Instructions to Make Beer Can Trees

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Save your beer cans to make a tin tree.
Save your beer cans to make a tin tree. (Image: background / beer cans image by ENTER_DESIGN from Fotolia.com)

You most commonly see beer can trees at Christmastime, with green beer containers stacked on top of concentric circles and piled high to make a large upside-down cone shape. Beer can trees allow you to use a recyclable or disposable material in a creative manner and provide an alternative form of decoration for the holidays, or just for fun. The same method applies no matter how tall or short you want your tree to be.

Things You'll Need

  • 77 to 97 green beer cans
  • Cardboard sheets
  • Compass for large circles
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Green poster paint
  • 1-inch-wide paintbrush
  • Decorations: leaves, branches, Christmas lights, tinsel

Rinse out empty beer cans and turn them upside down to dry. Set them aside.

Draw a perfect 30 inch diameter circle on one sheet of cardboard. On separate sheets of cardboard draw circles that are 25 inches, 20 inches, 15 inches, 10 inches and 5 inches in diameter.

Cut out each circle from the cardboard. Paint the top and bottom of each circle green, except for the largest one. Paint just the top of that circle. Get ready to assemble the tree while the paint is still wet.

Lay your largest circle with the paint side up on the area where you would like your tree to stand. Line empty beer cans around the circumference of the circle. Depending on how close you want the cans to be, you will need 25 to 30 cans.

Lay the cardboard circle with the 25-inch diameter directly on top of these cans, very gently. Line empty beer cans around the circumference of this circle. You will need approximately 20 to 25 cans.

Lay the circle with the 20-inch diameter on top of the top circle of cans. Line 15 to 20 cans around the circumference of this circle.

Position the circle with the 15-inch diameter on top of the last circle of cans. Line the perimeter of this circle with approximately 10 to 15 cans.

Place the circle with the 10-inch diameter on top of the top layer of cans. You will need about five cans for this layer.

Lay the smallest circle on the last row of cans. You can add one or two cans to this top circle. Allow the paint to fully dry now and help secure all the cans in place.

Decorate the tree as you would like.You can poke fake or real leaves or branches in between the cans. Alternatively, add Christmas decorations, such as Christmas lights or tinsel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place the cans on the cardboard while the paint on the cardboard is still drying. This way, the paint will act as a natural adhesive to keep the cans in place. If you assemble the tree after the paint has dried, use white craft glue or hot glue to hold the cans in place.
  • If you don't have a large enough compass to draw the circles, tie a length of string around two pencils. Hold one pencil steady in the center of the cardboard, pull the string taut and pivot the other pencil around the central one while drawing a circle.
  • Cover your work area with newspaper when painting.

References

  • "Crafts from Junk;" Violaine Lameran; 2002
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