Here is the finished tree in all its magical glory!
Jen's tree and mine have only two things in common: a cauldron base and the floating candles. Everything in between is totally and awesomely different!
I chose to have the Sorting Hat as my tree topper, with a wand perched against it. I found some glittery floral thingies at my local craft store and stuck that through the wand to be all magicky.
I followed Jen's tutorial for the floating candles, using hot glue to mimic wax drippings. The candles I found were a bit different than the ones she used, so I had to be a bit creative with the "wax" so that the screw-in lids wouldn't show. I also added some waxy bits to the bottom of the candle to hide the shape of the plastic. And then I just painted a few coats of Antique White acrylic paint to cover the glue.
To hang them from the ceiling, I twisted 8 lb. fishing line between the top of the candle and the lid, and then screwed the lid down to keep the line in place. Then I stapled the fishing line to the ceiling, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and there are a bunch of rogue staples just hanging out among the popcorn texture where I missed.
For the rest of the tree, I shopped around for a few different things.
I found this stuffed owl and perched him in the tree with a pair of round glasses. I wanted to display the glasses, and this was the only way they really stood out among the rest of the decorations. Black framed glasses against a green tree don't really do much. I did try painting the lenses of one pair, but that didn't work either. They just looked like two white circles from a distance. Good thing I bought a box of eight.
Jen created her own broomstick ornaments using twigs and craft tape, but I knew I didn't have the time or patience to do that, so I bought some miniature brooms instead. You can find them here. The brooms I received are much darker, as you can see. I thought I was going to have to paint the bristles darker, but luckily, I didn't have to.
I found a red bird ornament at Target that I knew would make a perfect phoenix. All I had to do was brush some bronze paint onto its feathers.
I knew I wanted to have the doe Patronus on the tree, but I had a hard time finding the right doe ornament among the Christmas selection at the local department stores. I could only find stags, or does covered in glitter and bows and mistletoe. So I ended up purchasing a little plastic doe doll and painted a few coats of white paint on it. I couldn't figure out how to hang it up on the tree though, so I improvised and twisted some gold thread around its neck and used an ornament hook to attach it to the tree. I'll probably figure out something better later.
These lovely little cauldrons are nothing more than plastic party favors with a rainbow color-changing tea light and some polyfill stuffed inside. They look spectacular when they're all lit up on the tree.
As you can see from the full-tree pictures, there's a witch's broom stuffed into the lower branches. I thought it was a nice addition and adds visual interest. Also, more of the same sparkly twisty things spouting from the wand are tucked into the top part of the tree.
And finally, the cauldron. Jen made her own out of a plastic planter, some cardboard, duct tape, and paper mache, but again, I didn't want to spend time making something if I could find a suitable alternative, and lo! I found this pot at Home Depot that was cauldrony enough that I thought it would work. My husband made a new tree stand to fit inside (similar to the one Jen's husband made). Once the tree was in, I stuffed some polyfill in the top, hid some yellow tealights, and I was done!
I have never been so excited to decorate for Christmas. So a big Thank You! to Jen at Epbot for the inspiration.
Anyway, a big Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays and/or Winter Celebration of Your Choice! I hope you all have a spectacular end to the year!
A Very Harry Potter Christmas Tree
Overall cost: ~$200
Witch's broom: $9
Glasses: $8 (for a set of 8)
Tiny brooms: $10
Tiny cauldrons: $7
Sparkly bits: $11
Sorting Hat: $17 (but I already owned it)
What's nice is that most of this can be reused for Halloween, or other things, and some of it is going to decorate my office once Christmas is over. Some items were a bit more expensive than I would have liked, but I was determined to have a Harry Potter themed tree, so I spent it anyway, and considering that the total cost was about the same price as most pre-lit Christmas trees, I think I did all right.