Introduction: Rustic Hand Carved Christmas Tree Decoration

About: Retired teacher. Gardener, woodworker, bird enthusiast, and maker of things.

I saw a picture similar to this on the cover of the latest Lee Valley Catalog. They gave no credit to the creators. My daughter like it so I tried to reproduce it. If you know who first posted this please let me know so that they can receive credit.

Carving tools are very sharp, if you attempt to make this please be careful and use extreme care.


I only used a few tools. A small axe, handsaw, a coping saw, chisel, mallet, and a vice. If you don’t have a vice you could use clamps.

Step 1: Select the Wood

I’m going to use my daughter’s Christmas tree from last year for this project. I can make several trees from this one so I’ll start at the top and make larger ones as the trunk gets bigger at the bottom.

Use some type of saw to cut the wood a little extra long so you have something to safely hold on to as you chop and carve. You can cut it to length towards the end.

Step 2: Shape the Wood Into a Cone Shape

I used my hatchet to chop the wood into the cone shape. You could also use a spokeshave, draw knife or even a pocket knife. Please make sure that you are being safe and keeping your fingers and other body parts in the clear. The shape of the cone will depend on the wood you have selected. The shape is entirely up to you, the artist.

Step 3: Let the Chipping Begin

You will first need to decide on what chisel profile you want to use.

Once you have decided, starting at the top of the cone, make small “chips” being careful not to take the chip out entirely but leave it attached to the wood. Don’t worry if you accidentally take out a chip, just make another cut. Keep the chips random or orderly, close together or far apart. The choice is yours, this is your tree, make it look good to you.

Step 4: Keep Up the Good Work

If you “dig” a little to shallow or you feel the chip is going to fall out, add a little super glue under it. This will secure it. Keep “chipping away” until you are happy with your results.

Step 5: You’re Almost Finished

Once you’re happy with the “tree”, cut it to size. I then turned the limb around and used the other need to cut a small, 1/4-3/8’s inch slice for the base if the tree.

I found a nice size branch from the original top I cut off to make the “trunk” of the tree. Drill the appropriate size hole in the base and the tree and glue in the trunk.

If you don’t want to hang it or add a topper, you’re finished!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!🎉

Step 6: Top It Off

You can add an eye screw to the top and made this a Christmas tree ornament. I decided to add a star. I used a coping saw to cut out a star from some thin scrap of thin cherry wood. I used a short length of wire from a paper clip to attach the star to the tree.

Step 7: Finished!

I made another one from a piece of gum tree right after making this one. The three of them look great on the mantle. Enjoy

Hand Tools Only Challenge

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Challenge