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Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree Tutorial

Welcome to the 101st Metamorphosis Monday!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope your holidays have been wonderful!

Recently, I created a Colonial Williamsburg style, apple tree centerpiece for our Christmas dinner table setting. See that table setting here: Christmas Tablescape with Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree Centerpiece

Make a Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree Centerpiece

 

I’ve had several requests in the past for a tutorial showing how this centerpiece is made…so when I made the centerpiece this year, I took pics along the way.

Make a Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree Centerpiece for Christmas

To create the apple tree shown above, you’ll need some greenery. The greenery I gathered from my yard included magnolia, holly and nandina berries, but you can substitute other types of greenery like boxwood, cedar or pine. I guess you could call the photo below my “Before” for this Met Monday.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

You’ll also need an apple tree form. Mine was given to me over 15 years ago by a friend with whom I worked. I’m not sure where she found it. They usually have them at the Williamsburg Marketplace online, but when I checked this evening I couldn’t find them. They may be temporarily sold out due to the Christmas holiday because they usually have them in stock. If you are interested in buying a form, check their site again later in the year and hopefully they will have them back in stock.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

If you know someone who is crafty or a woodworker, perhaps they can make one for you. As you can see, mine is just a wood cone, attached to a round wood base. It has what appears to be long finishing nails protruding at regular intervals around the cone. Note: The nail that is protruding from the very top of the form, in the center, is longer than all the other nails.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I always place the apple form on a towel so I can spin it around as I work without scratching the surface I’m working on. I bought two bags of small apples. I use small apples because large apples tend to be too big and make it difficult to create three rows around the tree, and still leave the top row of apples low enough to not interfere with the pineapple topper.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

To get started, just take an apple and push it onto a nail. I always start at the bottom and work my way up. I like to leave a small space under the apple for tucking in greenery later.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Here’s how it looked after the first row. If you finish and there’s a big gap between your first and last apple, you’ll need to pull the last apple you placed back off and find a fatter apple in your stash of apples, or re-adjust the ones that are on the tree over a little. You don’t want to pull apples off and on a lot because the more holes you create in your apples, the sooner the apples will begin to go bad. But don’t fret about that too much. I always end up having to adjust some apples and my trees still last well over a week…even close to two weeks. I don’t remove the stems from the apples since they don’t seem to interfere in any way.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

A view from the top…

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Start a second row of apples around your tree. I always stagger the rows but inevitably some apples will end up directly over other apples. Again, don’t worry about that…we aren’t shooting for perfection here. :) I don’t leave a space between the rows of apples (or at least, I don’t do so intentionally) because I don’t tuck greenery underneath the apples within the apple tree itself. I only do that under the first row of apples.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

In this pic, I’m starting the third row. As I’m working, I’m spinning the towel around and around with the tree sitting on top of it. It slides very easily so the work goes quickly. The whole tree only takes about 25-30 minutes to assemble.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Here’s how it looks with the third row completed…

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

A view looking down with all the apples in place…

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I used almost all of the apples in both bags…just had four left over.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I always purchase the smallest pineapple I can find to use for the top. It’s hard to find a small one sometimes. A really big pineapple can tend to overwhelm your apple tree. I don’t go from store to store looking, though. I just buy the smallest I can find wherever I’m shopping. Also, try to use a pineapple that has pretty foliage on top. You don’t want the top of the pineapple to be too crushed or too beat up, if you can help it.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I always pull the holly I use from this large holly bush in my yard. In years past, it would be covered in berries, but for the last few years it has had very few. I think it could be because it is being shaded by a huge oak tree growing nearby.

So, with holly at the ready, I got to work…

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I cut little 4-5 inch pieces and tucked them in between the base and the first row of apples and in between the apples….really just anywhere there seems to be a good size gap.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Here’s how it looked after I had filled in with some of the holly. I don’t use a glue gun…the holly will usually stay by itself. If a piece falls out occasionally, just tuck it back in again.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Another view…see the gaps where I still need to add holly or greenery? You could also use boxwood in between the apples and that would be beautiful.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I usually cut a few magnolia leaves to put underneath the tree. If you don’t have magnolia in your area, just gather some other type of greenery…maybe cedar or pine. I had just tossed them on the table here to show you about how many I had gathered.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I spread the magnolia leaves out in a circle pointing outward and forming sort of a star shape. Then I place the apple tree on top of the leaves. Just adjust the leaves as needed.

