Angel of Joy Tree Topper

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By General Crafts Contributor Michelle

Create a beautiful, heirloom-worthy angel for the top of your Christmas tree this year with these step-by-step instructions.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

To begin, place the toilet paper tube on top of the paper cone, so the bottom is seated firmly against the cone, with the point just sticking out of the top.  This tube will form the torso of your angel, so decide how tall you want the torso to be–I made mine slightly taller than half the length of the tube.

Cut the tube, and glue it onto the cone with the hot glue.

Gently press the Styrofoam ball onto the top point of the cone, leaving a gap of the cone between the torso and the head, to form the neck.  Remove the ball, fill the hole you made with hot glue, and place back onto the cone.

To cover the top of the tube, cut open, and flatten the scrap of tube you have left.  Cut a circle the size of the top of the tube, and then make a “doughnut” shape by cutting out the center, so it will fit around the cone, and cover the hole.  Glue into place.

Cut a piece of black wire about 8-inches long.  This is plenty of wire, but it’s easier to work with a longer piece.  Poke the wire through the tube\cone at shoulder height (the top of the torso tube), so the wire hangs out on both sides.

Begin covering the ball, neck, and top of the tube area with a thin layer of clay–about 1/8-inch thick.  In the beginning, you’ll want to press thin pieces of clay into the rough texture of the ball, to really get it to stick.

Look at your angel’s head from all angles to make sure it’s even, and that you have a nice, gently curved transition from the head to the neck, as well as the neck to the top of the body.  Use a little water on your fingers to smooth the surface of the clay.

Make 2 arms for your angel by making “snakes” of clay that are a little thicker than a pencil at the top, and taper down to about pencil width at the bottom.  Make them about 4-inches long, and curve them slightly inward.  Round the very top of the arm to make shoulders, and slightly flatten the inside of the arm at the very top, to help it sit up next to the body easier.  To form the hand area, gently flatten the very end of the arm, and round the end slightly.

Make sure you make both a right and left arm by curving them opposite directions.

Use your wire to poke holes in the top of the arms.  Let dry completely.

Cut a piece of silver wire that is about 9-inches in length.  Form into a circle shaped halo with open ends.  Carefully press the ends of the wire into onto either side of the head, through the clay, into the Styrofoam head–do not glue the halo into the head yet.  Let the clay dry completely.

When the clay is totally dry, overnight at least, paint a white base coat over the entire body, and the arms.  Let dry.

Paint the arms the flesh color of your choice.

Use a small brush to paint the skin of the face flesh colored–start at the forehead, the hairline, and swoop the hairline down on either side of a part  You’re painting the skin, leaving the white base coat as the hair color.  I chose to make my hairstyle have a deep, off-set part, so the hair swoops down longer on one side of the face.  Extend the flesh tone down the neck, and to the flat circle around the neck.  Let dry.

Use a tiny, round detail brush to make two tiny light blue dots for eyes.  Let dry.

Using the same tiny brush, use your umber color thinned with a tiny bit of water, to paint tiny arc shapes over the top of the blue dots–these are your angel’s eyelids.

Use umber to paint two tiny dots in the eyes for pupils, two thin eyebrows, and a tiny arc for a nose.  Mix some red with some white to make a pink color, make 3 small dots, two on top, one on the bottom, to form her lips.  Thin some of the pink down with water, and make two tiny circles for cheeks.  Let dry.  Make a teensy tiny dot of white in the same location in the eye, to create a reflection.  Let the face dry.  When you are satisfied with the painting on the head, and arms, give them both a couple of light coats of clear coat to protect your work–follow as directed on the can.  Let dry.

To form the dress, we’re going to layer strips of ruffled tulle.  I began my first layer of tulle by measuring up the cone the same distance that tulle is wide–that way my cone is fully covered, but the skirt doesn’t hang past the end of the cone.  If you want your angel’s dress to hang down longer than the cone, just start the first tulle layer down lower to the base of the cone.  Begin by gathering a small section of the length of your tulle as you unroll it from the spool.  Make a small zig-zag of hot glue, wait a few seconds for it to cool slightly, and then carefully press your bunched tulle onto the glue.

Continue around in a full circle around the cone, and then go back around on top of the first layer you just made, and make a second layer in the same manner.  Cut the tulle free from the spool.

To further secure the tulle ruffles, cut a length of tulle, fold it over, and over until it is a very narrow strip.  Then glue the strip of tulle tightly around the glue line along the top of the ruffles.  Cover the whole cone in overlapping layers of ruffles, as desired–I made 4 rows of ruffles.  Position the top row of ruffles where the base of the body meets the cone–the angel’s waist.

Cut two wings from your thin cardboard, or cereal box.  Leave a small rectangular tab at the base of each wing, that you can fold back and use to glue onto your angel. Use your dabbing sponge brush to give each wing a white base coat on both sides.  Let dry.

Use the sponge brush to dab the gold paint onto the wings, let dry, then give them a second coat.  I chose to sponge the paint onto the wings, rather than brush it, to give it a richer texture.

Bend the base tab on each wing backward, and use hot glue to adhere the wings to the back of the body.

To attach the arms, slide an arm onto the wire, flat side of the arm facing the body.  Slide the arm close to the body, trim the wire shorter, and then carefully bend the end of the wire into a closed loop using your needle nosed pliers.

Attach the second arm in the same manner, and then carefully bend the wire between the body, and each arm up slightly to help position the arms so they’re out from the sides a bit.

Glue a length of lace along the top edge of the body to hide the seam.

Tie a length of white ribbon around the waist, and into a bow in the back.  Leave longer tails of ribbon hanging down from the back of the bow for extra embellishment.

Remove the halo from the angel’s head.  Start at one end of the halo wire you cut, and starting about 1/2-inch from the end, join another piece of silver wire by wrapping it tightly, then make a small scallop of wire, then wrap the wire again around the halo wire.  Continue making scallops clear along the wire, leaving the last 1/2-inch of the wire bare.  Wrap to tie off, and cut the wire.

Re-shape your halo circle, and insert into the holes on the angel’s head–this time glue it in place.

Cut a banner from your muslin fabric, leaving long, skinny tails on each end so you can tie the banner around the angel’s hangs. Write a message on your banner with the fabric marker.

Tie the banner around the angels hands.

Further embellish your angel with buttons, and snowflake buttons as desired.

Put your angel on top of your Christmas tree, and enjoy your handiwork!

Happy Christmas crafting!!


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