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Mid winter is fast approaching and here in the Northern Hemisphere it is time to get out the twinkly lights to lighten up the dark months...

...and the season of present giving is at hand and what better than to give my wife...my creativity!

I stumbled upon the idea for this project from the great YouTube channel 'Inspire to make', I used their project as inspiration and tweaked it into a great twinkly light wooden Christmas tree.

Really easy to make, uses mostly reclaimed materials...

...and would be a great present for your loved one?

Step 1: Tools + Bits

Get some bits together...

TOOLS

General woodworking tools

Electrical woodworking tools if you have them though hand tools would be good too -

Crosscut

Nail/pin gun + pins

Cordless drill

Drill bits

Hot glue gun

MATERIALS

Old ply about 12mm to 18mm thick would be good for sides and front.

Backing ply or OSB 18mm for backing sheet, slightly larger than the overall tree size [480x540mm]

Thin ply or MDF 3mm, for the rear panel, slightly larger than the overall tree size [480x540mm]

Card for stencils

Card for tree template [or old newspaper]

Assorted spray can colours, I use Montana Gold though any would be good.

Christmas tree twinkly lights, LED x50 bulbs warm white

Wood glue

Wrapping paper Well it is going to be a present!

Step 2: How Big!

The idea behind this project was to re-use materials as much as possible and this led to a rustic aesthetic.

As it was the end of the year I wanted it to reflect some of my projects over the last 12 months...

...I had all of my card spray stencils from lots of projects and I decided to use these to add an urban feel to the rough materials, adding interesting graphics to the tree, making the tree look as good in the day without the lights on.

Before starting, work out the size that you would like your tree to be...

...base it on the materials that you have to hand and the amount of bulbs in the Christmas tree lights.

I wanted the front strips of ply to be 45mm wide and this helped to set out the size.

I used x3 strips per tree section with an addition little bit for the top one to keep the side angles the same.

The bottom 'tub' felt right with two strips.

Draw it out on a large piece of card or an old newspaper.

Step 3: Get Stripping!

I wanted the timber to be from re-used stock and I had an ideal piece of 18mm ply kicking around...

...it had come from an old shed that I took down to build the Scaffold Board Shed this summer. The ply was then used as a cement knocking up board and then a full sized 'Sketchup Rob' was cut from it for the video that I made of the Scaffold Board Shed build, check it out in the video above...

...perfect fourth use of a material.

Cut a number of 100mm wide strips from the ply...

...keep back enough for the sides to be made with the 100mm wide boards.

The rest were cut again into 45mm wide strips for the front of the tree.

Step 4: Stencil Sprayed Graphics

I had a lot of old spray stencils in the workshop from projects over the year and I decided to re-use some of them to add some cool graphics.

If you don't have any, they are really easy to make with some thin card/heavy paper and a sharp knife...

...for the dot stencils just drill out some holes from some thin MDF.

For the side strips I wanted to mainly use numbers to represent the 12 months, with the odd glimpse of graphical stencils like the Instructables robot.

Keep it as random as possible just laying the stencils down and a light spray from the spray paint cans to give a slightly weathered look...

...change the spray cans regularly to give a good mix of colours and interest.

I only used the two sized dot stencils on the thinner front strips to represent baubles on a Christmas tree.

Lay all of the strips out side by side so that the spray design goes over them all in a random fashion.

Step 5: Cut + Mix

Cut the strips to a length longer than needed.

Gather together and drop on the floor and give a good mix!

The best way to achieve a truly random mix of the dots.

Lay out the strips on a bench and do a little arranging to make sure that the dots are nice and random and that the colours are mixed up.

I made sure that the two 'Tub' strips only had large dots on them.

Cut these to length, about 200mm.

Cut out a card stencil for the tree shape...

...I made sure that the strips worked nicely with the shape so none had to have cut outs...the only bit was a small one at the top so I could keep all of the angle cuts the same.

Mark the strips and cut the strips to the angle shape.

Get a piece of old ply or OSB that I used and cut out the tree shape...

Mark a 25mm line all around and cut out the middle shape.

This is the backing board.

Add wood glue and place all of the front strips onto the backing board...

...and clamp in place and leave to dry.

Now for the sides...

I spray painted the inner face of the strips red to look nice.

Mark the 100mm strips to length cutting a mitre cut to the angle of the tree shape.

Cut some 25mm strips to act as a spacer piece...glue and pin on the inside of the side pieces.

Glue + pin the sides to the backing/front strip board.

Continue all around the tree shape.

I was short on my last strip and so added a little red spray painted piece at the very top that I think really tops off the tree.

Step 6: Twinkle

I bought a small length of Christmas tree lights with integrated transformer wall plug...

...LED bulbs with a warm white colour and x50 bulbs.

Put a drill bit into your cordless that will allow the bulbs to push through the front ply.

Check the distance between the light bulbs on the lighting strip, to make sure that all of the holes that you drill can be used!

Using the dots on the front strips as the positioning, drill 50 holes to make a truly random light pattern.

Poke the bulbs through the holes from the rear...

...check they are all protruding about the same amount and that they are working!

Hot glue the bulbs to the back board at the rear side.

Cut a slot in the side plank where you would like the cable to come out.

To close in all of the cabling you need to make a back panel.

This wont be seen when in use though nice to make it interesting!

I had a piece of 3mm mdf with an old plan drawing stuck to it, perfect.

Mark around the card tree template and cut it out.

Drill a largish hole at the top in the centre to act as a wall hanging fixing onto a screw.

Pin the back in positon.

ALL FINISHED!

Step 7: Light Up the Mid-winter

Fix a screw in a wall and hang it up, switch on and enjoy lighting up the mid-winter...

...works well sat on the floor as well...

...or do as I did and give it to a loved one or a friend as an early Christmas present.


Wishing you all wherever you live and whatever your beliefs...a very twinkly + wonderful mid-winter


I am entering this project into the Homemade Gifts Competition. If you have enjoyed this project, I would really appreciate your vote, go on make my year! Many thanks.

This project is part of my YouTube series where I try to make cool and interesting projects.

Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the projects, if not there will be more coming to Instructables soon.

Why not check out what I am up to with pricklysauce.com

And also catch me on Facebook + Twitter

Just started on Instagram!

<p>Nice Work :)</p>
<p>Thanks Techno Man.</p>

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Bio: I make and create anything that comes to my mind from skateboard hooks to garden rooms. And I footle around with electronics and instruments at ... More »
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