Tip: When you are ready to lift the apple tree to place it in the center of the table atop magnolia leaves or whatever greenery you are using, be very careful. The tree is quite heavy. I normally slide the tree on the towel to the edge of the table and pull it part way off the table so I can get under it to lift it up to place it in the center of the table. Another method to move the tree would be to delay placing the pineapple on the top and grab that tall center nail to aid you in lifting it to the center of the table. Then, just place the pineapple on top and add greenery around the pineapple while it’s in the center of the table.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Since my holly never seems to have many berries, I always cut berries from the nandina in my yard. I don’t use any of the greenery from my nandinas because I have found it wilts after only a day or two. Holly lasts a nice long time without wilting.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

I always place the berries at intervals around the base. I tried tucking some in around the top (see below) but didn’t like the way that looked, so I removed them.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Last year I added a ribbon around the top and I really liked how that looked, so I did it again this year. A red ribbon might have been a better choice, or perhaps even a plaid one. I just reused the sheer gold ribbon I already had. So here’s my “After” photo.

Make a Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree Centerpiece

And here’s how it looked in the center of this Christmas table setting. You could also create this centerpiece using apples and limes or apples and lemons…or even all pears. I think the combinations are really almost limitless. It just needs to be a fruit that is small enough to do at least three rows around the cone. I don’t think two rows would look as nice as three.

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

Last year, when I showed my apple tree on my Christmas tablescape, Kimberly, who reads BNOTP, decided she would create a similar tree for a different occasion…a bachelorette party. I had often thought of using the form for other events or holidays, so I was excited to see what she would create.

Kimberly went with a pink and green theme for her party…and here’s how it turned out. How fun is this! Now unless they are growing pink pineapples somewhere, I’m guessing Kimberly painted the pineapple. I love it with the flowers tucked in between. :) Great job, Kimberly…and thanks so much for sharing this photo!

How to make a Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Table Setting with Apple Tree Centerpiece

 

Update: Here’s how the tree turned out in for Christmas 2011 made with lemons and limes. View this table setting here: Christmas Table Setting with a Colonial Williamsburg Lemon-Lime Tree Tree Centerpiece

Colonial-Williamsburg-Lemon-and-Lime-Tree_wm

 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Looking forward to seeing your Before and Afters!


Metamorphosis Monday:
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Comments

  1. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says:

    Thanks for hosting this blog party. Your apple decor is so pretty; I never would have thought about that.

  2. Confessions of a Plate Addict says:

    Hi Susan! I remember seeing it in person at your cookie exchange party and I can vouch for the fact that it is impressive! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed our wonderful little surprise on Christmas day! It was a first white Christmas for me! Happy week!…hugs…Debbie

  3. What a lovely apple tree. Love the other variations too! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post,
    Kathy

  4. Thanks for the tutorial — I always wondered how on earth those things were held together…

    Your table is beautiful as always. Love the green stemware.

  5. Brayton Homestead Interiors says:

    wow -how truly beautiful! and how nicw for the lesson.-thanks
    Karen

  6. Love the tutorial! thank you! You are the best. The last time I made one, my MIL and I put oranges and apples together. I saw one done with crab-apples that was so cute!

    We have lots of snow, did you get any?

    Mary
    From Virginia

  7. You explained that so well. Thank you for taking the time to document each step. Hope you had a wonderful day.

  8. I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Susan! So glad to hear you have had such a Merry Christmas, and looking forward to a very Happy New Year! I LOVE this form…is it a Southern idea? I have never seen this kind of base/idea way out West..but rest assured I will be copying it too (like everything you do lol)and sending you pics. Sent my daughter home today :( but look forward to sharing ideas with you…
    Hugs and Happiness
    Lisa

  10. Jacqueline says:

    That is some heavy duty hardware! I can see it being used in a lot of different ways. Thanks for the great tutorial. I know tutorials take quite a while to put together!

  11. Designs By Pinky says:

    Beautiful, Susan! Thanks for the tutorial! I also love the tree done with the cloved fruit!!! XO, Pinky

  12. Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I love what you did with the apples and pineapple, very impressive. So many variations too, and the base will last from year to year. This is a "must try."
    Thank you for hosting, I'm looking forward to checking out all the talent.
    Happy Holidays to you;-)

  13. Thanks for sharing this again, Susan. I remember it from last year and it is just gorgeous….Christine

  14. Glenda/MidSouth says:

    Pretty! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.
    Have a great week.
    Glenda

  15. wonderful centerpiece.

  16. martinealison says:

    Merveilleux et merci de nous montrer comment vous avez réalisé ce chef d'oeuvre.
    Bisous et bonne année à vous.

  17. Summerland Cottage Studio says:

    Thank you for sharing all the crafty goodness and inspiration !

  18. Patricia Torres says:

    Oh thats such a lovely… gorgeous center peice!!

    here is wishing you the best for the festive season!

