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.

We wish you a washi Christmas

Washi Christmas

After 2 faithful years, our cardboard Christmas tree gave up on us. Not because it wasn’t sturdy enough, far from it, but because the renovation dust got a bit too much for it. So I gave it a proper fairwell and added it to the paper to be recycled.

So I searched for a new alternative. At that time, I hadn’t heard about adopting a tree yet. And since we still are a bit short in space, we decided to go for a washi tree instead. No space required, and both cat and toddler proof. Win-win.

Apart from a Christmas tree, a couple of reindeer seemed to be hiding in our washi tape stash as well.

Washi Christmas

Hubby was on a roll. Maybe I should put some washi tape underneath the Christmas tree…

Washi Christmas

The only downside is that I have no clue on how to add Christmas lights in a washi tree. So we added them to the cargo bike instead. Safety first.

Cargo bike Christmas

Ho ho ho!

Washi Christmas

(And just in case you were wondering why there is a cardboard box underneath the Christmas tree, let’s just say that I’m faster at wrapping presents than hubby.)

How to make a cardboard Christmas tree

christmas
Renovating a house while living in it kind of means that you are camping in your own home. And that means that most of your stuff is hidden away in the attic (and that the things you need will always be at the back and at the bottom of that attic, but that’s a different story).
It also means that Christmas decorations are hidden away in that far corner. I mean, did you ever take your Christmas gear on a camping trip? So when it’s the season to be jolly, it means I try to improvise on how to decorate the house a tiny bit without taking up too much room. Last year, this was the result:
Merry x-mas
And don’t worry, I did not waste any of those post-its. Each and every single one of them was reused as a grocery shopping list or to get my planning going.
This year, I wanted to do something with the pile of cardboard boxes we had lying around. We had just unpacked and assembled the cargo bike in Ikea style, so I had a big blank cardboard box to get going. Resulting in this Christboard tree:
Christboard tree / kerstonboom

And yes, it’s true. Only a quarter of the thing has been painted, and it’s covered in knee dents. But let’s just call that authenticity. And see it as a tip: Don’t sit on your cardboard while drawing the tree.

What do you need?

  • 2 large sheets of cardboard (105 cm / 42 in high, and 80 cm / 32 in wide)
  • 1 geometry triangle
  • 1 long ruler
  • 1 pair of scissors and/or 1 cutter knife
  • 1 cutting board
  • a couple of gold spray paint cans

How to make that tree

  1. Starting at the bottom corners, use your geometry triangle to measure a 30° angle, then draw a line measuring 20 cm (8 in).
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. From your new point, measure a downward angle of 25° and draw a line measuring 10 cm (4 in).
  1. From your new point, draw a line that’s parallel with the 30° angle from step 1. The line measures 20 cm (8 in).
  1. Teken vanuit het nieuwe punt een lijn naar boven die evenwijdig loopt met de lijn op 30°. Maak deze lijn 20 cm lang.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you reach the top of the tree.

    Note: The lines of the top will be slightly longer than 20 cm (8 in) to create a nice top.

How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Put the cardboard on your cutting board and use your long ruler and cutter knife to cut the tree out. Be careful when cutting the corners.

    Note: If your cardboard isn’t too thick, you can use a pair of scissors instead.

How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Use the cut cardboard as a template to draw the second part of the tree. Cut this part out as well.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. On both parts, measure where the centre point is, both in lenght and width.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. On part 1, draw a line from the top of the tree to the centre of the tree. On part 2, draw a line from the centre of the tree to the bottom of the tree.
  1. Measure how thick your cardboard is.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Use your geometry triangle to copy the thickness of your cardboard onto the centre line. In doing so, make sure that the centre line remains in the centre of the tree.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Cut the slit you just drew on both parts.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Slide both parts into each other.
How to make a cardboard Christmas tree / Hoe maak je een kerstboom van karton
  1. Use spray paint to paint the tree. Or better yet, decorate it however you like.

    Note: I was only able to paint 1 quarter of the tree with 1 can of spray paint. So if you want to paint the whole tree, buy at least 4 cans. Or buy just the 1, and put the tree up in a very strategic corner.

christmas