Introduction: A Traditional Christmas Tree Stand in 3 Easy Steps--Charlie Brown Style

There are lots of things that make the Christmas season wonderful. There are many things that also make it frustrating. The top two...
  1. Untangling Christmas lights and getting those rascals all lit.
  2. Standing a Christmas tree
You're on your own with #1, here's help for #2.

This Instructable is to make a traditional cross-shaped wooden Christmas tree stand--Charlie Brown style. I've used this type for several trees, it works great for small trees (3 to 5 feet) and pretty well for larger trees (up to about 7 feet). For the larger trees, you may need to add angled braces. The "3 easy steps" are...
  1. make the cross
  2. drill holes
  3. attach the tree

Step 1: Make the Cross

  1. First get a board, a 1x2 or 1x4 works fine. Cut it like shown in pic 1.
  2. The lengths depend on your tree size. The lengths pictured are about 10" and 2". I was putting up a very small tree (4 feet tall) so these lengths were fine. For a 7-foot tree, you should go at LEAST 18" for the longer lengths.
  3. Nail the longer pieces into a cross like in pic 2. Make sure the nail tips aren't protruding--they'll scuff the floor.
  4. Flip it over nail the shorter pieces as "feet" so the cross is flat on all fours like pics 3 and 4.

Step 2: Drill Holes

  1. Grab up that tree and cut off the base/trunk as square as you can eyeball it (pics 1 and 2).
  2. Drill a hole through the center of the cross. Use a drill bit width that puts little pressure on whatever screw you intend to screw into the tree, like in pic 3.
  3. Drill a hole up through the base/trunk. Use a slightly smaller drill bit into the tree trunk so the screw will bite into the tree tightly. It's a bit tricky to drill vertically. I have no magic-bullet technique to doing this. I just try to visualize drilling toward the tip of the tree like in pic 4. My results are often not-so-good and the tree stands slanted. But, it's pretty easy to re-drill another hole or you simply put something under one of the feet to get it vertical.

Step 3: Attach the Tree

  1. Run a long screw (at least 2 1/2 inches, or more) up from the bottom of the cross, see pic 1. Drywall screws work great for small trees. For a 7-foot tree, I've used lag-bolts and a wrench.
  2. If it starts getting too tight, re-drill the hole with a bigger bit.
  3. Next, just line up the hole drilled into the tree and screw it in, see pic 3. The cross should snug up well. You can often even grab the cross and tighten it up using the cross itself.
  4. All done! If it turns out a bit lopsided, like mine in pic 4, you can either re-drill, or just put something under the feet to straighten it up.
Note: For bigger trees, you may need to add angled braces. My experience has been that if I ask myself, "Should I add braces?", then the answer is, "Yes." This is pretty simple to do. Cut any small pieces of wood (like a 1 by 1) to the appropriate length. The braces should go from end of the cross to the tree trunk at roughly a 45 degree angle. Then simply drill a screw through the brace down into the cross and another into the tree trunk. Three or four braces should do it.