  19. Kim @ Second Time Furniture says:

    Wow! The apple centerpiece is so pretty! Thanks for hosting the party! :)

  20. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Your apple tree centerpiece is just wonderful. My mind is spinning with other options for using the idea all throughout the year. Thank you for all your great ideas.
    CAS

  22. Angela McInnis says:

    So pretty! I have a Wm'burg cone also. It was given to me years ago, but mine doesn't have the circle piece at the bottom. That's a very good idea…I will add one! Also,thanks for hosting your Monday party!
    Angela

  23. tales from an oc cottage says:

    How cool are those! {I love the pink one…I can't help myself! ;}

    m ^..^

  24. very merry vintage style says:

    This is amazing… what a neat idea! Thanks for hosting–
    Mary

  25. I made one of these one year for my mother-in-law's birthday. Since her birthday is in Oct. I used little mini pumpkins and small gourds. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

  26. Susan,

    I used to do this Williamsburg centerpiece for years at Christma time.I would set i out on the porch at night in the cold so the apples and pineapple would stay fresher longer. I live in Florida now and you've inspired me to do the centerpiece again, butI'm thinking about doing it in lemons. Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Susan,
    I used to do this Williamsburg centerpiece every year when I live in Ohio. At night I would set it outside on the porch,so it would stay fresher longer. You've inspired to do it again now that I'm in Florida for most of the year,so I think I'll do lemons instead of apples. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. I suggest you start off with the whole thing on a lazy Susan (not you of course)and just spin it to work on it then place the whole lazy Susan in the center of the table. Easy to pick up and move and you just cover it with the greenery.

  29. Chari at Happy To Design says:

    Hi Susan…

    Well my friend, I'm so glad to hear that your Christmas was wonderful! Ours was as well…and God it GOOD!!!

    Susan, I think your apple/pineapple Christmas centerpiece is absolutely fabulous! I would love to try creating one some time…thank you so much for doing a tutorial for us! Your centerpiece…absolutely gorgeous and ohhh sooo perfect for your fabulous Christmas table! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us today…and thank you so much for hosting MM!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  30. lvroftiques says:

    Gorgeous Susan! Thanks for the tutorial. I don't think it would be very hard to make that apple tree….Maybe I could persuade my hubby….*winks* Vanna

  31. Lady Katherine says:

    I have always loved this centerpiece! I made one 20 some years ago, but I did not use a pineapple, yours is wonderful! Kimberly did a great pink and green centerpiece. Creative! Who would thought to paint the pineapple pink. Looks great

  32. ~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch says:

    Your talent never ceases to amaze and inspire me! I hope my blog fits the theme for today – it is such a big new change for me, I thought it might work.

  33. mustard seeds says:

    I have one of those bases in the attic. Thanks for the tutorial, susan. You table is beautiful with the apple centerpiece. I love the pink and green one too, and that orange clove one…I bet that smells marvelous!

  34. Serendipity Chic Design says:

    You lined those apples up so perfectly! I never would have been able to get them that straight! Looks beautiful!

    Take care,
    Lisa

  35. Hi Susan,

    You really do the BEST tutorials! Great photos, explanations, and helpful hints throughouts. I laughed at your comment on the pink pineapple (I was thinking, "What???"). ;)

    I hope your Christmas was a joyous one and that your new year is blessed with vibrant good health, true happiness, abundance, and treasured moments!

    Fondly,
    Bill

  36. Susan,
    Thank you again for the inspiration. You are so creative! Thank you for MM…
    Blessings,
    Cindy

  37. Farmer's Wyfe says:

    That' so pretty! Thanks for sharing. It's funny b/c I had one of those things a few years back: had no idea what it was as I got it at a yard sale. I used it to display earrings at a craft sale! :) I wish I had kept it now: it is pretty when used the way it's supposed to be!!!

  38. Liz@http://infusewithliz.blogspot.com/ says:

    That was great to read and now I understand how it's done! Great job…Liz

  39. Fifi Flowers says:

    Better LATE than never… FUN to share paintings that were metamorphosed from photos… ENJOY!

  40. Susan, I love that centerpiece. It reminds me of a cranberry project I did years and years ago. I might have to tackle that one next year ;)

    Michelle
    New England Style

  41. i have one of these…you have inspired me to use it next year…the centerpiece is stunning! xoxox thanks, Jennifer aka Gigi

  42. Lynn@ The Vintage Nest says:

    I have had one of these forms for many many years and the finished project is always so beautiful. I think it is one of the prettiest Christmas decorations ever. I use short needled Virginia pine and it fills in between the apples so nicely. Your table is just gorgeous and thanks so much for the tute. Happy happy New Year.

  43. Love the apple tree!
    CAS

  44. Jeanne Moyer says:

    I have loved these centerpieces since childhood. Every year I say I am going to make one, and every year when I think about it the cones are sold out. Scouring eBay and see different sizes. Is your apple cone 12 inches?

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