour to create the lavish toppers using floral picks. To get the effusive exploding action, long single stem picks are used.
Tellez says for a 6-foot tree, you will need at least 20 picks; for a 71/2- to 9-foot tree, 30; and for a really tall 9- to 12-foot tree, 45.
Here she used bright apple green and traditional Christmas red on the demonstration topper. She says this apple green color also looks good paired with burgundy, brown or silver, which are some of the most popular color combinations this year.
To craft a medium-size topper, you will need:
6 gold wheat picks
4 red branches
5 green twigs
9 branches with gold balls
6 green branches
1. Tie a ribbon loosely around the trunk of the tree about eight inches below the tallest branch. Leave about two fingers worth of space between the knot and the trunk. Tie another ribbon about 4 inches below the first one. Keep the knot fairly loose, as you may need to adjust it, but not so loose that it comes untied.
2. Begin sticking the floral picks in, using the ribbons to hold the stems in place. When all of your picks have been placed, tighten the ribbon to hold them firmly and tie a bow; leave the ribbon tails fairly long and twine them through the branches.
Tip: Picks with long single stalks work best for this look; they run $3-$13 at Decorator's Warehouse.
Thicker, multi-branched picks of the sort available at craft and hobby stores may be used, but you lose the exploding effect. The two trees at left were created using traditional floral picks and feathers, and the result is more like a floral arrangement at the top of the tree.
Whichever way you choose to go, expect the pick tree topper to cost at least $100 or more. And for these luxurious extravaganzas, more is always preferable.
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