These little trees are all grown up and ready for the holidays. These are the cuties I started in my Power tools = awesome post, and they have layers of character, literally. We’re talking primer, gel medium, photo, mod podge, and lacquer.
I used vintage Christmas photos for the images on the faces of the little wooden trees. I have a lot of vintage pictures passed down to me from my Mema, which I’ve mined for ones with Christmas scenes. There is a plethora of Polaroid’s of my relatives holding up new sweaters (sweaters that would be perfect for a party I’m throwing ;)). I love my relatives and their fashion sense, but for this project I favored the shots of Christmas trees and one close up of a decorative chimney. The photos were blown up, cropped and printed on a laser printer.
Transferring the image to wood is simple. I used gel medium to coat the pictures and then I applied them picture side down on to the primed face of the trees. After a firm smoothing with the bone folder they were left to dry overnight. The strokes you make in the gel medium will subtly appear when you remove the paper and be more visible after the lacquer is applied. Keeping this in mind, I like to take creative liberties with my brush strokes.
Removing the paper from the images magically reveals the picture transferred to the wood, however it takes a balance of elbow grease and tenderness. For anyone who likes rubbing labels off of beer bottles, peeling hardboiled eggs, or even dead skin from sunburn, you will have officially found a new (and maybe less-weird) hobby with this step. To start, the paper must be made damp. Rubbing will start to remove the paper, most of it can be peeled or rolled off gently. Re-moisten, rub and repeat until all of the little bits of paper are gone. Too much pressure can cause the picture to rub off, which I think compliments the vintage look, but it is something that should be minimized so it doesn’t obscure the picture.
Matte finish mod podge is applied to the top to seal the image. Let it dry completely.
Lacquer time. The final outcome makes this step realllly worth it, and it’s not even hard. I use EnviroTex Lite – read all of the instructions, mix and pour. The coolest part is removing the air bubbles. By exhaling over your lacquer, the CO2 makes the little bubbles pop. It’s fun to watch and more satisfying (and less annoying) than popping a sheet of bubble wrap.
The end result: recycled wood + vintage Christmas photos + brushstroke detail + brilliant thick lacquer = the most unique petite Christmas tree.
Shop my trees on Pop Craft Exchange, or make your own (and send me a picture)!