Introduction: Cast Iron Dutch Oven Christmas Tree
This "Christmas Tree'" is a tradition among Dutch oven cooks across the United States of America who have many ovens in their collection and build a tree of cast iron each year to celebrate the Christmas Season. This is my first instructable and I'll show you how I built mine for the 2011 season.
CAUTION: STACKING CAST IRON DUTCH OVENS CAN BE HAZARDOUS AND CARE MUST BE TAKEN IN DOING SO. i AM NOT RESPONSIBLE OF ANY ACCIDENTS DAMAGE OR OTHERWISE THAT MAY HAPPEN. THIS INSTRUCTABLE IS ONLY A STORY TELLING YOU HOW I BUILD AND MADE MY CHRISTMAS TREE THIS YEAR.
1 artificial Christmas Tree
3 strings L.E.D. Christmas lights
1 Mini Christmas Tree
1 Stack of Cast Iron Dutch ovens (I used 9 this year, and have used as few as 3 and as many as 14)
Christmas ornaments (as many as you wish)
Get your Dutch ovens together and "dry stack" them to see how tall your tree will be. Start with the largest oven on the bottom and place the next smallest on top and continue until you have stacked ovens to your smallest size. My tree base starts with a massive 22" 160 lb. Maca Dutch oven and goes to the tiny Lodge 5" Dutch oven on top of the tree. I left out the last 2 ovens here, but you get the general idea and shape the tree will be.
This year I bought a used artificial Christmas tree from Goodwill for $12.00 to add greenery by using just the branches between each Dutch oven.
Unstack the Dutch ovens after you get the height of the stack you want and lets start decorating and building the "tree"!
Place your largest Dutch oven where you wish to have the tree, my chosen space this year was in a corner in the living room. The top view of the 22" Dutch oven shows the beginning and its massive size.
Begin by selecting the largest branch sections from the artificial Christmas Tree and place them on the lid of the Dutch oven. Try to place the branches around the lid handle so the ovens stack evenly and will not wobble as this can be very hazardous if it falls over. I had an advantage of not needing branches all the way around the tree since it was in a corner this year. Although in the pictures it looks like the handle is covered by branches it is not and the next oven was checked before further levels were stacked.
Step 3: The Second Layer Up
Stack the next smallest oven on top of the branches and check for any wobble and that the oven is level on top of the lid below.. Layer the next smallest sized branches with a couple bigger branches in between on top of the second oven. This oven in my tree is a Cabela's 20" Dutch oven which is no longer manufactured.
As you can see, the handle was covered but I rearranged the branches to expose the handle for the next oven.
To allow for the tree to be the right height for my home I had to leave out 4 Dutch ovens of various sizes. I left out a 17" in this next layer and placed a 16" Dutch oven on top of the 20" Dutch oven yo shorten the overall height by 11 1/2". Here is the 16" Dutch oven, a real beauty and fits right in on top of the 20" oven.
As you can see my the photos, more branches are layered on top of the 16" Dutch oven just like the previous layers with the next smallest sized branches and a few larger branches for some irregularity just like real trees, I don't want it to look to perfect.
Next in my stack is a deep 14" Dutch oven, again I left out another Dutch oven this one being a 15" oven that saved me another 10 1/2". I also left out of the stack an 11" and 9 " oven, all made by Maca and saving me a total height of almost 48" in height. If you were wondering I'll admit that I own and use over 125 Cast Iron Dutch ovens of all sorts of sizes.
Next in the stack are a 12" then 10" and 8" Dutch oven.
Stacked next were the 10" then the 8" on top. using smaller and smaller branches as we get higher up the "tree". Keep arranging branches on each lid as each layer is added. On top of the 8" I used 2 of the smallest branches then 1 branch of the same size on the 6" before topping with the 5" and the tree topper.
Step 7: Topping the Tree
For the topper to sit on the Top of the tree I bought another "mini" tree to place inside the 5" Dutch oven and attached it with a little black Gorilla Tape to keep our topper from falling over. Next, I scrunched the branches together and slid the Mickey mouse topper on the mini tree. BTW I found the light up and moving Mickey Mouse topper at, you guessed it Goodwill for $2.99 and he works! Last to do iis to place the 5" Dutch oven with the topper on top of the stack before adding lights and ornaments.