paintbrush (if painting)
hot glue gun
gel glue - I find Krazy Glue to not be sufficiently gel-like, try another brand
small bowl or plate (for seed beads)
clay - I used paper clay for its lightness, but it has to be painted, which is a pain
cardboard or paper for template
matte green and glossy black paint (if painting the clay)
earring finding (or a loop of wire) to hang wire from
white or silver seed beads, ~2mm
6mm red beads, one per tree
wire to hang ornament
(optional: sticker labels to put on wire)
Step 1: Form the Trees
Take one of the earring findings or a loop of wire - the ones I used are something I found in a hardware store, but I'm not even sure what they're called. Roll a bit of paper clay (or black clay) around the wire to make the trunk. Make the bottom thicker than the top, as shown.
Sandwich the trunk between two triangles, making sure that the loop is right at the top of the triangles, with the hole aligned so that the hanging wire can go through it in the same plane as the triangles.
Step 2: Put the Branches on the Trees
Step 3: Paint the Trees
This was, frankly, a pain in the neck. Because of the indentations for the branches, it was ridiculously easy to miss tiny spots on the trees. It's even worse if you cut through the tree entirely to separate the branches. I'd suggest you use green and black clay, or alternatively if you like the lightness of the paper clay as I do, you could knead paint into paper clay to color the clay itself.
Step 4: Add the Beads and Finish
Put the seed beads in a small dish. With a hot glue gun, put hot glue dots on either side of a pair of tweezers. I found this made it possible to use the tweezers to hold the red bead, to glue it to the tree with the gel glue; I couldn't hold the bead successfully with my fingers. Put dots of gel glue on the remainder of the tree (a toothpick may be useful here). Over the seed bead dish, sprinkle seed beads on the tree. Put glue in any bare spots and repeat until the tree is covered in beads.
Add the star: put gel glue on the top of the tree, and moisten the end of a Q-tip to pick up a star confetti (confetto?). Place it on the top of the tree.
Thread a hanging wire on the tree. Optional: attach a sticker to the wire for a label. Mine have the year on one side and my initials on the other, and were made using a Silhouette cutting machine. The site doesn't seem to be letting me upload the file I used to make the stickers, but if you message me I can send you the file.
Do post a photo if you use or are inspired by these instructions, I'd love to see what you make!