Merry Christmas Eve! Now that my Harry Potter tree is officially officially done, it’s all ready for viewing! Well, it’s *mostly* done. Next year, I’m going to be adding a custom tree stand that, if it looks like what I’m imagining – will be amazing!
When I decided to create a Harry Potter-inspired tree this year, I was torn between a natural green tree – like those in the Great Hall at Hogwarts – and a glimmering golden tree. As soon as I saw this little pre-lit tree, I knew my answer. And I named him Felix. Obviously.
I had planned to top Felix with my Hedwig topper that I already had, but when I was talking to my friend Jen about ideas, I brainstormed having Fawkes atop the tree with his tail wrapping down around the tree as a fiery, feathery garland. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, and this snuggly plush Fawkes from Wizarding World of Harry Potter found a new home.
Since Fawkes isn’t actually a tree topper, I had to modify him to sit on the tree securely. I decided that the best option for him to sit firmly was an empty toilet paper roll. First, I closed off one end of the roll, so that the branch couldn’t go too far into the topper. I just used some extra cardboard glued firmly to the end. Next, I performed minor surgery on Fawkes by cutting him open under his tail, behind his legs, and inserting and empty toilet paper roll – open end facing out. Then, I just hot glued the edges of Fawkes’ feathers to the opening of the toilet paper roll. That’s it – easy peasy, and now he’s very secure.
This is Fawkes’ beautiful tail, which I absolutely love, and I’m quite proud of. When I first got Fawkes, his tail was just the red and black striped bits of felt. It was a great tail for a stuffed toy, but a bit paltry for a topper, so I built the tail up with real feathers in red, black, golden brown, and orange. Then, to turn his tail into a long garland, I attached two red feather boas and wrapped them down the tree. I also added some orange, yellow, and gold feathers into the boa, which taper off as the garland goes down the tree. At the very bottom of the tree, I placed several loose red feathers on the branches, as though Fawkes’ tail were shedding just a bit.
Now it’s time for ornaments! I filled the tree with all things Potter – my floating book ornaments, patroness, stars, potions, even cauldrons, and of course Harry’s black, round glasses.
Fawkes and his tail offered a beautiful glow pop of color, but I was also inspired to handprint these red and gold ornaments for a little added pop. The design for these were influenced by some beautiful peacock ornaments I saw online. I couldn’t find any in shades of red, so I made painted my own.
For Christmas 2013, we had the joy of visiting the Warner Brothers Studio Tour during Christmastime. While we were there, I fell in love with the trees in the Great Hall, so I decided to use them for some of my inspiration for my little tree…
I covered Felix in glittering moons, golden stars, and gilded birds, just like on the Hogwarts trees. I also add shimmering gold sprigs that burst out of the tree like Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-bangs! These were some of my favorite details.
Of course, I couldn’t forget the golden snitch! Using Jen’s tutorial over on Epbot as a guide, I created my own version of quidditch’s sneakiest ball.
I also used Jen’s tutorial for my very own broomstick ornaments, but since I don’t have the tools for sanding down real wood, with of m broom handles is sculpted from polymer clay. I still need to add the footrests to all of my brooms, but that’s a project for next year.
I also made several other potions in a variety of colors. For the potions themselves, I used hand sanitizer mixed with food coloring and glitter. The hand sanitizer acts as a perfect suspension fluid for the glitters, keeping them from sinking to the bottom. Plus, it’s nice and clean, so it’ll never mold or get icky. Once all the bottles were filled, I hot glued the corks in place, added some snazzy labels, and screwed an eye hook into the top of each one.
One of my favorite features are my brewing, bubbling, and glowing cauldrons. These were inspired by Brooke Johnson, and were super easy to make. Just place a battery-operated tea light in each cauldron, add some fluff n’ stuff, and hang. Voila, magic!