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Make your own Christmas tree
02 Dec 2021
Transform your backyard or bach into a festive wonderland with a tree built from plywood. Use this tree as part of your decorations by stringing it with fairy lights or as a place to open your presents on Christmas Day while enjoying the outdoors.
You will need
- A sheet of 1200mm x 600mm x 12mm untreated interior grade ply (main tree)
900mm x 90mm x 32mm untreated pine (trunk)
1200mm x 90mm x 32mm untreated pine (base)
1400mm x 90mm x 18mm untreated pine (shelves)
- Measuring tape
- Circular or jig saw
- Resene Quick Dry
- Painter’s tape
- Resene testpots in your choice of colours; Fleur used Resene Green House, Resene Aquamarine, Resene Deep Teal for the main tree and Resene Rusty Nail for the star on top
- Wood glue
- Resene Colorwood in Resene Matai (or you could use Resene Waterborne Woodsman if your tree will be displayed outside all month)
- Rubber/silicon gloves
- Wood glue
- Electric drill
- Small cup hooks
- Four tent pegs
Step 1: Start by cutting out the shape of your tree from the plywood panel using a jig saw and sand any rough edges. Fleur’s tree measured 90mm up from the bottom edge and 45mm from either side of the centre point at the top.
Step 2: Prime the entire tree with Resene Quick Dry and lightly sand when dry. Measure and tape the tree into thirds using masking tape. Paint the tree in two coats of your favourite Resene colours, Fleur used Resene Green House on the top third and Resene Deep Teal on the bottom third. Remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet.
Step 3: Once the paint is dry, tape off the middle third and paint in two coats of your chosen Resene colour. Fleur used Resene Aquamarine.
Step 4: Cut the 1200mm piece of pine into four even lengths. Cut a 45-degree bevel at one end and drill a hole at this same end big enough to fit a tent peg through. Use a soft lint-free cloth to apply one coat of Resene Colorwood wood stain, Fleur used Resene Colorwood tinted to Resene Matai (it’s a good idea to wear rubber/silicone gloves for this job). Overcoat in Resene Aquaclear clear finish for a smoother easy to wipe clean surface if you wish. You could use Resene Waterborne Woodsman instead of Resene Colorwood if your tree will be displayed outside for longer periods, no clear coat needed.
Step 5: To make the tree trunk, take the 900mm board and apply a coat of Resene Colorwood wood stain. Fleur used Resene Colorwood tinted to Matai. Overcoat in Resene Aquaclear clear finish for a smoother easy to wipe clean surface if you wish. You could use Resene Waterborne Woodsman instead of Resene Colorwood if your tree will be displayed outside for longer periods, no clear coat needed.
Use wood glue to glue the trunk to the back of the main tree. Once the glue is dry, flip the tree over and secure the trunk with a few screws, screwing in through the front face of the tree. Place the screws where you plan to put the shelves so that the screws are hidden.
Step 6: To make the shelves, cut the 90mm x 18mm board into three lengths, each length should be long enough to cross the tree where the change in paint colour occurs. Prime the shelves with Resene Quick Dry and sand lightly before applying two coats of the corresponding paint colour. Once the paint is dry, glue the shelves into place. Once the glue is dry, flip the tree over and secure the shelves with some screws from the back.
Step 7: Take the wood for the base and glue them in place in a cross pattern like in the example above. Screw them together on the underside for extra strength.
Step 8: To secure your tree to the ground, bang in a metal tent peg into each of the four holes using a leftover piece of wood.
Step 9: Use any leftover ply to make decorations. Fleur made a star using a ply offcut which she painted in Resene Rusty Nail and glued this to the top of the tree. Finish the tree by screwing in some small gold cup hooks for hanging baubles and decorations. If you don’t have any gold hooks, paint normal hooks using Resene Gold metallic.
Celebrate Christmas with this ply tree. The main part of the Christmas tree is painted in Resene Green House, Resene Aquamarine, Resene Deep Teal (not shown), the joy letters are in Resene Pearl Lusta and the wooden reindeer is in Resene Carrara.
project and images Fleur Thorpe
Published: 02 Dec 2021