12 DIY Christmas tree ideas – clever and creative looks to copy

Get crafty over the holidays with festive DIY Christmas tree ideas that the whole family can try out. Use paint, card, nature's picks and more to make your own tree this season.

Old hymn sheets in Christmas tree form behind chest in living room
(Image credit: Lights4fun)

If there's a time of year when it really pays off to get creative, it's Christmas. Sure, most of us opt for traditional firs or even go faux but DIY Christmas tree ideas are becoming very popular in the world of home interiors. 

Making your own Christmas tree, whether using cardboard, ribbon, wood or another crafting medium, lets you customize your design to suit your home and decor preferences perfectly. Whether you're low on space, not keen on sweeping up after your Norman Spruce every other day or, if you want to enhance your main Christmas tree decor with a few more pops of color and texture, there's much in the way of inspiration to try out.

DIY Christmas tree ideas to get crafty with

A homemade Christmas tree doesn't need to replace your main real or artificial tree, it can simply be used to enhance your other Christmas decoration ideas furthermore with something personalized, if not slightly quirky. Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design at The Home Depot comments, 'Many families are deciding to use DIY projects to spruce up their holiday decorations. We like the idea of examining your collection from last year and keeping the staple pieces that resonate with your theme this year. Using DIY projects to keep your holiday décor pieces relevant to your changing theme is a great way to keep decorations fresh from year to year while also keeping storage space in mind.'

1. DIY rope and birch tree with lights

Wall wooden Christmas tree with fairy lights

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

Build this from different lengths of wood using rope to secure them in tree form, this is a simple DIY to try and it makes for stunning Christmas living room decor when finished off with lights. 

'If you're short on space, but big on Christmas, hang this effortlessly simple rustic ladder tree on a wall or door for an instant festive finish. Embrace a touch of Scandi styling with this fab alternative for if you haven't got room for a big tree. Don't forget you can still customize it with foliage and Christmas decorations!' Say the designers at Ginger Ray. Shop the wall hanging Christmas tree with lights or get creative with what you have on hand. 

2. DIY scrapbook Christmas Tree

Old hymn sheets in Christmas tree form behind chest in living room

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

If you have an old scrap book or assortment of Christmas memories scribbled somewhere, make them into a rustic Christmas decor display by sticking them on the wall in the form of a tree! Save your great paint job or wallpaper by using small command strips or by cutting up a couple of large ones, to cover the area. This is ideal if you have an empty alcove but not much floor room.

3. DIY wallpaper panel Christmas tree

Christmas tree art panel with baubels

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

A quirky pick for the artists among us, why not blow up a picture of frosted Christmas trees on canvas and add a couple of baubles over the top for a super simple but effective and space-saving DIY? You could even have the kids help you draw a simple tree design and then stick on tinsel and the likes as you would do when decorating a real Christmas tree

This particular design is from UK-based Lime Lace and when it comes to hanging your piece, either:

1. Make a scroll at the top of the paper, thread a nice ribbon through and hang your tree against the wall or from the ceiling.
Or
2. Paste the tree to a board, add cup hooks or mapping pins & decorate with real baubles.

4. The step ladder Christmas tree

DIY ladder Christmas free with wrapped around festoon lighting

(Image credit: GettyImages-1074277068-2 Credit: Westend61)

A very literal option, and sure to inspire the DIYers among us, take your trusty step ladder and transform it into a handsome DIY Christmas tree. The shape is already there, so with the simple addition of garland lights and a novelty Christmas tree topper, you've a different kind of take on your traditional fir.

5. DIY Paper Christmas snowflake trees

Paper trees with white deer ornament on Christmas setup

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Remember the beloved ritual of making paper snowflakes? Take it that one step further by forming trees. Perfect to decorate a Christmas mantel with, while you could, of course, work in A3 for bigger results. Simply cut your tree shape then use that as a template to cut out the exact same design across at least about five sheets of paper. Then secure the center of the trees together using PVA or a hot glue gun. You could use plain paper for the classic Christmas look or, jazz up your design with biodegradable glitter and/or paint. Another alternative is to cut up beautiful shots from a magazine for a more eclectic and maximalist look.

For a quick and easy cheat, shop the set of three ringlet trees from Dunelm or find similar on Etsy.

6. DIY Twig and twine Christmas trees

Twig tree with red twine


(Image credit: TI Archive)

For a simple DIY tree, grab the kids and go foraging for a few different sticks and twigs in the yard. Let them dry out then glue the 'branches' to a couple of sticks that act as the trunk/spine of the tree. Use red or green twine to secure your tree together and to add in some festive color also then stand them up in a moss filled mini jute Santa bag which you can find from craft stores like HobbyLobby or Amazon. Or, cover a small old plant pot with jute fabric and a little ribbon.

