Introduction: Recycled Christmas Tree

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As opposed to going into the woods and robbing a tree of its precious life, I decided to create a fully recycled Christmas Tree. The tree consist of about 250 green 20 ounce soda bottles, each one individually lit.

Step 1: Gathering of Ye Supplies

Picture of Gathering of Ye Supplies

Well, to find and obtain the nearly 300 bottles needed for this project I set out on a mighty quest. All across the lands of Albuquerque, people where set in a Grinch like set of mind. No one was willing to help me obtain this much needed resource. The City of Albuquerque saw these bottles as a valuable resource and was unwilling to sell them to me. Luckily I was referred to a friendly chap, Gary, who owns Master Fibers.

I spent two mornings rummaging through Gary's sticky crates full of bottles waiting to be recycled in order to gather enough bottles which he sold at a vary reasonable price.

Other items I gathered where
-Lots of glue sticks
-an old rusted milk crate
-a couple paper grocery bags
-old Christmas lights
-a couple larger sour cream buckets
-a partridge in a pear tree

Step 2: Cleaning

Picture of Cleaning

This step is easy, I dumped the bottles in the tub, removed the labels, and gave them a bath.

Step 3: Assemblymajig

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I began by drilling holes in a few bottles. Next I hot glued a light inside. Well, umm from there I glued the bottles together. As you may of guessed, I started with just one bottle at the top and made it wider the further down I went.

Step 4: Support This Bad Boy

Picture of Support This Bad Boy

At a certain point, somewhere around 3 feet down, I inserted the sour cream buckets to help use as the base. I connected it to another bucket and then zip tied and duct taped that bottle an old milk crate. Then I continued gluing glowing bottles to this mass.

Step 5: The Star

Picture of The Star

When I was at Master Fibers, my beautiful wench found these interesting plastic pieces. She took them home and hot glued them into these magnificent start. In case you wonder why the star is so cool, its because she's gosh darned genius.

Step 6: A Coating of Bark and Power It On

Picture of A Coating of Bark and Power It On

I covered the base of the tree with a torn up paper shopping bag that made it look a wee little bit like bark... Well, I guess all thats left is to power it on.

awww, its so lovely....


D98 (author)2010-12-07

Are there any different ways to stick the bottle together? Without hot glue or wires?

dl24601 (author)2010-12-03

Really cool and creative idea.

twighahn (author)2010-11-18

one could use brown duct tape

DocTao (author)2009-12-18

Excellent use of resources, and it actually looks like a piece of Art.
The most important thing here is what the meaning and purpose
of the Tree is. You could have made it out of Toilet paper and
Clothes hangers it's what the true meaning of the work is to you.
Congrats and keep plugging, another Tree breathes easier because
of you, and so do we. Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Every Living

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-03-09


watermelonhead (author)2009-01-01

awesome! opposed to some projects ive done with recycling, this is cool. and not ugly. ;]

ugly has never stopped anyone...

fought piranhas (author)2008-12-28

I love this. I'm going to start collecting bottles now for next year's tree! :)

browneyedhippie (author)2008-12-18

This is soo cool and beautiful lit.. congrats on the results of you up-cycling.. using something with out it going through the cycling method of making it in to something different.. Much nicer way to use our cycling items. Love n Peace, Hippie, xo.

nerfer192 (author)2008-12-16

coooooooooooooooooooooooooool also: boobus!

How2BRandy (author)2008-12-13

its "nice" and all but, is there some way to have this a step up and be more, attractive?

chaintool (author)How2BRandy2008-12-14

Yep, I imagine that there most likely is some way to make it more attractive...

Plasmana (author)2008-12-12

Wow! That is a very good and environmentally friendly idea! 5 stars!

Badgergirl (author)2008-06-07

I love your idea. Do you think it could be made out of cans for a smaller version? I want to make a smaller scale to put on my dresser or desk.

mrfoltz (author)2008-03-22

One thing that really burns my "soap box" is when around X-mass millions of people chop down living trees just for a few weeks of pleasure...Grrrrr How can you tell I'm a plant freak???? lol
Anyway, I have asked all of my friends and neighbors to give me their old plastic X-mass trees and have combined them to make a really nice big one " we have 9 foot ceilings in our home" a small one for a table and several wreaths and garlands.." having had worked in display helps" it looks like Santa's workshop in our house around X-mass...

Anyway... great ideal!

farktard (author)2008-01-13

What a great idea

Raggedyandy (author)2008-01-13

Oh My GOODNESS Now I am going to have to start saving my Mt.Dew Bottles, That is SO COOL I Love it Also I have been thinking of trying to make 6 of them(I'll need friend's help to save bottles for me) and have each "TREE" a color of the Rainbow Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Blue & Purple, Thanks for the Inspiration I am defiantly going to add these to me decoration collection next Year Peace and Light Raggedy

maplepapercuts (author)2008-01-04

Fabulous! I'm especially keen to the whole reusing aspect! Way to go - you should be very proud of your creation. And I want a star - so beautiful!

SlothOnSpeed (author)2007-12-28

That "tree" is amazing, and Santa should give you an extra present or three just for thinking it up. It should be easy to save from year to year, but I do have a question: Is there a drainage hole or is there enough room remaining for water to evaporate with the light in the opened top of the bottle? I only mention this because some of your photos show condensation in the bottles, and if the bottle has even a tiny trace of sugar from the soda left behind, you could have a nasty mold problem before long. Even with that tiny concern, I am astounded at your creativity.

chaintool (author)SlothOnSpeed2007-12-28

There was some condensation at the beginning, but as far as I can tell they have all dried up by now. I plan on ripping the lights out and returning the bottles to master fibers soon. Perhaps next year I'll rebuild it a little better.

TangMu (author)2007-12-26

its just like having an artificial tree (which we have had for the last 10 years btw) ... only with more sense of achievement. and geek/hippy points. I would be very tempted to make an entire recycled forest... If you make them with battery operated lights then you have yourself a very odd/festive throwee. Heck its possibly verging into the dreaded realm of "fine art" O_o

CapnChkn (author)2007-12-26

Did you remove that little bit of label that stays stuck to the bottle, and if you did, how? I usually end up smearing that gummy glue around until it sticks to everything it touches.

chaintool (author)CapnChkn2007-12-26

When I was bathing the bottles, the water was plenty hot... That and a bit of soap, most of the labels came off, however I'd be lying if I was to say it was all gone. The labels I positioned towards the inside of the tree

neilrether (author)2007-12-26

How about an Instructable on the star?

chaintool (author)neilrether2007-12-26

Sorry bout that, I'll have some photos up this evening showing its creation.

truong (author)2007-12-25


T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-12-25

Haha nice! Looks very similar to the mountain dew one! Great job!

shangrilarcadia (author)2007-12-25

what a unique idea. I like it!

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-12-25

Good idea, nice job.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-25

lol "support this bad boy" haha cool instructable

About This Instructable




Bio: Once was a chef, now i'm a pizza tosser.... and that was a long time ago. Then I travelled the world, spent a lot ... More »
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