Christmas Tree

It‘s that time of year again, and the end festive season year madness is about to kick off again. Needless to say that shops and malls are already kitted out with Christmas decorations and Boney M songs are ring out merrily from speakers.

Christmas decorations and Christmas trees are a little pricy this time of year, and can leave your festive budget a little less joyful and triumphant. In this month’s DIY Article I will show you a clever way of creating a rustic Christmas tree that can be used as an inside or an outside decorative merry piece. This DIY Christmas tree can be easily made with a few tools, some scrap wood/ pallet wood and some time. It is that easy!

 

You can go to your local hardware store’s off-cut wood section to find suitable sized wood pieces. Or if you are like me, you may just have some pallet wood left over from your last DIY project. The size of the Christmas tree can vary, to accommodate your particular space. You can make a mini one Christmas tree or a decent full size one- it really is up to you!

I had about 10 wood pieces, all ranging in more or less the same sizes: 1m in length, about 7 to 10 cm in width and about 1 to 2 cm thick. This is so my Christmas tree branches are more or less all the same size and are easy on the eye.

Materials you will need:

*Wood pieces x 10 all the same length, width and thickness.

* Wood screws no longer than the thickness of the wood pieces- I used 4.0x 40mm screws.

* Small nails, to hang the decor on the tree.

*Tape measure and Marker

*Safety glasses and gloves

*Paint of your colour choice and paint brush, I used a deep green paint to resemble the colour of aChristmas tree (This is optional, as you many also leave it unpainted for a rustic look.)

Tools that you will need:

* Standard Jig-saw, with a blade used for wood cutting

* Standard hand drill, with a Phillips drill bit to fit your screw heads

* A Hammer

Step 1: Laying your wood pieces out and working out the “Christmas tree” shape.

Find a decent floor space to work on; I worked outside in my garden. Lay out all of the 10 wood pieces in a row on the ground. Choose the longest, strongest wood piece for the spine of the tree, to

attach the other wood pieces (“Branches”) to later. I chose a “spine” piece of wood that was 114cm in length.

Take the “spine” piece of wood and lay that piece vertical across all the 9 x horizontal pieces of wood acting as the “branches”. Space the horizontal “branch” pieces of wood, so that they are evenly spaced along the length of the “spine” piece of wood. I used spacing of about 3-4cm; again this does not have to be a perfect measurement but the aim is to make the spaces look equal to the naked eye.

measuring 80cm mark 2014-10-17 14.55.22Step 2: Measuring the “branch” pieces of wood, from the longest length to the shortest top length.

This is where you are going to give your tree the “triangle” shape that is the “iconic” shape and recognised Christmas tree. Remember all your pre-school drawings of a Christmas tree? Ah…it’s all coming back to you now J

Since I had 9 x pieces of wood, to cut down into a progressive triangle shape, I then decided to make my first longest length (base of tree) a length of 90cm. I measured 90cm with the tape measure across the length of my base piece of wood, and marked a line at the 90 cm mark with a black permanent marker. Taking into account the 9 x pieces of wood (branches) and starting at a base length of 90cm, I went on to the next shorter piece and decided on every piece of wood till the last piece of wood, which I would take 10cm off the length. This way my calculations would make sure I didn’t run out of wood until I reached the top of the tree.

My next piece of wood above the “base” piece of wood measuring 90cm would now be 80cm in length. And the piece of wood above the piece measuring 80cm, would then be a length of 70cm . The piece of wood length above the 70cm length of wood would be... you guessed it...60cm in length! You get the picture, my lengths of wood would start at a length of 90cm, then 80cm, 70cm, 60cm, 50cm, 40cm, 30cm, 20cm and the last “branch” piece of wood at the top is 10cm in length. And you have your iconic Christmas tree triangle shape.

Step 3: Cutting all your pieces of wood “branches” at the measurement markings.

This is where you are going to grab your safety glasses and gloves; put them on as safety comes first before using any power tool. Also make sure that your work station is neat and free from obstacles.

If you don’t know how to use a Jig-saw tool there are many “how to videos” on the internet or get someone who knows how to use this tool and get them to show you. It is not as hard as it looks but you have to be careful.

Now is the fun part, this where you might feel like your Dad when you were a kid and used to see him work in the garage making those power tool noises. You will feel great!

Take each of the wood pieces and guide the Jigsaw along the marked line of your measurement marks, at a constant slow speed the wood will be cut by the blade and before you know it the first piece of wood is the length you want. Set the off cuts aside as to not get confused which wood pieces are the correct ones to use.

Continue in the same fashion with the remaining8 x pieces of wood, until they are all cut and ready to be attached and screwed into your wood “spine”.

2014-10-17 16.16.01Step 4: Attaching and screwing your cut branches to the “spine” piece of wood in the centre.

Lay out your “triangle tree” shape once again on the floor (with the correct spacing) and place the spine piece of wood as centre as you can.

Grab your safety gear once again, as you are going to use your hand drill with the Phillips drill bit secured in the trill. If you do not know how to use a hand drill there are many how to videos on the internet and you can always get someone who is experienced to show you how to use one. Again, safety comes first.

I used two screws for each wood piece and drilled the screws into the joining part of where the “spine” meets the “branch” pieces of wood, and worked my way up the triangle, starting at the bottom with the longest “branch” all the way to the top. Making sure each piece is secure.

Tip: To drill the screw in easier, I first gently hammered the top of the screw into the wood, then continued to drill the screw in- this helps with giving the screw a first initial bit of wood to grab on to.

Painted tree2014-10-20 09.45.49Step 5: Paint your tree and nail in the nails to hang the decorations on.

Finally, your tree is upright in a triangle shape and secured. Now you can paint it your desired colour or not paint it, it’s up to you. I painted my tree the classic dark green Christmas tree colour.

Let the tree dry, and once it has dried hammer nails onto the edges of the branches and a few in the centre.

These nails will help you to hang your Christmas decoration balls and tinsel on your DIY Christmas tree!

Decorate away to your hearts festive desire and you can even write festive greetings on the actual wood pieces. Get creative and have fun.

Put your finished tree inside or outside your house. And when your family and friends come over for some festive cheer, you can say do you know I made that!

As I always say “if you can go DIY, then why not!”

 

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