Inspired by Alpine artificial Christmas trees, these DIY Christmas trees are perfect for any small space. Make them as tall as you’d like and choose any holiday stems for your branches. Keep it simple, flock your bushes with snow spray, and you could even add some fairy lights! Want to change the look of your tree? Simply swap out your branches and you’ve got yourself a new tree.
Learn how we made these Christmas trees for a fraction of the cost of those sold at big box stores.
I fell in love with these Anthropologie artificial trees but not with that price. You see that $168? That’s the price for the small one 😳. That’s right, only the small one.
There’s also this artificial Alpine tree from Target with prices ranging from $50 for a 4ft tree to $100 for a 6ft. I couldn’t justify paying that much, especially if I wanted more then one tree. This called for a DIY project! I put together everything we did so that you can also make your own!
What you’ll need for your DIY Christmas trees
- Tree trunk or thick branch
- Artificial stems/bushes
- Wire cutter
- Wood board (for base, size depends on your tree)
- Stain (any wood stain color you’d like)
- Wood screws
- Drill (with drill bit and screw bit)
- Saw (to cut tree trunk and base)
Gather your tree trunk or thick branch
It’s been pretty windy lately causing a lot of branches and small tree trunks to fall. We found these small tree trunks on the ground and made sure to pick ones that were as straight as possible. They won’t be perfectly straight but you won’t notice once you add your branches.
We gathered a few tree trunks and thick branches to have as options.
Cut your trunk
We examined each trunk to determine where we were going to cut them to get the straightest part. We also kept in mind what size tree I wanted. I wanted a 5-6 ft tree for my bigger tree and 4-5ft for my smaller one. We took this into consideration when searching for the right trunk. We used our Ryobi reciprocating saw to cut the wood but you could use any saw.
Make your base
To avoid your tree from falling over, you need to create a base. We cut and used a pine stair tread that was left over from a small renovation that was done on our stairs years ago. We have a tall bin filled with wood scraps, and boy I’m glad we do because the price for wood now is insane! (If you are a DIYer I strongly recommend saving all your wood scraps.) Any type of wood will work for a base.
This was another wood option we had to make as the base. This board alone when cut could serve as several bases for several trees.
We cut the board into an 11×11 square using a circular saw. We could have probably gotten away with a smaller base but I could always go back and cut them and restain the edges at a later time. If you plan on putting your tree in a small basket make a smaller base. Just make sure your base can hold up your tree and not have it topple over.
Another option is to skip the base altogether and plant your trunk inside a potted planter. If your tree doesn’t stand straight stabilize it by adding concrete or attach a really small base and add dirt around it.
To attach the base we flipped the board over, measured, and marked the center. We predrilled a hole through the center of the board. Then from underneath the board (where we marked the center), held the trunk against the board and drilled a wood screw right into the bottom of the trunk.
I then stained the base using Minwax Wood Stain in the color dark walnut. Using an old t-shirt I applied one coat of stain and that’s it. Stain is best if protected with a poly but I didn’t feel the need to. I like how rustic it looks and there is no need to make it look perfect because it’s going to be covered anyway.
Initially, I attempted to stain around the trunk but then easily removed the base and stained it before reattaching it to the tree trunk again.
With the same t-shirt that was used to stain the base and slightly wiped up the trunk to darken it a little. You can see the difference In the photo below. The bottom of the tree trunk on the right is stained and the left isn’t.
Drill your holes
Once we had the trunk and base put together, it was time to drill our holes for the artificial branches.
We used our Ryobi drill and used a 7/64 drill bit. The size of the drill bit will depend on the type of branch you get. I placed the drill bit next to the stem of our branch to compare the size and drilled a hole into one of the pieces of wood I wasn’t going to use. The 7/64 drill bit was the perfect fit. You want it to fit a little snug that way your branch will stay in place.
When drilling, we only went in 3/4 of the way. We drilled directly in first then angled the drill upwards. I wanted my tree to be downswept, meaning that the branches will curve downward so drilling upwards will allow the branches to hang down. If you want your branches to stick right out and not downward, drill directly in and don’t angle your drill. I drilled only a few holes to start with then started attaching my branches.
Prep your holiday stems/branches
I found these branches on sale at Hobby Lobby. I like that each stem had several pieces that I could take apart. You can grab any branch you would like as long as it has a sturdy wire as the stem.
You’ll need a wire cutter to easily cut your stems.
Attach your stems
Once you have your hole drilled, you simply push the stem of your branch in and twist it a little and that’s it! It should fit nice and snug. No need to use any glue, but you can if you’d like to make it permanent. I didn’t add any glue as I would like to have the option of changing my branches in the future.
For the top, I took apart some of the branches and did individual stems. I purchased floral stem wrapping tape just in case I wanted to reattach some of the stems together but I did not end up needing it.
Cut the tips off your branch if you can and start with the shortest ones on top. Leave them longer as you go further down the tree. I also took less of them apart as I went down. When I got towards the bottom of the tree, I did not take my branch apart. I left it as is and just cut the stem a little. That way the bottom looks a little more filled in.
For the top of the trunk I drilled one hole directly in the center of the top and two more on the sides. I then placed one longer stem in the middle and two shorter ones in the other two holes.
Once the entire tree was complete I went back with scissors and cut some more tips off to better shape the tree and fluffed the branches. My branches are pretty soft and the downswept look does not allow me to add heavy ornaments but I love how simple it is. If you would like to add ornaments I would suggest buying branches that are sturdy and don’t do a downswept tree.
We were able to make a 5.5ft and a 4ft tree all for less then $50. Not a bad price for two trees.
If you are looking for a fun holiday DIY, try this one out and tag me! I would love to see your DIY Christmas Trees!
For other great DIY projects and holiday ideas check out
- How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
- DIY Sideboard Makeover
- Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas
- 5 Fall Porch Decor Must Haves