Introduction: Christmas Trees From Salvaged Materials

Backstory: I moved into my house just a few days before Christmas years ago. I didn't have any furniture, let alone a tree for Christmas. So I wrapped all our moving boxes and stacked them up in a pyramid... and that was our tree that year.

That sorta started a tradition. Each year since I've built our tree out of recycled or upcycled materials that I either salvage or already have on hand. I love the idea of giving stuff destined for the landfill some new life before sending them on their way.

I already published an Instructable for this year's (2015) salvaged cardboard tree. You can view it here:

This is more of a gallery of some of my past trees. I didn't take process photos of the the previous trees, so it's really just for viewing.


Step 1: Rolled Newspaper Tree

Wish I could say this was an original idea... but I stole it 100%

Just rolled up newspaper in cone shapes. Stapled to an old post I placed in an actual tree holder. Spray painted the cones gold, silver, and green and lit them up.

Step 2: The Carpet Tree

Weeks before Christmas we had our horrible white carpet removed and tile installed.

I took apart the pallet the tile came on and used it to make a frame. Then I cut the old white carpet into long triangles. I stapled the carpet in overlapping, flowing patterns down the frame.

Some lights and a bow completed the 1980's Miami Vice reject look.

Step 3: The Old Cedar Fence Tree

Our fence was 20+ years old and had to come out. I saved all the wood, which was unvarnished and unpainted, for firewood. I got the idea to use the planks in various lengths to build the tree.

There's no frame on this one. I just started stapling and brad-nailing planks in a cascading, overlapping pattern just like you would when shingling a roof. Then lights and a ribbon.

Step 4: Shipping Supplies Tree

We had massive water damage to the shipping supply closet at my office. I couldn't use the packing material for shipments, so I dried it all out and used it for the tree instead.

Kraft paper was stapled to an upright post in a billowing pattern. Then I hot glued a bunch of manila ship tags with the strings hanging down. I finished it off with my usual lights and a bow.

Step 5: Balloons Tree

Ok... I know... this one isn't really so much salvaged.

Basically my kid had just learned to walk and I needed a tree he couldn't damage or be injured by. I also knew I'd never be able to keep him away from the tree at all times so it had to be kid friendly.

I took several long PVC pipes and just taped them together at one end. Then I stood them up like a cone. From there I inflated balloons with my air compressor. I did silver and green balloons that I had left over from an office party. I tied 2 balloons together first, then I just wound them around the shaft of the PVC pipe rib.

I used a handful of red balloons that I underinflated to look like ornaments and a bow at the top.

I used cool LED lights so that heat would not pop the balloons.

Thanks for viewing!