I’m practically beside myself with yuletide joy because it’s time to deck all of the halls. And in my book, that festivity starts with the tree. Once the lights are on and the ornaments are hung, the tree topper takes its place on the very highest branch like a cherry on this delicious Christmas sundae.
Growing up in my house, getting to place the star on top of the tree was (and remains) a highly coveted task that rotates between siblings from year to year — so needless to say, I take tree toppers very, very seriously. So when Joanna first mentioned wanting to share a tree topper DIY this year, I was thrilled. We wanted to mix luxe details with rich texture, so we looked to some beautiful pieces of calf hair and finished it off with gold leaf and some easy-to-execute blanket stitching.
First things first: print out this star template and trace it onto the back side of both pieces of calf hair. You can adjust the size of the star using Photoshop or your computer’s printer settings. Then, use a nice, sharp pair of shears to cut out your stars. You might want to have a vacuum or lint roller handy, because the calf hair will definitely shed a little bit during this process.
Next, flip the stars over and trim any stray hairs you find. Once they’re nice and neat, match them together so that the correct points line up.
Then, use your leather punch on the second-smallest setting to punch holes around the edges of the stars, spacing them about 1/4″ away from the edge and about 1/2″ apart. Once all the holes are punched, go back with a needle and make sure all of the little leather pieces are clear of the holes.
Now it’s time for a little blanket stitch action! After you thread your lacing needle and knot the end of your twine, bring the twine up through one of the holes. Then, bring your needle back down to the bottom side and bring it up through the next hole. Pull the thread most of the way tight, then thread your needle through the loop and pull it tight. Give this quick YouTube video a watch so you can get a good idea of the motion.
Make sure to leave the bottom portion of the star open so that you can put it on the tree.
Once you’re done stitching, it’s time to add a little golden magic! Brush on some of your adhesive in an organic, speckled pattern. Let it dry a bit so it’s not super wet, but still tacky, and lightly lay the gold leaf on top of the adhesive. Brush away the excess and let the gold leaf dry.
Now all that’s left to do is put on some Christmas music, heat up some hot chocolate and quarrel over who gets to put this beauty on top of the tree!
photography by Meghan Klein.