Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Upcycled Tabletop Christmas Tree

Need a few tabletop decorations for the holidays...or something to keep the kids busy (with a little adult help)?  This is a pretty inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to accomplish both of those things. The only thing I needed to purchase was a dowel.

Here's what you'll need to assemble this tabletop tree

1.  Magazine pages in Christmas colors or black and white or anything that works for you.  I was gifted a Paula Deen Christmas edition magazine that had several pages that looked like wrapping paper so I used those along with a couple of sheets that had pictures of Christmas trees
2.  A drill with a 1/4" drill bit
3.  A 1/4" dowel, cut to the height you'd like your tree (I bought mine pre-cut)
4.  A larger plastic lid, I'm using one from a 20 pound jug of cat litter.
5.  And a few basics; scissors, hole punch and a glue gun

To get started, you'll need to assemble the base.  To make sure that your drill doesn't slip off center in the next step, use a hammer and nail to punch a starter hole in your plastic lid.  Now, use that hole as a guide to drill your hole.

Insert your dowel into the lid, set it on a flat surface and make sure your lid and the dowel all touch the surface.  Now add a bunch of hot glue all around the dowel, on the under side of the lid, to keep it in place.  Quickly place the base back on a flat surface and be sure the dowel is straight before the glue dries. 

Now you can start building your tree.  Cut your magazines pages along the longest length of the page into 2" strips, bring the two ends of one strip together and punch a hole.

Slide it - gently, it will be a snug fit - onto the dowel to the point were the "bough" just touches your work surface.

Continue to add strips to the dowel and space them out until you have the fullness that appeals to you and then add a bead of glue around the dowel both on top of and beneath the boughs

Now start on the second row.  You'll want to snip off about 3/4" from both ends of the strips that you use in this row, so bring the ends together as you did above and snip at 3/4".  Then punch a hole and slide it on to the dowel just the place where the bough touches the first row.

You'll add another layer that is the same length as the second row.  Then for rows 4-5 you'll snip about 1 1/4" off the ends and for the sixth row, slightly more that an inch and a half.  Of course, you can adjust these as you like.  Once you get to the top of the dowel, you can finish the top off with a holiday decoration or a vintage wooden button as I did below.

Make a few in different sizes and deck those halls!


  1. I love that you can make a tree out of almost anything. This one is cute!

  2. Thanks, I'm working on one using plastic soda bottles but need to work on finding the right adhesive.


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