How to Make an Alternative Christmas Tree in an Oversized Frame

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During the holiday season, an oversized frame featuring a festive theme is an creative way to decorate. If you can't get a real Christmas tree due to space or budget restraints, think how cool it would be to set up this alternative tree. Using inexpensive hardware store items, you can lean it against any wall for an instant dose of holiday decor.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Things You'll Need

  • 6-foot pine one-by-fours (3)
  • Miter saw or saw and a miter box
  • Drill
  • Kreg jig, or wood glue and corner brackets
  • 1 1/4-inch kreg screws (8)
  • 18 feet of decorative wood trim
  • Wood glue or pneumatic nailer
  • Wood stain (Minwax Jacobean is used in this project)
  • Disposable foam brush
  • Painters rags
  • 3-by-6 foot section of pegboard (for this tree, three smaller sections were used)
  • 3/4-inch screws (20)
  • 6-by-9 foot canvas painters drop cloth
  • Staple gun
  • Tin cap disks (3 boxes)
  • 4-inch clear zip ties (1 bag -- at least 500 will be needed)
  • Stick pins
  • 2-inch PVC pipe
  • Assorted spray paint (glittered green, metallic gold, and flat green were used for this project)
  • Green twine
  • Embroidery needle

Step 1

Measure and cut the one-by-fours. Set the miter saw to a 45 degree angle. Cut a mitered corner on each end of two one-by-fours. Cut the third board in half (two 3-foot lengths) and then miter each end of these shorter boards. Together these four boards will fit together to make a frame measuring 6-feet tall and 3-feet wide.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 2

Drill two pocket holes in each end of the 3-foot boards. (If you don’t have a pocket drill, wood glue and some corner brackets will work to secure the corner joint.)

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Screw together the boards to make the frame.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

The frame is perfectly fine to use at this point if you're looking for a simpler style without trim embellishment.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

If you want embellishment, repeat the above process with trim pieces. Nail or glue these pieces along the outer edge of the frame.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 3

Stain the frame. Apply the stain with a brush, letting it soak into the wood for a few minutes, and then remove with a painter's rag.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 4

Flip the frame over and lay the drop cloth on top. Using a staple gun, staple the canvas onto the frame, working from side to side until canvas is pulled taut across the four sides of the frame. You can either trim the excess canvas or wrap around the pegboard (see next step) and glue in place.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Place the pegboard on top of the canvas and screw into place.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 5

Drill a hole through the tin caps. You can put the caps on top of each other and do this in groups of 10 to 15.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 6

Using the miter saw, cut the PVC pipe into smaller sections (roughly 1/2- to 3/4- inch each). Spray paint the tin caps and the PVC pipe. This tree features the colors of metallic gold, glitter green, and flat green.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 7

Using stick pins, mark where to sew the twine on the canvas drop cloth. The top of the tree should be about five rows from the top of the frame and centered on the canvas. After some trial and error with the holes on the peg board, it worked out that each stick pin should be one column over and five rows down. This allowed for the proper sized triangle to fit the frame.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 8

Thread the twine onto the embroidery needle and follow the stick pin outline. This will give the general shape of the tree in which to sew all the decorations.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

This is an image of the back of the frame so you can see the twine weaving through the peg board. The white dots indicate where the twine was threaded through the peg board to make the initial tree shape (over one column, down five rows).

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 9

To make the pattern shown in this project, sew one tin cap through every other hole on the row. Move up one row, and this time stagger your tin cap placement, but continue to sew one every other hole. Repeat on the third row and again stagger the tin caps and sew every other hole. (See illustration below.)

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 10

Interlock three zip ties to make a short chain. Repeat. You will need lots of these... this tree used a minimum of 450.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 11

Gather three chains and use a fourth zip tie to connect into a zip tie 'tassel.' This tree required 45 'tassels.'

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 12

Connect the zip tie tassels below every third row of tin disks. The blue dots indicate where the zip tie tassels were attached from the back. The green dots show where each tin disk was sewn on.

(Image: Charlott Smith)

Step 13

Using a zip tie, attach the PVC rings to the tree. To stagger the rings evenly, one ring was attached at either corner of the twine outline (the white dots shown). They were also attached to alternate zip tie tassels. (See detail below.)

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

At six-feet tall, this frame makes a holiday impact in any space.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Tip

  • Drape a strand of ball fringe (or other fun garland) over the corner of the frame to accentuate the whimsy of your quirky tree decor.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

This oversized fame will immediately bring a festive and fun element into any room. Lean the frame up against a wall for easy, mess-free holiday decor. Best part? All the materials required are available at your local hardware store.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

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