silver christmas tree from paper clips

December 6, 2011 § 7 Comments

Push pins.  Rubber bands.  And now for my final installment of Christmas décor out of office supplies.  A $4 box of 1,000 paper clips made up this avant-garde tree.

I was most looking forward to creating this out of all four trees I made, assuming all four would be equally simple.  I was wrong about this one.  The concept is simple, but, admittedly, fussy to achieve.

First you have to create a garland of paper clips by stringing them through a thin, light gauge wire.  I calculated about 2,000 consecutive seconds (33 minutes, at 2 seconds per paper clip) to finish this first and important step.  However, I was also intent on having each paper clip face the exact same way and discovered it was best to string the paper clip through the end that has a smaller loop.  The smaller loop acts as a lock to prevent the paper clip from shifting as much as it would had it been strung through the larger loop.   And I didn’t account for several spills.  Oh, also, 1,000 paper clips weren’t quite sufficient.  Luckily, I had some extras stashed from when I designed my paper clip necklace last December.   I used about 1,100 paper clips all in all, and the garland took much longer than the time allocated.

Then attaching the garland to a 6″ Styrofoam cone is presumably simple, too.  But not.  I inserted one end (at least 1-1/2″) of the wire into the side of the cone and started wrapping the garland around the cone (it really is important to use thin wire and not string, as the purpose of the wire is to be stuck into the cone).  This was when I ran into the problem of paper clips bunching together.  After several ineffective attempts, I managed to keep the paper clips aligned and flat on the table as I slowly wrapped the garland upwards.   I made sure I formed the wire along the cone to minimize the garland from sliding down (the weight of 1,100 paper clips will slide down).  Again, another important reason to use wire: so that the shape can be maintained.  When that is done, then the rest is simple.  I just secured the wire (at least 1-1/2″) into the top of the cone.

Despite it all, I’m glad I did this and the other trees!  If you’re just tuning in now, over the past three posts I made crystal Christmas trees from push pins, a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands, and rubber-band wrapped trees.  Enjoy!

rubber band-wrapped Christmas trees

December 5, 2011 § 11 Comments

I had enough rubber bands to spare from my one-pound bag to make these rubber band-wrapped Christmas trees as the third installment of my Christmas décor from office supplies.

If you’ve missed the previous two, you can find crystal Christmas trees from push pins here and a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands here.  And if you’re not into shaggy trees made of rubber bands, these here are chic and just as easy.

Cover Styrofoam cone with rubber bands horizontally.  Then vertically.  Done!  Now wasn’t that quicker than wrapping and gluing cones with sisal?

crystal christmas trees from clear push pins

December 4, 2011 § 16 Comments

So this is what my container of push pins got me.  Crystal Christmas trees!  Ok, not to rival Swarovski.  However, an acceptable substitute for those on a dime.

These plastic push pins really shine, far better than I imagined.

One container of 500 push pins (which I picked up at Staples for $6; likely cheaper for lucky Americans with better pricing south of the border!) is enough, with few to spare, to cover one 9″ Styrofoam cone.

Up next (tomorrow), two variations of Christmas trees out of rubber bands…

christmas holiday ideas

December 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve been working hard all weekend and just finished a handful of curious Christmas crafts!  But before I forget, here is a recap of all the fun and festive ideas I shared on this blog last year so you can find it all in one place!  I didn’t realize I made so many (which reminds me how horribly slow I’ve been this year).  If you didn’t try them last year, I hope you may try some this year!


Rolled Paper Christmas Ornaments

With some strips of paper and mounting tape, you can roll these simple paper ornaments, then go crazy with the quilling (as I wish I did).

A New Life for Old Plastic Ornaments

Grant your old plastic snowflake ornaments a new life.   Print beloveds’ names on cardstock, cut stock into circles, and stick circles to your ol’ plastic snowflake to use as dazzling place cards and gift tags.

Lego-inspired Advent Calendar Treat Boxes

It’s way past December 1st, but if you still got time, you may finish this in time for Christmas.  My favorite Christmas craft last year that nearly had me cross-eyed!

Decorative Sequoia Cone

Why dispose of those brown shopping bags when you can cut them up and tape them together to form a ginormous brown bag sequoia cone as a table centerpiece?

Lace Wreath

What can you get from a long balloon (the ones that magically turn into poodles and swords), a doily, and some glue?  Well, an stylish lace wreath, of course.

No-knit Mini Stockings

Here’s one for my fellow non-knitters!  Take your old red gloves and white gloves (or your festive colors of choice), cut up the fingers, switch them up, stitch them up, and you have teeny weeny miniature stockings fit for your Hershey’s kiss.  (Or a diamond ring?  Or a modest diamond necklace?  Or a humble pair of wee diamond earrings?  Men should read this blog more often!!!)

Christmas Stocking Cards

If you’re thinking “That lady over at Paper, Plate, and Plane has lost her mind, taking all of life’s precious time to hack gloves into mini stockings”, really, it ain’t for naught!  Those mini stockings are perfect to append to your handmade cards then fill with love such as greetings, or cash, or diamonds (right, gents?).

