Tutorial – How to make a wooden christmas tree

Five years ago I took 2 large pieces of cardboard, cut out a christmas tree, and wrote a tutorial about it. That cardboard christmas tree lasted a few years, but in the end it got recycled together with yesterday’s newspaper. The year after, we decided to go for the same theme, but bigger, and with a longer expiration date. A wooden christmas tree. In green MDF. Lights on, and Hello christmas!

Kerstboom uit MDF

Only downside: decorating options for a wooden christmas tree are limited… So this year, we went for an upgrade. What if we painted the tree with chalkboard paint, so that our boy could draw on it? And what if we painted it with magnetic paint, so we fi-nal-ly have the perfect place to hang those christmas cards? Wouldn’t that be great?

Wooden christmas tree

Yes, I want a wooden christmas tree!

No problem! If you are a tiny bit handy, you can easily make one yourself. Or, if you are like me and you need to stay away from saws for your fingers’ sake, you can also get your husband to do it, of course 😉

What do you need?
  • 2 MDF boards. Ours were 110 cm wide, and 180 cm high, but you can choose whichever size you want
  • A ruler
  • A set square
  • A pencil
  • An electric screwdriver
  • Some screws
  • A jigsaw
  • Sanding paper
  • Magnetic paint
  • Green chalkboard paint. Mind you, we had to have this made. Apparently chalkboard paint comes in all colours, except green.
  • Sturdy tape
The preparation – How to draw a wooden christmas tree?
  1. On the MDF board, determine where the centre of the christmas tree should come, and draw a perpendicular line across the lenght of the board.
  2. Divide the total lenght in parts. For our tree that is 180 cm tall, we have 3 parts of 50 cm high, and one that is 30 cm high. Mark these parts on the centre line that you drew in the previous step, and for each part, make sure to draw a perpendicular line across the whole width of the board
    Tip: If you are using different measurements, make sure that the top of the tree is roughly 1/3 shorter than the other parts.
  3. Mark the total width of each part on the horizntal line. For our tree, that’s 110 cm at the bottom, narrowed down to 84 cm, 60 cm and 34 cm.  This is the total width of each part. Make sure to divide it evenly on both sides of the vertical centre line.
    Tip: If you are using different measurements, keep the following formula in mind: (Bottom width of tree minus number of vertical parts) divided by the number of vertical parts. For our tree, that meant (110 cm – 4 cm) divided by 4 = 26,5. The reductions we actually used were 26 cm, 24 cm and 26 cm.
    Wooden christmas tree
  4. On each horizontal line, place a mark at 5 cm from the outside in. You will need these to draw the corners of the christmas tree.
  5. Connect the dots to draw a real christmas tree.
    Kerstboom uit MDF
How to saw 2 equal parts
  1. Put the MDF board on which you made the drawing on top of the second MDF board.
  2. Take your electric screwdriver, and screw a few screws through both boards, to stick them together. Make sure not to do so inside your drawing, it needs to be outside the drawing (you’ll be sawing the parts with the holes off so they won’t be part of your tree).
  3. Take your jigsaw, and cut out your christmas tree. Don’t spend too much time on the corners yet, we’ll finish those in the next step.
    Tip: Cut round the whole tree first, it will make it easier once you need to be more precise.
    Kerstboom uit MDF
  4. Now that you’ve cut out the christmas tree, you also have cut off the parts with the screws, and your boards are no longer connected. Put them on top of each other, and stick them together with tape.  Do this very carefully, so the corners are perfectly matched.
    Kerstboom uit MDF
  5. Take your jigsaw again, and finish the corners.
    Tip: Round the corners, it will be easier, and it looks a lot nicer than having sharp corners.
  6. Measure how thick your boards are, and make a notch in the centre of each part. Make sure the notch is 2 to 3 mm wider than the actual width of the tree. The notch in the bottom part should also be higher than the notch in the top part. For our tree, the bottom notch is 104 cm, the top one is 76 cm. Kerstboom uit MDF
  7. Use your piece of sanding paper to sand all edges. This is to avoid rough patches and hitches.

There, you have finished your wooden christmas tree!

Kerstboom uit MDF

How to finish the wooden christmas tree
  1. Paint the tree with the magnetic paint. Make sure to add at least 3 layers.
    Tip: After each layer, test with a magnet how strong your tree is already. Based on that, you can decide whether more layers are needed or not.
  2. Paint the tree with a layer of chalkboard paint. One layer is enough, otherwise the magnetic paint will no longer work.
    Wooden christmas tree
  3. Start drawing! And get the magnets out!
    Wooden christmas treeWooden christmas treeTip: DON’T use chalk marker to draw on your christmas tree. It’s almost impossible to wipe, and I’ve learned that the hard way. If you do make that mistake, use a magic eraser, that does work wonders.

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