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DIY Christmas Tree Decor

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Christmas Tree Decor

Quick & Easy DIY Christmas Tree Decor using an old spindle as the base.

I’ve said it before; some of my best ideas come from failure! Last year I tried to make actual bottle brush trees and failed miserably. This year I decided to try again but with my interpretation. And so, on that note, let me introduce you to my DIY Christmas tree decor. They are so much better than I had hoped for! The fact that they are so quick and easy to make is a bonus. I think you’re going to have fun making these!

Hello! I’m Lisa from The Old Tree Cottage. Creating upcycled decor has always been something I love to do. I especially love the creative challenge of bringing things together to make something new.

Gather the supplies for the DIY Christmas tree decor

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link.

1. Getting the base of the Christmas tree ready

Your spindles will probably differ from mine, so mark where you feel they will look best before you cut them. My preference is to make the trees in sets of three at different heights.

  1. Drill a 1/4″ hole into the top of the spindle, 3/4″ to 1″ deep. If you don’t have a drill press for this, make sure to hold the drill as straight as possible.
  2. Before you glue, checking to ensure the dowel is sitting straight is always a good idea. If the dowel isn’t sitting straight (it happens!), take a slightly larger drill bit and re-drill the hole, giving you some wiggle room to straighten it.
  3.  Add hot glue into the hole and insert the dowel. Add more glue if there’s space between the hole and the dowel.
  4.  Scuff sand the spindles to help the paint adhere better.
  5.  Paint the dowel and the top of the spindle brown. Let dry. 

2. Paint and distress the base of the Christmas trees

Painting spindles for the base of the trees.
  1. Paint the base white and let dry. Apply a second coat and let dry. I also like adding some white here and there to the brown dowel. If you’d like a more chippy worn-out look to the paint, dry the last coat with a heat gun to cause the paint to bubble.
  2.  If you’d like, add accent colours around the base.
  3.  To finish the base, take 100-150 grit sandpaper and lightly distress.
  4.  I added whitewash over the accent colours to give them a more worn, vintage feel, but you do you!

3. Making the trees using garland

There are two ways to make these trees. The one shown in the photo will become a thinner-looking tree with the branches pointing down when done. It also uses less garland. I didn’t take a photo of the other way to make the trees because it just looked like a blob in the photo, but I’ll explain how in option two below. I should also mention that some garland is much thinner, making option two better if your garland isn’t “full” looking.

Option 1: Make the tree by folding over a 7″ length of garland

  1. Cut a piece of garland into a 7″ length.
  2. Starting from the middle point on the dowel, add hot glue all the way around, working your way up to and including the flat top.
  3. Quickly fold the garland over the top of the dowel and press it down the dowel on all sides. There is no delicate way to do this; scrunch it all over, and add more glue if you’ve missed spots.
  4. At this point, it probably looks like the worst-shaped Christmas tree ever! But that’s where the next step comes in.

Option 2: Twirl the garland around the dowel

  1. Starting from the middle point on the dowel, add hot glue all the way around, working your way up to and including the flat top.
  2. Next is to twirl the garland around the dowel, beginning in the middle of the dowel.
  3. Twirl the garland around the dowel about three times and gently push it down to pull it closer together. Do this until you get to the top.

4. Trim the garland into a tree shape

  1. Starting at the base of the tree, angle the scissors so they start at the widest point and then angle towards the top of the tree. Repeat this process until you work your way all around the tree.
  2. Now fluff the tree all over and trim any stray garland. You may have to repeat this step a few times.
  3. If needed, trim the top of the tree to give it more of a point.
  4. Since I was using plain green garland, I used white paint to lightly brush it all over the tree, starting from top to bottom.
  5. You may find after painting the trees that you need to trim some more rogue pieces of garland.

That is all there is to it!

They’ll make great gifts, or keep some for yourself. If you make things to sell, they are a great addition!

DIY Christmas Tree Decor. Vintage looking Christmas trees with a wooden dowel and painted spindles for the base in white, green and red.

These are some examples of how I finished my trees. I also left some white. The wonderful part about creating something handmade is you get to decide how you want it to look! You could also consider putting your trees in something other than a spindle.

If you like, check out more tutorials, and I’ll see you in the next project! Oh! And don’t forget to comment to let me know how your trees turned out!

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