Introduction: Sustainable Eco-Friendly Hanging Hipster X-mas Tree
I really love x-mas! Not for any religeous reasons, but for the cosy atmosphere, the candles, the scent of pine twigs, (hopefully) snow outside...
But I regularily ran into the difficulty of choosing a x-mas tree. I find it a weird thought, to know that thousands of trees are cut down only to give joy for a few days during the holidays. First, I bought a living tree in a pot, but I soon learned, that trees are usually sold in pots in order to plant them afterwards in a garden. So my pot-tree died after a few months. Then, I decided to buy an artificial tree. It looked quite pretty in the shops display, but at home I found it much too symmetrical and artificial at daylight. However, I read that one needs to use an artificial tree at least for 7 years until th energy of producing it is comparable to cutting down a real tree every year. So I kept it for another 4 years. At some point I really started to hate this stupid tree, but I felt guilty to buy a living tree agin, before the 7 minimal years have passed. So I started to look around for alternatives. Thats when I found some inspirational images on pinterest and decided to make my own, non-artificial but still long-living tree.
To make it, you need the following things:
- Dead branches from the forest
- A saw
- A drilling machine
- Some cord
- A hot glue gun
- Some kind of fixation on the ceiling or the wall
- LED lights
- Tiny metal hooks with screw en
Step 1: Collecting and Cutting the Branches
For my tree, I collected 3-4 branches with a diameter of about 5 cm and around 80 - 150 cm length. In addition, I took one branch with around 20 cm diamter.
Then, I cut the thin branches into 8 pieces. The lowest branch is around 90-100 cm, the top one about 15 cm long. For the stem, I sew (sawed?) the thicker branch into a length of approximately 20 cm.
Step 2: Connecting the Branches and the Stem
First, attach the lowest branch to the stem by pre-drilling a hole in the middle of the lowest branch (picture not shown) and into the stem. Then, take a wooden screw to fixate the connection.
Then, you can start with connecting the branches to one another. For this, you need to drill holes into both sides of every branch (see first picture). The branches are connected from the first (longest) branch upwards to the top from both sides.
For this, you take the cord and put it though the right side holes of the longest branch. You may need to use a needle to do this, since the cord is usually not stiff enough to push it though the holes (see second picture). At the lower side of the branch you make a big knot into the cord (see third picture) and fixate it with hot glue. The hole tree will later be hanged from the ceiling or the wall, therefore, this knot (toghether with the one on the left side) will be bearing all the load of the tree later. To improve the fixation you may want to wrap the cord around the branch once as I did with the other branches (see last to pictures).
Now, leave a distance of approximately 15 cm. Then, you take the cord throuhg the right side holes of the next smaller branch and wrap the cord around the branch once. Again, leave a distance of around 15 cm, befor you go to the next smaller branch. Continue until you reach the top branch. Repeat with the left side of the branches.
Step 3: The Top of the Tree
Once both ends of the cord reach the top branch, wrap them around the branch and go through the holes again. Then connect the two cords. Do so by making a big standard knot into them. Make sure you leave a sling on top in order to hang the tree later onto the wall or the ceiling.
Step 4: Wrapping the LED Lights Around the Tree
Once the tree is finished, see if the construction is really stable try hanging it from the ceiling or the wall to check it out. You may want to hang it in such a way, that the floor (or some platform underneath) supports some of the weight of the tree, so the cord does not need to bear all of the load.
Once you made sure this works out, wrap the LEDs around the tree. I took so called "fairy lights" with a battery pack, they are very subtle and tiny, as if it was only a silver wire. The wire is very flexible and can be wrapped around the branches easily. I find it helpful to think first where you want to have your battery pack and plan the rest of the route accordingly.
Start with one side, wrap it around the end of a branch and then go diagonally to the next smaller branches other side. repeat that until you are statisfied with the distribution of the "candles".
Step 5: Hanging the Tree and Decorating It
Before you hang the tree, take the tiny metal hooks and screw them into the branches for the decorations later on. I recommend not to use too many so your tree looks more plain this way.
Afterwards, you can hang your tree and start decorating it. I choose very few items since I like the tree to look plain and cute.
Have fun decorating it and enjoy the result!