Nifty, thrifty, and oh-so-prim-pretty trees

This softly-sculptured pair of trees with a touch of distressing are a perfect weekend project! This project is featured in the 2012 country Christmas (November/December) issue of Create & Decorate. If you aren’t a subscriber and would like to purchase the issue online, click here. (You may also peek into the issue by clicking the ‘home’ tab from that link.) If you just visited to enjoy the project, here you go!

nifty and thrifty batting trees

Designed by Rebekah Meier

As seen in Create & Decorate magazine Nov/Dec 2012

I love the look of primitive folk art and time-worn objects, and those served as inspiration for these batting trees. They are simple to create and can stay on display all winter long. Try creating multiple ones, in various sizes (just increase cone size and batting), and arranging them in a vignette setting.

  • The Dow Chemical Company STYROFOAM Brand Foam Cone, 6”
  • 1/4 yd. soft quilt batting (such as bamboo or soy)
  • Ranger Ink 
    Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, and Tea Dye
    Tim Holtz Distress Stickles (optional)
  • 2 yds. thin twine, Beacon Adhesives Fabri-Tac, cosmetic sponges (three), pinking shears, pins, rotary cutter and mat, scissors, sentiment stamp of choice (I used one that said “Merry”), sewing machine and thread, tag (2-1/2”), vintage wood spool, water

tips: For a grungy-looking tree, use several shades of Distress Inks. Keep adding colors until desired color is achieved. You can add glitter to tag for a festive effect.


  1. Using rotary cutter and mat, cut batting strips into 1/2” strips.
  2. Use a cosmetic sponge to apply water to strips until damp.
  3. Use wet cosmetic sponges to ink batting strips until desired color is achieved. Use less ink for a more vintage look.
  4. Beginning at top, wind batting around cone shape. Keep winding batting around cone and secure with Fabri-Tac at base.
  5. Following same steps, apply Tea Dye ink to batting.
  6. Trace star shape onto batting and cut out.
  7. Adhere star to top of tree.
  8. Stamp sentiment onto tag, then use cosmetic sponge to apply Distress ink to edges and center of tag. Tie finished tag to center of tree.
  9. Wrap thin twine around wood spool and secure with Fabri-Tac.
  10. Adhere spool to bottom of tree.

tree mat

  1. Trace a 4” circle onto two layers of batting.
  2. Cut out on traced line with pinking shears, then pin together.
  3. Machine stitch a circle design onto mat.
  4. Apply Fired Brick ink onto mat following same instructions used for batting strip tree. •

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