Lesson Learned: You’re never too old for the Children’s Craft section at Michaels!!
These trees add some rustic charm to your Christmas decor. They are fun to decorate with the little ones.. Or if you’re like me.. they make you feel like a kid all over again! I had so much fun making them. PLUS they are verrry cheap to make.. If you use pallet wood like I did, it’s practically free!
I’ll admit, the first two steps of this project involved Jason’s help.. because I’m not a fan of using a table saw or the circular saw. Hopefully you all have a “Jason” in your life!– OR the guts to use these power tools!!
A side note before we get started, any scrap wood will do.. You need strips that are about 1 1/2 inches in width! We just happened to have inherited a bunch of free pallets, so we used that!
Step 1 – Deconstruct Pallet
I planned to make these trees somewhat small in size, so I did not need long pieces of wood. Jason used a circular saw to cut either side of the pallet supports (basically where he could cut off full pieces of wood without nails in them). He ended up with about 6 planks per side.
Step 2 – Cut planks in half
The width of the pallet planks were too wide for each of the tree “branches” so I asked Jason to cut them in half. After a little moaning and complaining he agreed. It took him about 5 minutes to cut all pallet planks in half. Jason then went back to watching Football (Soccer to you and I), as I happily began creating my trees!
Step 3 – Create a triangle
Now that you have some narrow strips of wood, begin by cutting a triangle for the top of the tree. I played around and created a few different sizes. I liked the idea of different sized trees and it allows your to make them to dimensions you want. I suggest drawing out your cuts, rather than attempting a particular angle.
The triangle I drew happened to be at a 35 degree angle:
Once you have your top triangle created, use your miter saw to cut one side of the next strip of wood. Again, I cut mine at a 35 degree angle. Cutting one side will allow you to line one side up and mark how long your strip needs to be. Mark your strip so there is equal distance on each side.. see my picture above! This mark is where you will make your cut.
Step 4 – Cut remaining pieces
Repeat Step 3 to continue cutting the rest of the tree’s branches (Cut one angled edge, line it up with the previous piece, mark and cut). Cut each branch strip in order, working from the narrow top down to the wider bottom. I varied the total number of branches for the trees, some were 5 and some were 6 but you could do as many or a few as you wish.
YOU GUYS!!! Check me out conquering my fear of the miter saw!! And no, my winter jacket isn’t being worn for armor to protect me. It was cold out!
Once you have all of the branches cut, line them up in order. You can decide how large of a gap you want between each branch. For me, I liked the look of a small gap, and then decided I liked the look of no gap! The decision is yours! Below, I created a tree with no gap.
For the tree’s trunk, use a an extra strip of the pallet wood.. or any scrap wood you have. Again, the height of the trunk/tree is totally up to you! I’ll admit I never pulled out a measuring tape and measured any pieces of these trees. How fun is that?! (In a corny way ha!) Just eyeball a height that looks good to you!
Step 5 – Glue and Nail to Trunk
Aw yeah, and I conquered the nail gun!! Loving these power tools!
With the branches all lined up, flip them over and put a bead of wood glue down the center their backs. Lay the tree’s trunk over the line of glue. Then using a nail gun or hammer, place two nails into the back of each branch. Make sure your nails aren’t too long so that they won’t poke through the front! In the picture above, you’ll see how I lined up my branches, tree trunk and fired nails into the tree!
Step 6 – Glue and Nail on Stand
For the stand, use a square or rectangular piece of pallet wood.One full width piece of pallet wood would be perfect. Attach the base of the tree trunk with a little wood glue. Once you have the tree centered on your stand, place two nails through the bottom of the stand up into your trunk. You can see the rough size of the bases in the finished pictures below!
Step 7 – Sand
If you feel your pallet wood is super roughed up and sharp, I suggest using 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the tree out. Keeping the wood somewhat rough is fine if you are planning on painting the wood! It gives it some rustic texture!
If you want to stain them, I suggest doing a bit more sanding until they are clean and smooth.
Step 8 – Decorate
This is where your creative side can come out! These trees really are a blank canvas and you can decorate any way you wish. For the trees I created, I bought cheap acrylic paint from Michaels, Glitter Glue (Yes I felt like I was back in Elementary School but I love it) ., children’s stick-on stars and bows! It was hilarious standing in the children’s craft section, next to my fellow five year old friends, analyzing my choices of stickers and paint.
To attach the bows use your glue gun and a small blob of glue.
You can paint on some cute Christmas words or phrases. I simply sketched out what I wanted with a pencil and then used some acrylic paint and a small brush to add the color. For those of you who are into stenciling you could easily use a stencil to paint on the words!
I love these cute little stick-on stars I found at Michael’s. Yes these came from the children’s crafts section!!
For the dots I used a glitter glue pen. This totally brought me back to my primary school days!
After I had created a few different trees, I put them all together to create a little forest of Christmas trees. I love them and many of my family and friends have already asked me to make them trees!
What I love about this project is how easy they are to customize and add your own personal touch. There is no right or wrong way to decorate them, like there is no right or wrong way for the size of them.AND not to mention they are super inexpensive!!
Thank you for joining me and I hope these add a nice touch to your festive Christmas Decor!
For other DIY Christmas Decor ideas, click the picture below!
P.S.. If I’ve inspired you to take on this easy and cool project, I would love to see some pictures of your trees!!