7. Floral DIY Christmas Tree

DIY Victorian style Christmas tree

(Image credit: Bombus)

Picking up a plain wooden Christmas tree to DIY gives you lots of options. The gothic Victorian style of this tree is sure to give a stunning, dramatic finish to a home. Jo Dench-Owens Accounts and Marketing Manager at Bombus notes 'The method of decorating this tree uses traditional decoupage techniques'

Materials:

  • Your wooden tree or shape that you wish to decorate
  • White PVA
  • Firm decopatch fine bristle brushes.
  • Absorbant rather than glossy finish paper matter of your theme of choice. Vintage sheet music or comics work really well. 

Method:

  1. Prepare the surface you are decorating. If it is wood then is best to lightly sand the surface with fine sandpaper to lift any whiskers off. 
  2. Cut or trim all the paper in advance to the shapes you need them to be - e.g Squares, strips or silhouettes. This makes it easier once you start to apply the glue.
  3. Cover the area you are ready to decorate with an even covering of PVA glue. Work in small areas and move quickly so that the glue doesn't dry out.
  4. Lay the piece of paper on the glued surface. Using the brush, smooth the paper up and down being sure to remove any ripples or bubbles. Make sure all edges are glued down firmly.
  5. Repeat stages 3&4 until your whole surface is covered. 
  6. Cover all of your paper with a fine top coating of PVA 
  7. Leave to dry overnight, and if you want a smooth overall finish give the whole surface a second coating of PVA glue and/or a clear varnish. 

8. Mini ribbon trees

Christmas tree decoration out of twigs, ribbons and stars

(Image credit: www.ti-mediacontent.com)

If you want to go tiny with your DIY Christmas trees these are perfect. They also make a great way to use up those scraps of ribbon leftover from wrapping gifts. Grab a few twigs, a hot glue gun, string or ribbon and let your designs run wild. Add these wherever you wish, to enhance an existing Christmas tree theme in the home or, place a few together in the shape of a tree to create a larger form, mimicking the real deal.

9. DIY Succulent Christmas tree

Succulent DIY Christmas tree on table outdoors

(Image credit: The Home Depot )

Create a stunning succulent Christmas tree, perfect for indoors and out. Simply purchase a wire tree to 'attach' your succulents to, securing them by using moss as you would when building a terrarium. Pack them in tightly to ensure it stays in place all throughout the holidays and keep it watered also. Take a look at how The Home Depot tackles this Christmas crafting project.

10. DIY Mossy branch Christmas tree

Moss DIY Christmas tree

(Image credit: Getty Images Westend61 Creative #: 673113575)

This DIY tree will give you a great excuse to get out in the yard or in your local forest with the kids to gather up different sized mossy sticks. Stick them together on a sheet of white card to hang yours on the wall directly or, use twine to secure the twigs together so that you can add in fairy lights and any other decorative touches you'd like before displaying.

11. Watercolor Christmas trees

Watercolor painted DIY Christmas tree

(Image credit: Bombus)

If you pick up plain wood slot in DIY Christmas trees, or make your own out of thick card – do this by cutting out a basic tree design on two sheets then making a slit on the bottom of one in the center then slotting them in together – then you can get creative with paint. Choose watercolors and add more design interest to your space by choosing alternative Christmas colors like bright magentas, fuscias and more – using a gradient technique to impress guests furthermore. A non traditional approach will still bring happy holiday vibes to your home.

12. Rustic branch tree 

Branch DIY Christmas tree dressed with baubles

(Image credit: GettyImages-1289104989 Anastasiia Krivenok)

This handmade Christmas tree is made from branches and dressed with glowing garland lights. A succinct selection of ceramic ornaments adds the perfect amount of festive luxe to this creation which works as great as a wall hanging for the holidays.

How can I make my own Christmas tree?

How you DIY your Christmas tree is up to you, and you have options. Create the entire thing from scratch or alternatively, you can buy tree shaped alternatives in cardboard or wood and decorate them as you wish for more of a personalized feel to enhance your Christmas display. Fishburne adds, 'I personally enjoy having both artificial and live trees in my home, maximizing the festive season. We always put up a live tree in the living room for the family to gather around and admire our favorite memories and keepsake ornaments on display in a festive way. I decorate with smaller and artificial trees throughout my home to pull together our theme and unique color palettes of that year.' 

'For those who already have large collections, we recommend adding to your décor meaningfully, like purchasing one or two more decorations per year and DIY-ing some other pieces. Plus, DIY projects are a great family activity that also gives your space an extra personalized touch.'

What is the cheapest way to DIY a Christmas tree?

To keep this project budget-friendly you'll want to make the most of what you have to hand in terms of crafting mediums, baubles, fairy lights and more. Then be sure to use mother nature's resources also. Choose the moss stick and twig DIY Christmas tree options as they are basically free and sure to nod to that traditional tree look. 

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Camille Dubuis-Welch

Camille is Digital Editor at Realhomes.com and joined the team in January 2020. As an interior design aficionado, when she’s not developing evergreen content and furiously researching keywords, she is most definitely finding new ways to spruce up her rented space, usually involving a houseplant or two. She loves the challenge that comes with making a room look stylish and feel homely, and her ultimate goal is to renovate the house of dreams, somewhere marvellously sunny with a wild and lavish garden, of course.

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