Introduction: Milk Crate Christmas Tree

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Martha…

As much as I love the smell of real Christmas trees, I decided it was time for another more eco-friendly, non-traditional tree this year. This one is made from milk crates (that I purchased from Land Of Nod). The best part about this tree, is that when Christmas is over, you can use the crates to pack up all your decorations for storing!

Let's get unconventional for the holidays!


For more non-traditional tree ideas, check out my instructables below:

Ladder Christmas Tree (for the hardware store lovers)

Vinyl Record Tree (for the vintage music lovers)

Step 1: Supplies

Here's what you'll need to make this tree:

- 10 colored milk crates
- 1 brown crate (for the 'tree trunk')
- (x2) 44" x 1" x 1" square hardwood dowels
- (x25) 8" or 10" green zip ties
- OPTIONAL: (x18) small green zip ties if you don't have ornament hangers
- 25 foot strand of small white indoor lights
- large star or small table lamp as a topper
- OPTIONAL: 8" rubber bands for hanging cards inside crates
- scissors or wire cutters

Step 2: Stack 'Em Up

Stack the crates, open side facing you, in a tree shape - 4 on the bottom, then 3, then 2, and finally 1 on top!

Make sure the crates are lined up so that all the crate fronts are flush and so that all the layered crates are centered perfectly on the two crates below them.

Step 3: Zip Zip Zip!

Use the zip ties to secure all the crates together.

Do this by putting two zip ties on each side of the 'floor' of each stacked crate (not the bottom 4) and down around the top of the crates below, like pictured.

Repeat this until you have all the bottoms-to-tops secured.

Next, zip tie all the sides together. One zip tie per should do it.

Step 4: Getting Grounded

Set your secured tree structure aside.

Place the 'trunk' crate in the space that you've cleared for the tree.

Next, place the two square dowels on the front and back edges of the top of the trunk crate.

Step 5: Build Your Tree

Center the tree top over the trunk and dowels and lower into place.

NOTE: I didn't secure the dowels or trunk to my tree as I don't have any pets or kids that might 'engage' with it. If you do want extra security, add two zip ties that connect the trunk to the two crates above it. If you need longer zip ties, you can connect 2 to make one long one.

Spin your tree around to expose the back of the tree.

Step 6: Light It Up!

Starting about 3 feet from the plug end of the string of lights, start feeding the bulbs into the smaller holes around the edge of the first crate to the left of the trunk. It should work out that a bulb goes in every 2-3 holes. There's no need to secure the bulbs as I found that they stay put.

Repeat this following the outline of the tree until you've gone all the way around.

Step 7: Flip It and Decorate It!

Turn the tree back around and you're ready for the fun part - the decorating!

Feel free to freestyle. Here's some suggestions that worked for me:

- hanging decorations by putting the hooks up through the crate holes
- securing long rubber bands using decoration hooks across the upper inside of a few of the crates to hang cards
- putting some of the smaller presents in the crates

Step 8: Happy Less Wasteful Holidays!

The best thing about this tree is that you can use it again and again AND that once you've broken it down, you can use all the crates to store your holiday decorations. Or anything else!!

Happy holidays everyone!

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