Introduction: Christmas Tree From Recycled Pallet

Reusing scrap pallet wood for Christmas decorations


  1. Old pallet, fence panel or scrap wood.
  2. Glue or wood screws.
  3. A saw. (I used a mitre saw, but a hand saw will do)
  4. Sanding paper (sander optional)
  5. Wood varnish (optional)
  6. LED strip or Christmas lights.

Step 1: Disassemble the Pallet

Taking a pallet apart should be self explanatory. My pallet had top boards that were 65mm and bottom ones 83mm. While the exact size doesn't matter, you can calculate how much wood you have and how big a tree you can make. I have added a drawing with key measurements in mm (sorry my imperial friends), but these can be modified according to available wood and desired size.

Step 2: Clean the Wood

When working with recycled materials it's important to check for anything that could damage your tools. Like this tiny stone that got pressed into the wood.

Step 3: Cut Wood to Length for Front Pieces

I didn't measure the length of cuts, but instead used a previous piece as a template. For pieces spanning entire design, I made sure that they would stack without overlap. For short pieces where the cut-out is, I cut the first two the same, and made every following pair 20mm shorter.

Step 4: Glue It Together

Stack and glue the pieces together. If you chose to use screws, you'll need some strips to hold the entire thing together.

Step 5: Cut and Glue the Side Skirts

Since we are working with lowest quality recycled wood and it can be not precisely 65mm, it is best to fit side boards on one at a time. Cut and fit boards all around the tree.

These will serve three functions:

  1. It will give a lot of strength for the project.
  2. A base to stand on or a place to hang it from.
  3. It will also give a mounting surface for the backlight.

Step 6: Sand It and Apply a Finish

This is optional.

I used a well worn pallet and wanted to get rid of some stains on the boards, but the tree looked mostly OK at this stage. I also put on a matt coat of polyurethane to give a little protection and help diffuse the lights.

You can see my finished tree and it looks decent even before I light it up.

Step 7: Light It Up

I put RGB LED strip inside all the way around in the very corner. If you don't have LED strip, regular Christmas lights will work just fine.

Place is against a wall and enjoy. By adjusting the distance to the wall behind it, you can get a perfectly balanced backlight.

Holiday Decorations Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Holiday Decorations Speed Challenge