Recently at a women’s church group (Relief Society) we discusses gratitude and counting our blessings. We were then given instructions on how to make a gratitude tree to take home and teach to our families and selves on the importance of being thankful and counting our blessings.
Now gratitude is not something that has always come easy to me. Partly, I think I’ve resisted my innermost desires to be grateful because of my upbringing. I had a discussion with another lady friend of mine this last Sunday about my childhood–my teenage years being some of the hardest. Because my teenage years were so uncertain and because sometimes I didn’t know where I even was going to live, I resisted being grateful for what I had. It was easier for me to act ungrateful and have a reason for others to think I was than it was to behave graciously and still have others think I was ungrateful. And I say “act” because truthfully I was very thankful for almost everything I had (almost, because hey I was a teenager). In fact, before my junior year of high school one of my young women leaders at church had given our class a folder and inside we were instructed to write down one thing we were grateful for each day. Now, I don’t know if the other young women in my group wrote down their blessings, but I did each day for almost two years. If anyone did question whether I was grateful or not, they could easily have found their answer within that journal of sorts.
As happens, I got older and soon after moving again several times and then going to college I forgot about my blessing journal and grew lax in actively acknowledging my many blessings on a daily basis. So, at this Relief Society meeting a month ago I was reminded to write down my blessings and the things I am grateful for. And so after royally screwing up my paper gratitude tree I decided to make a 3D wire tree…well because I always think I have to go grander than necessary. With a few scrap materials and some inexpensive wire at Home Depot and Walmart, here is what I came up with:
You will need:
1 roll of wire for tying rebar (found at Home Depot or other home improvement stores, about $4)
1-2 rolls of floral tape, Walmart $1 each
1 package of 20 guage floral wire, Walmart $2
1 package of thin 26 guage floral wire, Walmart $1
scrap yarn, fabric, spray paint
super glue or similar
different colored paper for making leaves
wire cutters and/or pliers
There are several different ways that you can successfully make a wire Gratitude Tree. The most important thing to remember is to have fun, be creative, and don’t be afraid to mess up. I allowed my children to help me cut the wire and floral tape. To make one exactly like mine, you need to plan on it taking you 2-4 hours to complete–shorter if the whole family is helping!
Take the thick rebar tying wire and cut sixteen 24-inch pieces. Bundle them together, then determine where the “roots” should be (they will stand the tree upright), the first set of branches and the top set of branches. Tie these places securely using the same wire as in the image below. My “roots” are six or so inches long, and my first set of branches begin at about the 10 inch mark. Optionally, wipe the wire down with rubbing alcohol to clean it up.
Steps 2 and 3.
Using pliers, bend the ends of the wire on the branches and the roots.
Using the long 20 guage floral wire, you can create more sets of branches in the middle and on top. Be sure to bend the ends as you go. Tie the bottom end which will be around the trunk of the gratitude tree by wrapping the wire around it.
Wrap the entire tree with floral tape. There are many ways to do this, but the most important thing to remember is to wrap the ends well. I used all of one roll and a small portion of another roll.
Using yarn, scrap fabric, spray paint, et cetera, decorate your gratitude tree. I used scrap yarn and wrapped it around the trunk of my tree. I then found orange Halloween lights (on sale, 16 ft string at Big Lots for 60 cents!) and wrapped it around the branches on my tree.
Now for the best part (besides making your own which should be able to use year after year and season after season), it’s time to make your leaves which you can use any type of paper or shape. I used plain red, orange, and yellow leaves for mine, but you could use scrapbook paper, magazine cutouts, and more. Each day, think of something you are thankful for and write it on a leaf and hang it on the tree using thin 26 guage floral wire. Kids can help and do it to. What a great way to teach children to be thankful! I plan on using my gratitude tree throughout the year at Christmas time, New Years, Easter, and more.
If you make this project or something similar, let me know. I’d love to post a picture of your project!