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
3/8-inch drill bit
Antlers in a variety of sizes
Old car tire
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.
If you want a realistically pointed 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. You may find that your local wild game butchers are a cheap source of antlers.
If you do not feel that the tree is stable enough, screw a strong metal hook into the ceiling and tie the tree to it with some heavy-duty string. Tie the string around the rod below the top nut.