HOW TO: Make Your Own Pallet Christmas Tree #builditbrandit
You may or may not remember this hideously tacky Christmas film we made last year…
(omg that music…)
It was to showcase the very proud moment that we unveiled our pride and Christmas joy – our pallet Christmas tree! I know, I know, we keep banging on about it, but we’re extra proud because we designed and made this puppy all on our own – no Pinterest tutorial in sight! We found that the pallet trees on the web were lacking – either they were too small, or too flat, or not fluffy enough, and so the only work around was to have our resident DIY guru, James, work for two days straight on this masterpiece, to create a tree so damn rustic and warm and inviting, it could turn even the most embittered Scrooge (a.k.a. Owen) into a Christmas-believer.
So, in order to share the wealth at this special time of year that’s all about giving back, here’s a tutorial so you can build your own recycled, super stylish, alternative pallet tree! It’s a pretty simple make, but you will need to know how to use basic power tools to make your life a lot easier.
DIY Pallet Christmas Tree
You will need:
- 3 pallets/50 full pallet planks
- A lightweight metal pole (roughly 7ft tall and 2cm in diameter)
- A metal bucket
- Cement and sand
- Holesaw attachment
- Jigsaw or handsaw
- First off, source your pallets. They can be as battered and bruised as you like, but they need to be dry so it’s a good idea to get them ahead of time and store them in a cool, dry room or garage. Disassemble the pallets with a sturdy hammer and carpenter’s pincers and remove any extra rusty nails or staples. Pallets generally come with 16 usable planks (8 to each side) that we’ll be chopping up in increments, so you should actually only need 3 full pallets.
- You can sand the planks down if you want a smoother finish but we like the jagged, rustic look so left any roughness or discolouration alone.
- Mix the cement to the packet requirements and set the metal pole in the bucket, you may have to support the pole until the mix goes off. For extra weight, you can fill the bottom of the bucket with rocks or stones and then fill the bucket up with cement ensuring that the pole is straight and level (nobody wants a wonky tree…). Leave this overnight to set before you even consider doing any mad twirly dance tricks on it…actually, we don’t recommend that at all. Don’t do it.
- Cut your planks according to the the diagram below. If you use the full plank length as your bottom four layers, and then slowly decrease them in size by 10cm every four planks, you should have enough to make a 6ft tree with very minimal waste. If that doesn’t work out then blame James, because he made the instructions.
- Once you’ve cut all of your planks to size, measure the centre of each plank and use the holesaw to…uhhh…saw a hole into the centre of each of the planks. This needs to be as precise as possible in order to mitigate any lop-sidedness in your finished tree.
- This is the point that, if you wanted to, you could paint or stain the planks any number of festive colours. We considered dipping the edges of the planks into neon or metallic paint but decided against it in favour of matching our studio desks and furniture, but hey, there’s always next year if another wave of colourful inspiration takes us!
- Now, THIS IS THE FUN BIT and the step you may need a bit of help with! Get a troop of willing Christmas elves to help you feed the cut planks onto the pole. For a lovely ‘fluffy look’, rotate and stagger the angle of the planks slightly as you feed them on. It’s much easier doing it at this point and moving one or two planks at a time instead of fiddling about with it once you’ve finished and having to negotiate 20 planks sat ontop of each other (mission!)
- Once you get to the top, adorn your creation with a suitable tree topper. We made our own star from wood offcuts.
- Wrap your tree with lights as normal and decorate as you wish. The good thing is that the planks form little shelves so you can sit any number of Christmas-sy decorations around the tree – just make sure that you don’t pile all your decorations on one side only…this tree looks much better vertical rather than horizontal.
- Et Voila!