Decorating Our First Christmas Tree with DIY Decorations

This is going to be a pretty picture heavy post but I am just so pleased with how our Christmas tree decorations turned out that I want the photos to do all the talking! I will be telling you how we made our decorations and where we bought the rest though as well as tips I picked up along the way. 
To decorate our tree we started off by adding twinkling LED lights that we bought from Home Bargains. I am in love with these lights, they were a bargain price of about £15.00 (much cheaper than anywhere else) they are LED which means they are more energy saving, brighter and safer and they don't get hot like traditional fairy lights, and the single twinkling setting looks great and so much better than lights with a zillion different settings that either flash manically or fade to nothing. Being the perfectionist I am, I did a little research into decorating trees before we started and found this infographic which is a great rule of thumb to follow. It states that you need 100 lights per foot of tree, ours is 6ft so 600 lights. Harry wasn't convinced so we bought a pack of 400 which he still thought would be far to many. Guess what? It wasn't! I love a well lit tree so of course I researched the best way to put the lights on. At my parents we always wrapped the lights round and round, but I found out it is easier and more effective to run them up and down each branch as it is added to the tree (fake trees only obviously!) following this method as explained by Two Twenty One. This method looked fantastic but we ran out of lights before we got to the top! After starting all over again and choosing not to put lights on the back of the tree we were able to successfully light the whole thing, just not quite as magically as it looked before. 
Next we added some 'filler' red baubles which you can buy in big multipacks really cheaply. We also bought two packs of glittery candy canes (£1 for a pack of four in Tesco) because they looked so simple and elegant and a pack of matching candy cane stripe baubles (£2 for a pack of eight in Primark) to create our red/white/sweet shop theme. At this point we also added a pack of Cadbury chocolate decorations as it is tradition in our family to eat a tree chocolate on Christmas Eve, I think a pack of chocolate presents and caramel gold bells were between £1.50 & £3.50.  
Once the tree had enough decorations to mostly fill it up it was time to add our extra special decorations. Earlier this week I posted my DIY Faux Gingerbread Men tutorial so I am delighted to share with you the finished products! They actually took about a week to fully dry out before I could decorate them but then I glazed them with mod lodge which I had added some gold glitter to and tied a piece of ribbon around the neck to create a scarf. I finished them off with a length of striped twine (£1.50 for three Christmas stripe rolls in The Range) to tie them on the tree. As well as the gingerbread decorations I also made some from white clay using this recipe from The Imagination Tree. The clay is really easy to make, it uses just cornflour, baking soda and water which you heat in a pan to form a dough. The dough itself has a great slightly sparkly smooth consistency, much nicer than the white clay you can buy. I used star and heart shaped cutters with letter stamps (This set from Tala includes 3 cutters, 7 pre-made words and 2 sets of letters for approx. £12) to create personalised ornaments with our names and messages. You can bake these in the oven at for an hour to set them. I then glazed them with mod-podge and silver glitter for extra Christmas sparkle. I also cut some small stars using a star shaped plunger to create some extra embellishments. 

Lastly we put on our four Disney ornaments that we bought in Florida last year, I absolutely adore the classic Mickey and Minnie figures and the colours are understated and match our theme perfectly.

I've also been placing tea light candles from my Yankee Candle Advent Calendar (review to come soon!) on the tree for an extra decorative touch because they smell beautiful and come in festive jewel colours. I'm planning to light a number of tea lights over the festive period but the tree makes a great place to store them until then (Note: I will not be lighting the candles while they are on the tree!). Overall I am so pleased with how our tree looks and I have even wrapped up all our presents to go underneath it already! Let me know what you think and how you will be decorating your tree this year and I shall leave you with a couple more photos just because I can't resist!



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