Friday, November 21, 2014

DIY Wood Slat Christmas Tree


Last week  I shared a sneak peak of the Merry and Bright Blogger Mash-up (A.K.A. a bunch of SUPER talented do-it-yourself bloggers teamed up, threw a party, and decided to invite me in on the action). I promised tutorials, and here is my first. (Psst... Printable cut-list below!)


I love this shot of our cocoa bar! (designed by The Crafted Sparrow and Dandelion Square). If you can tear your eyes away from the yumminess in the center of the shot, you may notice the wood tree on the right and the baby tree to the left. 


One of my projects for the party was to create DIY wood slat Christmas trees. Here's what I came up with. 


So, let me start by saying that I actually built 4 of these in 3 different sizes. The dimensions are different for each height, but the process is the same. 

The first step is to build your base. The bases are really simple to build. For the 6' tree, I cut a 2 x 4 into two, 40" long pieces. Then, I notched them together, using the same technique I used to build the base of this table


For the small, 23" trees, I notched together 14" 1 x 2. To secure the pieces together, use a healthy amount of wood glue and a few finish nails, making sure to avoid the very center.



The next step is to drill a hole for the stem. A wider stem gives you more stability, but means harder drilling and potential breakage. For the larger tree, I went with. 1 1/2" pine closet rod, cut to 6'. 


I also bought a 1 1/2" spade drill bit, but quickly discovered drilling that large of a hole with a spade but sucks. Fortunately, I had a light bulb moment, dug through my tool box, and discovered that the forstner bit that came with my *mortised hinge kit, also happened to be 1 1/2". After that, drilling hole became much easier. 

Drill a hole in the center of the base, and insert the stem. Time to cut the slats and blocks. To make your life way more easy, set up a small jig on your miter saw. Simply, cut your first block, lower the blade (while saw is unplugged!) and line up the cut block. Using a scrap piece of wood, create a "fence" next to the block, and clamp into place. This way you can make multiple cuts without having to measure each time. Life saver!


 On the larger tree, the slats were 1 x 3 furring strips (much cheaper than normal lumber) and for the spacer blocks, I used 2 x 4 studs, cut into 3 1/2" lengths. 

On the smaller trees, I went with pine lattice. You can find it in the trim section. 


I used the same lattice for my spacer blocks too.

*Big tip! Unless you want to spend the rest of your life drilling holes, try stacking blocks, taping them tightly together, and drilling them in bunches.


 

Make sure to cut some extra spacers. You WILL lose a few in the drilling process. Ask me how I know.



After the spacers are cut, its time to cut the slats. I've made printable cut lists for both the 6' tree and the 23" trees. You can find them HERE



The assembly process is pretty simple. Simply alternate slats and spacers, starting with the longest slat and working your way up. 


When you run out of blocks and slats, you'll notice extra stem on the top. You want that. You are going to slide everything up and have a space between the tree and base, just like a real tree. On the large tree, I made a topper from an extra spacer block, with the hole drilled only half way through. With the small trees, I found a perfect solution in the craft section of Wal-Mart.

They sell these little wood finials in a couple different sizes. I was able to find a bag of four that fit the 3/8" wood dowel I used for my stem, for around $2.



Attach the finial, or DIY topper, with a squirt of wood glue and let dry for several hours.



Make sure the finial is fully dried, pull the stem from the base, then slide each layer of spacer blocks and slats up, tightly.



Using a pencil, mark just under the last slat.



Push everything up, and drill a small hole through the stem.


For the small, push a small nail though the hole, holding the slats and blocks in place. For the large tree, I added an additional spacer block, and drove two screws, perpendicular to each other, through the block and into the stem.



Replace the stem into the base, and you're ready to decorate!



If your hole is a little too large, the tree may lean. You can fix that by driving a couple of screws through the base and into the stem. 




I'm a pretty simple kind of gal, but I love how the bare wood works like a blank canvass. Someone crafty could go to town decorating a pair of these.

What do you think? How would you style your DIY wood Christmas tree?




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4 comments:

  1. Your tree's were AMAZING!!! You are so talented my friend.

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  2. The inner five year old in me wants to run up to this tree and spin the branches around. lol What a fun Christmas tree!

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  3. Love this version of a Christmas tree. I like the rustic look so might distress and stain the wood a bit. Thanks for sharing!
    Apple Pie
    sisterswives.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was really tempted to stain it. I would love to see one with darker wood!

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