Paperclip Statement Necklace

I wore this necklace recently to the One of a Kind Show here in Toronto last weekend.  I was stopped over half a dozen times by strangers who were curious about such a statement piece.  Upon closer inspection, they discovered it’s made of paper clips, and even more gratifying were their reactions (considering people at the One of a Kind Show pay for handcrafted items like hats for $200, I take their gleeful reactions as gratifying).  Last year’s paper clip necklace was worth my efforts and I’m not afraid to keep wearing it!

Creative Gift Wrapping

Make monogram-window gift wrap.  Lace-up a doily around a mailing tube.  Fold and pleat a gift wrap and shape into a gift bag.  Turn a gift wrap into a gift envelope with spool.

Foil Pan Rose Topiary

Foil pie pans turned into rosettes turned into a topiary.  A surprisingly simple task with spectacular results.  I still have mine as my year-round coffee table centerpiece.

Date Stamp Gift Wrap

Take your printy-dater stamps and some large sheets paper (I love kraft) and stamp the date away!  I made stripe, criss-cross, herringbone, and snow patterns last year.


gourmet rice krispie treats

Po’ Boy Truffles (Grown-up Rice Krispie Treats)

Turn your rice krispie treat into a liquor infused grown-up indulgence!  I’ve used in the past various rice krispie combinations such as coconut rum, coffee toffee, amaretto, Canadian maple walnut, and many others (the list is long).  I made dozens of these last year (candy cane po’ boy truffles) as favors for a charity event. 

Peppermint Favor Boxes

Yes, two Styrofoam bowls and red electrical tape can turn into peppermint candy favor boxes.  I filled mine last year with, as mentioned above, dozens and dozens of candy cane po’ boy truffles.

DIY Cookie Stamps and Pleated Cookie Wrapping

Design and make your very own cookie stamps by simply cutting out a plastic sheet (a chopping board, and a couple who wrote me last year substituted with plastic margarine lids — fantastic recycling!).  Then, as something out-of-the-ordinary (for cookies anyway), wrap your cookies like you would soap!

Food Bouquets

Skewer food and  place in vases to make food bouquets this holiday!  Pinwheels, prepared foods, desserts, you name it.  You can skewer almost anything!

Chocolate-covered Roasted Chestnuts

For easy and elegant seasonal treats, dip roasted chestnuts in chocolate.  Pack in pretty little truffle boxes.

Coconut Mochi Snowmen

Homemade mochi using coconut milk and rolled in coconut flakes make up these coconut mochi snowmen.

advent calendar: lego-inspired stackable treat boxes

November 19, 2010 § 49 Comments

Did I ever say how much I lovvvvve designing and making boxes?  I hope that it shows in the harvest candy corn and itsy bitsy spider treat boxes that I’ve done previously.  For my advent calendar, I summoned my inner child (as I do for most things) and was subjected to the most amusing time I’ve ever had making treat boxes (thus far, anyway). I can’t wait to start counting down to Christmas!

I admit, I sat on this idea for two weeks before lifting a finger in attempts at creating it.   All I had was a very vague, incalculable vision: Lego + treat boxes = nifty advent calendar.   But how?  I knew if I were to make Lego-like boxes, they’d have to be pretty darn functional — it would be an affront to Lego if these imitative boxes couldn’t work as carefully as their real Lego counterparts.  And it would also be a dirty waste to make them without any aim or purpose.  It became imperative to plan them in such a way that, by Christmas day, there would be a built project to appreciate (not that anyone wouldn’t appreciate a treat box daily for the duration of nearly one month, but I know it would be more rewarding if the boxes were constructed to create something joyful and in the spirit of Christmas.

So, for the first time, I was overwhelmed with the thought of boxes.  Many boxes.  To be exact, twenty-five boxes.  Boxes that have little nibs that fit through little nib-size holes with unforgiving mathematic precision.  I sketched it out, scratched it over, and sketched it out again.  It turns out twenty-five of these cute little things can make for a pretty festive Christmas tree wall, with the last and only yellow piece appropriately placed as the star on Christmas day.  So my adventure proceeded.

To recreate this harder-than-it-looks project (don’t say I didn’t warn you!), you will need: card stock in red, green, white, and yellow, foam sheets in red, green, white, and yellow, 1/4″ hole punch, white glue, double-sided tape, and of course templates for the boxes which I am happy to provide here.  Print the boxes in the following quantities: three 3″ red, three 2″ red, three 1″ red, four 3″ green, two 2″ green, three 1″ green, two 3″ white, two 2″ white, two 1″ white, and one 1″ yellow.

1. Using a 1/4″ hole punch, punch the foam sheets to make pieces in the following quantities: 216 red, 228 green, 144 white, and 12 yellow.  That sums up to an even 600 punches.  Yipee!

2. Glue together 3 punched foam circles of the same color to form a stack.  These will be the nibs.  In the end you will have stacks in the following quantities: 72 red, 76 green, 48 white, and 4 yellow.  Set aside.

3. Using a 1/4″ hole punch, accurately punch the holes on the bottom of the boxes.

4. Slowly insert a pencil through each hole to expand it.  This will allow the nibs to fit through with ease.  There’s a total of 200 holes in this project, believe it or not!

5. Adhere double-sided tape on the tab of each box.

6. Fold each box.  There are only 25, so it doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

7. Dip the nibs in glue one by one and accurately place in the faintly outlined circles on the top of each box, in corresponding color.  200 nibs to go and you’re done!

You have some long eleven days to complete this project by December 1st!  Happy box-making!

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