Filigree Tannenbaum Earrings {tutorial}

**This is the tutorial that I shared for Haul out the Holly over at Gwenny Penny. Here it is again, just in case you missed it. These are fast, cheap, and easy so don't feel guilty adding them to your to-craft list ;)

Aside from a cheesy smile and, you know, necessary clothing, earrings are my favorite things to wear -- you can see my rock & roll earrings and tutorial here and today I'm sharing my quilled Christmas tree earrings. They're so simple to make and only take about half an hour, but I make them sound fancy by calling them filigree tannenbaums instead. ;)

If you've never heard of quilling, also called paper filigree, it's a simple but lovely concept: curled coils and scrolls of paper are joined together to form beautiful creations of all shapes and sizes. I began quilling (with these monograms) about six weeks ago, so I'm definitely still a beginner. But quilling is so easy that anyone can do it! I've decided that beginning quilling is more about patience than about actual talent (although there are many very talented quillers out there). :)

My tutorial today barely even skims the surface of quilling, but the lovely and kind Ann over at All Things Paper is a quilling master who provides fantastic inspiration and tutorials. If you'd like to continue quilling and start creating really beautiful and intricate designs like hers, Ann covers the quilling basics in this post on her blog.

Now... on to the earrings! I love the holidays, but I am terrible at holiday decorating -- {cringe} last year I didn't even pull our Christmas tree out of the box, shame on me and my lazy self. I get overwhelmed with all the beautiful decor options out there, so I love simple little touches that help put me and those I'm around into the holiday spirit.

These earrings are a little tidbit of holiday cheer for your everyday life from now until whenever you decide to stop wearing them! They're perfect for early holiday gifts and can easily be used, minus the earring fixings, for holiday cards, gift decorations and tags, or even ornaments to put on your Christmas tree.

Filigree Tannenbaum Earrings
or quilled paper Christmas trees :)

for personal, non-commercial use only

What you'll need:
  • 2+ - 12" strips of green quilling paper, 1/8 inch thick* (extras to create different/matching tree shapes)
  • 2 - 4" strips of brown quilling paper, 1/8 inch thick*
  • 4 jump rings (I use two 4mm and two 7mm)
  • 2 star beads or charms, 8 mm or smaller**
  • 2 head pins
  • 2 earring backs
  • 10-12 glass seed beads
  • Tweezers (cheap ones that are okay to get glue on them)
  • Tacky Glue, ModPodge, or other clear-drying glue
  • Quilling needle tool... or a regular ol' sewing needle :)
  • Toothpicks (optional but handy)
*You can either buy your own paper or cardstock to cut strips from or order quilling paper strips online, such as from this site (they also sell the paper for you to cut your own). If you buy your own paper or cardstock, I'd suggest the paper that is just thicker than standard printer paper but thinner than your regular cardstock because it curls well. Whatever you decide to buy, be sure that it is colored on both sides (you'll see both after quilling) and that it is NOT printed cardstock -- the cut edge of printed cardstock shows the color of the paper that the color or design was printed on (usually white), and when you quill, the cut edge shows prominently.

Please note that if you cut or order thicker paper strips, you'll also need bigger jump rings to fit around the thicker paper strips. :)

**I used these metal star charms and these czech glass stars.

What you'll do:
Quilling the Trees

1. Start by slowly but tightly rolling one of your green paper strips around your needle. Tighter is better.

2. When you've finished rolling the strip to form the coil, slide it carefully off the needle and allow it to relax a little bit and uncurl. We all like to relax during the holidays :)

3. Remembering that less is more, glue down the end of the quilled coil.

4. Repeat the rolling-relaxing-gluing with the other green paper strip.
  •  You want your two trees to be the same size and shape, so try to make your coils the same size. And you may want to cut and roll extra so that you can experiment with different tree shapes and have some practice material for getting the trees the same shape.Then just use your extra trees for Christmas cards or other cuteness. :)
5. Next, tightly roll one of the brown paper strips around your needle. Again, tighter is better.

6. Carefully slide the coil off the needle but do not allow it to relax. Sometimes we just don't get to relax during the holidays, right? ;)

7. Glue the end of the coil and remember - less is more, especially glue-wise.

8. Repeat the rolling-not relaxing-gluing with the other brown paper strip.

9. Now that the glue on the green coils is dry, pinch the top of one coil -- either softly or firmly is okay -- to create the point of the tree and then...

10. Pinch two points at the bottom (one at a time or both if you want... I just can't pinch both and take a picture at the same time :) to form a trianglish shape.

11. Repeat with the other green coil to make a similar tree.
  • If you made extra green rolls, now is the time to experiment with the shapes and sizes and make two as close to the same size/shape as possible. Here are some of the different shapes I like:
trianglish, tall and thin, short and squat

Assembling and Decorating the Trees
1. Use a small dot of glue to attach the brown roll (the trunk) to the the shaped green rolls (the trees).

2. Using your tweezers, grab one bead, dip it in a small amount of glue, and place it in between the open curves of the coil, keeping it towards the front of the tree.
  •  Use a toothpick to hold the layers of the coil apart, if needed, while you insert the bead.
3. Continue gluing beads until you have a satisfactory amount of ornaments on both trees, but remember -- less glue is better. Too much glue will definitely show even after it dries clear. (You can still see some on my finished pair, so learn from my experience ;)

4. While your ornaments' glue dries, attach one small jump ring to each earring back.

5. If you are using star beads (like the czech glass) instead of charms (like the metal stars), create a bead charm by threading the bead on to a head pin, gripping the pin with your jewelry pliers, and twisting the head pin wire around the jewelry pliers to form a loop. Trim the extra wire and repeat for the second bead.

6. When all of the glue has completely dried, open one of the larger jump rings. Be sure to open the jump ring by twisting the ring to separate the ends, as shown, not by pulling the ring to make an oval shape.

7. Thread the tree, the star charm, and the jump ring attached to the earring back onto the open jump ring, in that order before closing the jump ring. Be sure that you have the earring back facing the correct direction to keep your beads at the front of the tree.

8. Open the other jump ring, thread on the tree, star charm, and jump ring/earring back, and close the jump ring.

9. Bask in the glow of your little pieces of Christmas spirit... or wrap them up and share. :)

Happy holidays! 




The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

Those are so stinkin' cute! I hope you get your jewelry biz up and running, your stuff is so unique!

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Can't get enough of these, Lorene! They are such a cute idea!

Jocelyn Christensen said...

I LOVE your earrings! I wear your rock-n-roll ones practically every day.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness,these are great!
Thank you for sharing!

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