How to Make a Christmas Tree From Deer Antlers

Deer rub the velvet off on trees, leaving a hard, bony antler.
Deer rub the velvet off on trees, leaving a hard, bony antler. (Image: deer pose image by Scott McCarty from

Make yourself a re-usable Christmas tree from deer antlers that will look stunning and, with any luck, grow a little each year. Male deer typically grow a pair of antlers over the course of three or four months every year. They use them to intimidate and fight their way to dominance for mating purposes. They start shedding their antlers in December. You can either buy the antlers or hunt for "sheds" yourself. Since rodents eat the high-calcium substance, you'll be lucky to find a decent haul. However, the discovery of one antler often leads to other finds nearby.

Things You'll Need

  • ¼-inch 3-foot threaded steel rod with nuts at both ends
  • Stack of old newspapers
  • 2 small scraps of wood
  • Dark brown spray paint
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Antlers in a variety of sizes
  • Old car tire

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Spread a newspaper on the ground, either outside or in a well-ventilated area.

Place the steel rod on the newspaper, elevated slightly with each end resting on a scrap of wood.

Spray the rod with the dark brown paint. When it is dry, turn it over and spray any unpainted patches. Leave it to dry.

Rest each antler on the ground with the tips pointing upward and drill a 3/8-inch hole 3 or 4 inches in from the base.

Screw a nut onto one end of the rod and thread the antlers onto it from the other end. Put most pointing upward and a few facing downward. The upward-pointing antlers hold the tree decorations. Use larger antlers at the bottom of the tree and smaller ones as the tree grows.

Build the tree on the car tire. As the tree gets bigger, use rolled up newspapers stuffed between the bottom antlers and the tire to keep the tree straight. The weight of the antlers will hold the paper in position.

Start angling the holes toward the base of the antlers once a few tree layers are in place. The antlers stand higher, with the tips pointing further into the center. Increase the angles as the antlers get smaller. Use your judgment as you build because the antlers will rest on each other in different ways, depending on their shape. The angle in the top antler should be about 45 degrees so that the tips are upright enough for the crowning decoration.

Put the top nut on the rod when the tree is completed.


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