Here you will find helpful hints and tips relating to our products.
The current hexagonal base is not high enough to place the battery box underneath. (We designed the kits before finding the lights). For this reason, the battery box has to be placed outside the back of the base and display box, and can be disguised with one of our pillow packs decorated with flowers, ribbons and bows etc. You may click on this link to find the pillow packs once you have read the instructions below.
Assemble the hexagonal base, Bucket and central bottom straw and dowel, but do not place the tree layers on the central dowel yet. Decide which will be the front of your tree and then make a small nick in the bottom of one of the rear corners of the hexagonal base for the wire from the battery box to pass through to the underneath of the base. Make sure that at least an inch (25mm) of the black coated wire part of the lead from the battery box passes through this nick and secure the wire to the underneath of the base either with a high tack tape or preferably with hot melt glue, two part epoxy (5 minute) or Pinflair glue gel (you will have to wait for this to set before proceeding.) It is very important that you secure the wire to the underneath of the base to prevent it from breaking with regular movement if pulled.
Using a sharp craft knife or scalpel, cut a small hole through the bottom of the base and bucket close to the central straw & dowel at the rear of the assembly. Continue this hole through the top of the bucket and then feed the lights through. Now place and glue the first layer of the tree in place over the central dowel as per the instructions. When set, feed the lights between the branches of this first layer and wind the wire around the rest of the layer so that a couple of lights show at the branch tips. The wire can be bent and twisted into place so that the lights are visible at the ends of the branches. repeat this for each of the remaining layers remembering that there are 20-21 lights on the wire and 12 tree layers, so that you will have to distribute them evenly around the tree. Make sure that you save at least one light for the inside of the star. As you make your way up the tree with the wire, you may find it difficult to keep some of the lights in place whilst working on another part of the tree. You may tack the lights into place using hot melt glue, epoxy, Pinflair glue gel or strong high-tac tape. (We prefer hot melt glue as it sets very quickly). Alternatively, you may assemble the tree layers to the central dowel before winding the lights around.
When using the 2 part crackle paints, choose brown undercoat to go with either the Colony Cream or Harvest Gold top coats and Gold undercoat when using the Black top coat.
The Vase (small and large) when assembled has a straw which passes through the centre running from the top to the bottom of the vase. Before attaching the vase to the hexagonal base, pass a piece of string through this straw from the top and out from the bottom of the vase. Tie a large knot in the string at the bottom of the vase, so that the string cannot pass back through the straw. It is best to choose a dry and slightly warm day as the paint will dry quicker. Take the other end of the string and tie it up high so that the vase hangs from it and is far enough away from any objects that you do not wish to paint. I would recommend highly that you do this outside and not indoors! Make sure that the string that the vase is hanging from is long enough for you to twirl so that the vase spins gently around.
Shake the aerosol can containing the undercoat (Gold or Brown) vigorously for about 3 minutes. Putting on a lively piece of music for you to 'jig' to often helps. Hold the nozzle of the aerosol about 10-12 inches away and pointing off to one side of the vase. Whilst spinning the vase around, gently spray from side to side of the vase making your way from the top to the bottom. Be sure to spray underneath the top neck & lip. try to spray fairly sparingly to avoid runs. You do not need to put on a heavy coat, a light coat will do, as you will spray a second or third coat once dry. Don't forget to spray into the top of the vase as you may see some of this once fully decorated with flowers. The paint should be dry within 15-20 minutes. Once dry, spray a second coat of undercoat repeating the instructions above. Leave the second coat to dry for about five minutes until tacky (Do not wait for the second coat to fully dry) then after shaking the aerosol containing your choice of top coat thoroughly for 3 minutes, spray over the tacky undercoat repeating the above instructions. Cover the vase well with the top coat. Only one coat of the top coat should be applied. As soon as you have finished spraying the top coat, just stand and watch the crackles appear almost instantly. The top coat should be fully dry in 15-20 minutes.
1) Follow the instructions precisely when numbering the parts. take particular care to number both sides of the octagonal flat card spreaders.
