I make no secret of the fact that we both absolutely love Christmas. Everything about it from welcoming the family back for a feast of fun and merriment to putting up the Christmas decorations. A Christmas without decorations is unthinkable in my view … but they don’t have to cost the earth.
We were in John Lewis a few weeks back and spotted a delightful wooden Christmas tree made from what appeared to be scrap wood.
So it got me to thinking I might have a go at making my own by recycling an old pallet I had hanging around. On closer inspection the wood was sound and was weathered over time to a silver patina … a bit like oak when it’s been exposed to the weather.
If you want to have a go at making your own you’re going to need a regular old palette which you can pick up from your local builders merchant or building site. Most builders I know are more than happy to get rid of them. But do ask as some have to go back to the suppliers.
You’ll also need a length of 1\2 inch dowel approximately 30 inches long which you can get from any of the major DIY stores. This is for the stalk that runs up the middle.
You’re also going to need a few basic tools like a hand saw (table saw would be quicker) some regular wood glue, a drill and a large drill bit capable of drilling a hole to take the dowel.
The construction is pretty basic. All you need to remember is this is shabby chic which basically means it doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact we’re looking for anything other than perfect.
If you take a closer look at the pics you’ll see the element’s that make up the tree are:
- Two base sections glued together with a simple half lap joint
- A central stem made from the 1\2 inch dowel
- Spacer blocks for in between the branches. (2 x 2 inch pieces cut from the longer pieces of the pallet)
- A bunch of branches made from thin strips of inch and a half pallet wood
It really doesn’t matter in which order the pieces are made. This is how I approached the construction of my tree.
- Prepare two pieces of timber 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches by 18 inches for the stand of the tree.
- Mark a line in the centre of each piece and measure an inch and a quarter back on either side from this centre point. The gap is the exact width of the other piece that will form the half lap. (If you’re not sure what a half lap is the internet is full of videos that show exactly how it’s done)
- To add a little style to the stand add a taper from the middle to the outside. To do this measure from the top of the piece and put a pencil mark a quarter of an inch down at each end
- Draw a line from the mid section we marked earlier to this mark. This should produce a gradual taper. Do the same on all four ends of the stand and you’ll have a nice taper on all four sides.
- Cut a half lap on each piece making sure you cut on the top of the stand and not on the bottom as I did with my first attempt!
- Next drill a hole in the centre of the top section of the stand ready to take the dowel and glue the two pieces of the half lap and leave to dry.
- Prepare the branches by sawing a series of strips about an inch and half wide and approximately 3mm thick. The longest lengths are 24 inches and the shortest at the top are around 3 inches. You don’t need to be too accurate just so long as you make plenty of branches as you’re going to need around 30 pieces in total. Also bear in mind looking at the tree the branches get shorter as you make your way up the tree. To make it easier I made a triangle template from MDF of the shape I wanted and used this as a guide for the width of the branches. I then took each strip and cut it to the width of the shape. Each section has 3-4 branches and is separated by a small spacer. Also another tip is to make plenty of spare branches!
- Find the mid point of each branch and drill a half inch hole through the centre for the dowel.
- Now the fun bit … start building your tree by simply sliding the branches and spacers onto the stem in whatever configuration you fancy.
- Finally finish your tree with a little white paint to give it that Chrismassy feel, or alternatively you could leave it natural. As you’ll see from the pics I rather over did it with the spray can and wish I’d left more of the wood natural. I’m going to make another one and the plan is to leave it natural.
Hey presto you have your own shabby chic Christmas tree! And all from an old redundant palette. Not bad eh!
If you fancy having a go please send us your pics as we’d love to see how you get on.