Make a Retro Style Christmas Tree With Upcycled Toy Rings

I have been thinking of crafts and ideas to do with plastic toy rings for at least five years.

Somehow, even as my kids get older and grow up, these plastic cupcake toppers, goodie bag fillers, and trick or treat trinkets keep multiplying, and I have used them to make custom “bat bling” jewelry and geeky versions of vintage costume jewelry trees.

I’m always looking for ways to use these toy rings for something creative, especially ideas my youngest kid can make. All images: Lisa Tate

As I’m seeing much of the cool mid-century style popping up in holiday decorating, I thought this would be a good year to make very easy “modern retro” tree using some upcycled plastic rings as a base.

Plastic toy rings and a Styrofoam cone are the main parts of a retro tree decoration.

You will only need some plastic rings, paint (spray paint or acrylic craft paint), and a Styrofoam cone (about 12″ in height).

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Take most of your plastic rings and paint them one color. Green is good for more tradition trees, or pink or baby blue works for some retro looking trees. Kids can also opt to just leave all the rings as in for a colorful creation.

Find a few or the rings and either leave them as is, or add paint glitter or rhinestones to them to act as the “ornaments.” The fake jeweled rings work well for this.

Once all the painted rings are dry, add a small amount of glue to the ring part of each one, and push them into the tree. We added the “ornament” rings first, and then filled in the remainder of the tree area. If there is any extra space you want to fill in you can use plastic pony beads, glitter, rhinestones, paint, bells, or other little trinkets you want to include.

Top if off with a favorite ring as the “tree topper,” glued in place.

Paint the rings, if you want, stick them in place on the cone and top them off one more ring for a “tree topper.”

These are really fun project for younger crafters, as there isn’t too much skill needed to push rings into the Styrofoam. These look cool as party centerpieces and decorations, and kids can use them for handmade gifts for someone special.

Remember, this is the year to make small gifts, and when it is something unique made with extra creativity, it will leave a big impression.

Kitschy plastic rings painted bright colors go well with retro and mid-century style decorations.
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This post was last modified on December 5, 2020 4:52 pm

Lisa Tate

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with nearly 25 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. She and her husband, a history and world geography teacher, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.

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