|Decorating Tiny Christmas Trees|
Christmas is practically here--hopefully, your halls are already decked, your presents wrapped, and your cards sent. If so, now is the time for a whimsical, fun holiday project--a decorated Christmas tree for your dolls! However, even if you are going to be busy working on decorations, presents and baking right up until Christmas Eve, this article is for you, too--you can learn WHAT you need for a doll-sized tree, and where to get it, and you can pick up everything you need for NEXT year's doll-sized Christmas tree at the 50% off Christmas sales next week!
First, You Need a Tree
There are several sources for doll-sized trees. The smallest fake trees (that aren't sized for miniature dollhouses) are generally about 18" to 24" which are perfect for Gene, Tyler Wentworth, and other 15"-16" fashion dolls. Sometimes you can find a smaller tree that is suitable for Barbie, in the 15" range, but they are harder to find. These types of trees can be found in department stores or gift shops that carry holiday decorating items, and can generally be found for under $20. Hallmark stores usually carry small trees because of their line of miniature tree ornaments--one of my favorites is a tiny 18" "Feather Tree" that they carry, which costs only $8.95. If you don't like fake trees, many grocery stores and drug stores carry real trees for a table top--potted, live trees that are under 2 feet tall. These trees are also usually inexpensive.
Then, You Need Some Ornaments
There are several options for ornaments for your tree. First, you can make your own. Take the fabulous Christmas clip art on this site (one image is pictured, left) and print out the Christmas clip art thumbnails I provide on heavy cardstock. These small images can then be pasted back-to-back with a small thread for a loop in between, and you have small ornaments perfect for an antique-themed tree. If you are a porcelain dollmaker, you can also make tiny porcelain ornaments for your tree.
If you would prefer to purchase ornaments, Hallmark has a line of miniature ornaments that are readily available at Hallmark card stores and online at eBay. The ornaments run the gamut from pop culture (perfect for a Barbie® sized tree) to antique-looking rocking horses and Santas. Priced new, the ornaments are $3.95 to $9.95 each, with most falling in the $4.95 to $6.95 range. This is expensive if you need ornaments for an entire tree--BUT you can pick these ornaments up right after Christmas for 50% off (hurry--they usually sell out on December 26th!) AND you can pick up many very inexpensively on eBay. Be aware that some of these ornaments become collectors items, like the 1991 Tiny Tea Party set made out of porcelain--this set sells for $75 to $100 on eBay!
Another excellent source of antique-styled miniature ornaments is "Paper Playthings and Santa Pack Stuffers" by Jean Nordquist. Jean provides mini-ornaments (and under-the tree toys) taken from her collection of Victorian paper ephemera. All you have to do is assemble the ornaments. The book is available from Jean Nordquist Dolls for $35.
To finish off your tree, you can either hang your ornaments with jewelry wire, or buy miniature ornament hooks, also available at Hallmark card shops. Tinsel "beading" that is sized for a tree can also be found there, OR you can make your own by stringing small glass beads.
Finally, You Need To Decorate UNDER The Tree
To finish off your tiny tree, you need to create the proper mood UNDER the tree as well--this can be as simple as small cardboard boxes wrapped as tiny gifts, OR you can create a fantasy Christmas morning with small dolls and toys UNDER your tiny Christmas tree. ln the photo, left, I have used actual antique miniature French dolls, tiny antique Frozen Charlottes, plus Little Gem teddy bears and miniature baskets that I made to create a Victorian Christmas morning scene. The Jean Nordquist book mentioned above also has lovely antique game and toy "boxes" you can use for under your tree.
If you are decorating your tree for Barbie®, you may want a more contemporary look. Try miniature stores and miniature shows for little games and toys--everything from mini Barbie boxes to Hot Wheel sets. Some of the Hallmark miniature ornaments, such as their miniature railroad ornaments, look great in a modern under-the-tree setting, too.
You can choose to light your tree if you wish--you will find miniature lights at most Michaels and JoAnn craft stores.
That's everything you need to know to create the perfect, doll-sized Christmas tree. There's still time for a tree for your dolls this year....but, if you run out of time, I'll see you at the 50% off after-Christmas sales getting everything for our mini trees for NEXT year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
2: More Photos of Decorated Doll Trees
Includes a picture of a miniature "feather" tree, a set of Hallmark Miniature ornaments, and old-fashioned rocking horse and other ornaments suitable for under a doll-sized tree--PLUS a larger photo of Gene and the tree shown above.
Denise Van Patten, © 2000. All rights reserved.