Modern Christmas Tree

Submitted by chelseawa on Sun, 11/27/2011 - 11:11
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A modern reusable Christmas Tree, inspired by the Possibilitree. This was a family effort with the kids (3 and 6) helping out.

The only really tricky part in this step is cutting the strips. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a source of thin boards. Alternately you could use 1" thick pine craft boards similar to this Lowe's project. This project by "Tara and Thyme" also used thicker stock and used copper pipe to hide the aluminum rod and nuts as well.

6.5 feet tall and 40" in diameter


Shopping List

1 - 6"x 1" x 10' hardwood board, any species
1 - 6' long 3/8" threaded aluminum rod
24 - nuts
1 - container for the base
1 - smallest available quantity of quick set or similar
Scrap 2x4 or 4x4

Ripping guide if you are using a circular saw (DIY, Lowes)
Fine sandpaper (between 160 and 220 should be fine)


Copper pipe to hide the aluminum rod and bolts (1" diameter?)

Cut List

1" (board thickness) x 0.5cm strips:

2-3.5" (9cm)
3-5.5" (14cm)
4-7.5" (20cm)
5-9.5" (26cm)
6-12.5" (32cm)
6-15.5" (40cm)
6-19" (49cm)
6-22.5" (57cm)
7-26" (66cm)
7-30.5" (77cm)
7-35" (89cm)
7-40" (100cm)

Chunk of scrap just shorter than the inside of your container for the bottom.

Cutting Instructions

To cut your strips rip your hardwood board using a table saw or a circular saw with a ripping guide. From a 6" wide board you can get 14-16 strips depending on the kerf (width) of your saw blade. Either rip the whole board at once or cut it down in to sections the length of the strips you will be needing. Our 11' board provided us with enough left over strips to make a 3' version as well.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Table Saw
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

There are a lot of repetitive steps in this project. They can be made a little less tedious by using jigs. For example use a jig to position your strips of wood so you are always drilling in the same spot.


Step 1

Now that you have a whole lot of strips you need to drill a 3/8" hole in the middle of each. This is easier with a drill press if you happen to have one but a hand held drill will work just fine. Mark the center of each board and drill.

Step 2

Now you will want to remove any roughness left behind by the saw or drill.

This is optional. We chose not to because theoretically this tree will not be exposed to undue stress, wear or mess. If you feel you need to I would recommend rubbing on a couple coats of oil such as tung, linseed or mineral oil.

Step 3

Prepare the base:

We used a decorative tin that is about 5" tall and 6" in diameter.

Drill a hole as deep and as straight as possible in your scrap 2x4 or 4x4. - use a bit one step down from 3/8" It should be the same size as the inner part of your threaded rod, not counting the threads.

Mix your cement according to instructions. Place the drilled scrap in the center of your container and pour the cement in around it. You want the cement to go at least a few inches deep but not to the top of the scrap.

Step 4


You can assemble this in any order you like. I put all the branches on and then screwed the tree into the base so that I could put the larger branches on from the bottom.

The spacing for the branches is (from bottom to top):
6" (15 cm) - below the lowest branches
6.5" (16cm) - 6.5" (16cm) - 6.5" (16cm) - 4.75" (12 cm) - 4.75" (12 cm) - 4.75" (12 cm) - 4.75" (12 cm) - 3" (7 cm) - 3" (7 cm) - 3" (7 cm) - 3" (7 cm)
~2" (5 cm) above the top level.

You will need one nut above each level and one below each level.

Step 5

Step 6

A note on lighting: Traditional strings of lights won't look very good on this tree. I recently saw some LED lights that were strung on fine wire, I haven't tried them but they might work.

My solution was to get some battery operated tea lights. I folded origami star boxes starting with a 5.75" inch piece of paper cut from an old book. Then I place the lights in them and set them on top of the branches. I really like the effect, especially at night it looks like candles sitting in the tree (but without the fire hazard). They will be a bit more work since each will need to be lit individually but I expect that lighting the tree will become a specially holiday ritual at our house. The tea lights were 24 (with batteries) for $20 at Michaels.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Light sanding with 150 grit paper
Finish Used
I didn't use any but if you must I recommend an oil finish such as tung, linseed or mineral oil.


Guest (not verified)

Thu, 12/01/2011 - 06:18

Great job! I love all Christmas trees, traditional and modern. Thanks also for the links that show your inspiration. I like the table top tree from Lowes. You said your tree was a bit wobbly. Is that from the inherent quality of the threaded rod or from the size of your base. If you look at the bases of the small table top trees, they use a pretty wide base for their small trees. I just wonder if a wider base (not just heavy) may help. But, that could also be why the 6' Possibilitree hangs not stands. To keep the thin whispy quality of the tree and not beef up the "trunk" so it would stand, the inventor of the Possibilitree hung it instead. Hard to tell. Regardless, I love how your tree turned out, plus I love the origami light holders! Outstanding!!!


Thu, 12/01/2011 - 18:48

The wobbliness is inherent to the aluminum rod. It isn't really a problem because it stands straight and only sways a little bit if it gets bumped. I suspect that that is why they hang it. I am quite happy with it how it is now. With smaller children it could be more of a problem but I haven't even bother to anchor it at the ceiling.

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