Instructables
Picture of Flat-Pack X-Mas Tree
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Every year, Americans go wild for Christmas. It starts right after Halloween, as the radio stations switch to carols and classics, and then turns into a shopping frenzy the day after Thanksgiving. According to the U.S. census, it also includes cutting down about 17 million live trees for living room displays. These trees often end up in the landfill, or, at best, mulched. From a sustainability perspective, this process is largely carbon-neutral, as the trees emit no more carbon dioxide as they rot than they absorbed while growing. But that fails to account for all the petrochemicals used to plant, fertilize, prune, cut, deliver, and dispose of said trees. Artificial trees aren't much better; they are often made of PVC, stabilized with lead, and are neither biodegradable nor recyclable.

This year, make a more sustainable choice: a flat-pack, lightweight, wood tree made from scrap plywood. It can be made in any size, takes up no space to store, is cheap, reusable, non-toxic, with a sleek, modern aesthetic. 

This whole project, from sketch to set-up in the living room, took me about three hours and cost me nothing (assuming you can scavenge some plywood). It requires no fasteners or specialized equipment. I made mine from OSB since it was what was lying around the shop, and the random flakes make for a nice bark-ish texture, but any sort of plywood will do. 

Merry flat-pack Christmas! And, if you're in a giving kind of mood, throw a vote my way in the Instructables Design Contest . . . !


You will need these materials:

2 pieces of 3/4" plywood, OSB, or other sheet goods, approx. 16" x 24"
Christmas lights
Tung oil or finish of your choice

You will need these tools:

Circular saw
Jig saw or handsaw for inside corners
Sander
Drill with 1/4" and 3/4" bits
Router (optional)
Ruler
Tape measure
Pencil
Rags
Safety glasses, gloves, etc.
 
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EcoExpatMike made it!7 months ago

My son riding his Ikea Moose in front of the tree Christmas eve, a close up of the completed masterpeice and the tree before I strung lights.

Note that I didn't make it "3D" like the original 'ible because I have a one year old stumbling around. Did paint it though!

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EcoExpatMike8 months ago
I just built a variation of your design for my house here in the Philippines.

2 dimensional and painted Green.
Mike
http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FO8/ABN3/HPKATSSO/FO8ABN3HPKATSSO.SQUARE.jpg
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DGS_31 year ago
This is amazing
Cool design.
Judith7561 year ago
Very nice way to have some decorations that don't take up a lot of space when Christmas is over. Great for those of us with limited space for storage.
Thanks, and I voted.
auntylulu1 year ago
Very cool! it could also be done with heavy cardboard. I think I'm going to try that
Thanks!
sleeepy21 year ago
It would be a tough sell convincing the wife, but I like it a lot.
renome1 year ago
A good idea. I like it. http://plastfactor.ru
dismissie1 year ago
I love this idea!