2) Use a plastic bone folder to squash down the creases in the small rectangular glue flaps around the edge of each 'bowl' section before gluing. Be thorough about this, squashing them down from both sides of the card. This will allow a much tighter fit between the 8 sections and will help to eliminate gaps.
3) Take your time when gluing each bowl section making sure that the end glue flaps are lined up with edge of the centre side panel very accurately and the same for the bottom glue flaps ensuring that the bottom of each 'bowl' is level with the sides. The more accurate you are with this, the better the vase. Use a tacky PVA glue as it gives you a bit of time to adjust the glue flap position. Use baby wipes to wipe off any excess glue.
4) follow the instructions in the exact sequence when assembling the 8 'bowl' sections to one another. If you change this, you will have a problem in assembling. Use the central straw as the instructions show to locate each 'bowl' section on top of one another. Before applying glue, try a dry fit of the two 'bowl' sections turning the top one around until you get the best fit. This is usually when the side glue seams are in line. Apply a very thick heavy bead of glue around the top edge of the lower bowl keeping close to the edge and then slide the one above down on top of this. adjust until they are perfectly aligned and apply pressure to the top bowl so that they close very closely together. allow the glue to squeeze out. Wipe away the excess glue with moist baby wipes, pushing the glue into the gap between the bowls. The idea is to use the glue to fill any cracks. This will be a tad messy. and you will probably get a thin film of glue wiped all over the vase with the baby wipes, but this will help harden the surface of the vase. Just wipe as much away as possible. keep the downward pressure applied to the top bowl enough to close the gaps between the bowls as tightly as possible and hold for about 60 seconds. You will then be able to release them and they should be well glued. Again wipe off any excess glue with the baby wipes. Repeat this for each section following the build sequence in the instructions. Don't worry too much if some of the creases stick out a bit, you will deal with this next.
5) before gluing the assembled vase to its base, let it dry for a few hours, and then hold it in one hand like a potato, and use the edge of the plastic bone folder in your other hand to scrape each of the creases around the joints between the eight sections of the vase that you glued together - rather like peeling a potato. Do not be afraid to use a fair amount of pressure. You will immediately see the creases blend into each other leaving a perfectly smooth vase.
We have not put instructions in with the kit as it is so easy to rearrange the layers of the Christmas tree to produce the topiary tree.
You may adjust the lengths of the straw spacers to suit your own taste. Just experiment with these until you are happy.
Thanks for buying one of our kits. We are often asked how to colour the trees, so I have prepared a 'war & Peace' document that may help you. Since writing this, we have discovered that spraying the tree black with our aerosol paint and then applying our iridescent glitter gives the most fantastic glittery green effect. I have added a section on how to do this below.
There are many ways that you can paint or colour the tree. The card that we use is a very high quality card and will take paint, Pro markers, Brilliance ink pads, Distress inks are fabulous.
Glue each of the 12 layers together (into 'bowl' shapes) and then lay them out in a large cardboard box. Take this outside to spray. Shake the black aerosol can extremely well for up to 3 minutes to make sure that it is thoroughly mixed. We find it helps to put suitable music on whilst shaking the aerosol can!!!
Spray approx 8 inches away from the 12 tree parts gently moving from side to side and moving from one end of the box to the other until all of the parts are completely covered in black paint. Leave to dry for about half an hour. (They should actually be dry enough to touch in about 15 minutes). You can turn the parts over and spray the underneath repeating the instructions if you want the underneath covered. There is enough spray in the can to cover 5 trees if spraying both sides or 10 trees if spraying one side.
When dry, pour a small amount of clear PVA glue into a saucer and pour the iridescent glitter into a separate plastic container. Using a small piece of sponge, dip this into the PVA glue and then gently dab it over one of the black painted tree layers until you have covered all of the black paint. (You may do a bit of the layer at a time which will prevent the glue drying out before you apply the glitter). As soon as the glue has been applied, dip the layer into the iridescent glitter making sure that all of the glue/black paint is covered. You can make use of a small paint brush to help apply the glitter. Lift out of the glitter and thoroughly shake off the excess back into the tray and you will be amazed at the result. Repeat for each of the 12 layers and let them dry thoroughly before continuing to assemble.