Decorate your home for a merry Christmas with unique home decor ideas that suit your family. If your family enjoys deer hunting or decor centered around nature, consider making a reusable deer antler Christmas tree from buck "sheds"—it will look stunning and, with any luck, grow a little each year.
Male deer typically grow a new pair of antlers over the course of three or four months every year. They use them to attract female deer and intimidate and fight their way to dominance for mating purposes. After the mating season is over, the deer shed the antlers, and you can use them to make deer decor for the holiday season.
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Although you can purchase an antler Christmas tree or another decor, such as an antler chandelier or antler wreath, with this DIY shed antler Christmas tree tutorial, you can save money and add a personal touch to your own unique Christmas decor.
Things You'll Need
¼-inch 3-foot-long threaded steel rod with nuts at both ends
Stack of old newspapers
2 small scraps of wood
Dark brown spray paint
3/8-inch drill bit
Antlers in a variety of sizes
Old car tire
How to make a deer antler Christmas tree
Collect deer antlers
Buy the antlers you need to make your Christmas tree. You may find that your local wild game butchers are a cheap source of antlers.
Alternatively, you can hunt for sheds yourself to use next Christmas. Many areas of the country have whitetail deer or mule deer, and bucks typically shed their antlers between January and April. Elk antlers also work to make a Christmas tree. Elk typically shed their antlers in March and April.
Since rodents eat the high-calcium substance, you'll be lucky to find a decent antler haul. However, the discovery of one antler often leads to other finds nearby.
Prepare your work area
Spread a newspaper on the ground, either outside or in a well-ventilated area.
Paint the steel rod
Place the steel rod on the newspaper, elevated slightly, with each end resting on a scrap of wood. Spray the rod with dark brown paint. When it is dry, turn it over and spray any unpainted patches. Leave it to dry.
Drill the antlers
Rest each antler on the ground with the tips pointing upward and drill a 3/8-inch hole 3 or 4 inches from the base.
Thread the antlers
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.
If you want a realistically pointed antler Christmas tree, cut the antlers into smaller pieces with a hacksaw as the tree gets higher. Lengthen the central rod yearly as you gather more antlers, using rod couples to add 1 foot at a time.
Begin your antler Christmas tree build
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.
Construct the Christmas tree
Start angling the holes toward the base of the antlers after 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.
Finish your deer antler Christmas tree
Put the top nut on the rod when the tree is completely built to finish your antler Christmas tree.
If you don't feel that the tree is stable enough, screw a strong metal hook into the ceiling and tie the tree to it with heavy-duty string. Tie the string around the rod below the top nut.
Making your own Christmas tree from deer antlers requires a bit of time but adds a unique and personal touch to your holiday decor. Find or purchase antlers and assemble them into a tree shape. Let the tree stand on its own or consider adding lights and your favorite Christmas tree ornaments and topper.