DIY Christmas tree ideas: 12 natural ways to make a tree for the festive season
These DIY Christmas tree ideas are quick and easy to make and will bring out your creative side
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It's peak crafting season and these DIY Christmas tree ideas should get your festive decorations off to a great start. It's amazing what's up for grabs when you're out foraging in the woods or your garden. Find free stuff that can be used to create something that's individual, sustainable and easily recycled.
If you want to try out a different festive look this year, our DIY Christmas tree solutions are the way to go. Perhaps you're looking for an alternative to the more traditional types of Christmas tree if you live in a small apartment. Or maybe you love layering up the decorations and want smaller trees in different rooms or to dress the festive table with something a bit more exciting than the usual candles.
Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of ways to give your festive decor a more natural, homemade twist this season.
12 DIY Christmas tree ideas that are easy to create
Our favorite DIY Christmas tree ideas can be made quickly and are also cheap to do. From twig trees and evergreen foliage to tabletop ideas and Scandi-inspired contemporary looks, there's something to suit every style.
1. Design an on-the-wall Christmas tree
This wall-mounted Christmas tree is a great space-saving idea. It's made from foraged twigs cut to create a Christmas tree shape, then tied together with string. It can be hung from a nail in the wall.
To learn how to make a twig Christmas tree for your wall, simply cut the twigs to size, laying your design out on a flat surface so you can put together a triangle shape resembling a Christmas tree.
Once you've crafted your tree shape all that’s left to do is decorate it as you wish. This one uses oven-dried slices of orange as the main event. To do this, pre-heat the oven on a low setting. Cut the oranges into 1cm thick slices then spread them on a baking tray. Cook for 2-3 hours turning occasionally and take out to cool once they've crisped up.
Other natural decorations you could try include pine cones, bundles of cinnamon sticks and star anise sprayed white or silver. And don't forget to top your tree with a twig star.
2. Use wine corks to make a tree
Keep those wine corks that might be piling up and put them to good use. This simple, fun and decorative DIY wine cork Christmas tree requires only basic skills to make yet looks really effective as a table centerpiece.
Start by gluing six wine corks together horizontally to create a flat base. You might find it easiest if you use a hot glue gun.
Then build up the next layer of five corks, positioning them so they slot in between the corks on the base layer. Repeat with a layer of four, then three, then two and top with a final single cork so you create a triangular tree shape.
Add decorations of your choice such as sparkly stars and a dusting of glitter.
3. Bring the winter forest home
Green and gold lichen and moss covered branches are a real find and there's plenty to collect at this time of year after the high winds have dislodged them from trees. Find enough and you can use them for some natural looking Christmas twig craft to bring a woodland touch to your decor.
Look for ones with interesting patterned bark and slim straight branches that you can cut to size once you get home.
You can use twine to support your tree once you've laid out your design so it becomes a hanging version or mount the branches on a board if preferred. Then all you need to do is twist through some mini lights to add that essential touch of sparkle.
4. Spray twigs icy white for a Scandi vibe
The twig decoration is a classic Scandi Christmas decoration. Find pliable branches in the garden or woods and trim them into shape. Spray paint them white and the resulting look is pared-down and pleasing.
To get the branch to stand up properly, take a block of oasis from the florist and push it into an ornamental container or bowl, cutting it to fit if necessary. Then insert your Christmas twig tree and cover the top with moss and pebbles to anchor it in place.
Search through your Christmas boxes for naturally inspired ornaments to decorate the twigs such as these dainty birds. Resist overloading your twig tree though. The Scandi aesthetic is definitely a case of less is more. Finally twist through some festive mini-lights in warm white.
5. Decorate a cute tabletop tree
If you're a fan of small Christmas trees, choose a mini spruce like a Picea Conica. Maintaining a lovely, neat conical shape as it grows, this is an evergreen dwarf Alberta Spruce that's easy to grow and care for, and just at home in a container in the garden. It's a great choice for a tabletop decoration, or it can be placed on a doorstep to add an extra flourish to your Christmas porch decor ideas.
Decorate with planet-friendly baubles made from sustainably sourced paper that can be kept or recycled after use. Once the festive season is over, the tree can be planted out in your garden, so it's a win-win all round in terms of sustainability.
6. Get creative with pine branches
For an alternative eco Christmas tree concept, try using conifer or pine branches. These are widely available in a wood near you, if not in your own garden. You can also use the wayward branches from your Christmas tree when it's snipped into shape for both this design and your Christmas wreath ideas, instead of throwing the branches away.
This one is super easy to do as well. Simply arrange the branches so they drape down in a loose Christmas tree shape, securing them with twine to a sturdy piece of wood for hanging up, then add a few sparkly lights.
7. Design your own succulent tree
On-trend succulents are ideal for making a compact DIY Christmas tree. Unlike more traditional Christmas trees, there's no need to worry about pine-needles dropping all over. Another good thing is that you can easily pull your tree apart and replant your succulents once the festive season is over so it's a sustainable and long living choice too.
You will need a small cone-shaped metal frame of the type available from crafting shops and florists, a liner such as weed control fabric, succulent potting compost and moss. Simply line the inside of the frame with the fabric and pack with damp moss, then invert over a small container filled with compost.
Then slit holes in the fabric and start arranging your succulents. When it comes to decoration, either keep it natural or add baubles and fairy lights if desired.
If you love this look, you might want to consider learning how to make a succulent wreath too for an alternative look for your festive front door.
8. Shape foliage into a tree design
Who knew there is so much you can do with evergreens! This quirky option is a great one to consider for your outdoor Christmas deco ideas.
If you don't have a good supply of evergreen foliage in the garden or locally you can buy Christmas DIY foliage bundles online, as well as from the florist and the garden center.
These generally include a selection of Blue Spruce, Scotch and Nordman pine that are perfect for crafting projects. But foraging a little extra is always a nice idea to make your Christmas crafting project unique as you can add those special little touches. This one has conifer sprays woven in to provide a pretty color accent.
When it comes to decorations, once in a while it's nice to go full-on traditional Christmas. Nothing beats red and gold baubles and pine cones.
9. Use evergreen branches for a festive feel
Evergreen foliage looks incredible at this time of year and works well in any setting. A simply decorated arrangement of pine greenery in a vase is one of the easiest designs around.
Evergreen stems are easy to get hold of too and last for weeks. To help your greenery stay looking good throughout the festive season follow some simple conditioning steps.
Give the ends a clean cut with strong secateurs, cutting at an angle to increase the surface area and encourage the stem to take up water. If it's a very thick stem, add an extra cut vertically up the centre to help keep your foliage hydrated even better.
10. Make a centerpiece for your Christmas table
This is a fun option for your DIY Christmas decorations this year. Get creative with a natural looking tree design for your festive table. This will make a great centerpiece for the buffet spread at a Christmas party. Alternatively you can prop up the board if everything has been glued in place. Having a hot glue gun on standby is handy for a project like this.
Use a wooden board as the base for your design. Try lovely feathery fennel leaves to build up the tree shape, but if you can't find them use evergreen foliage instead, which will do just as well. Carefully secure the foliage in place using a glue gun.
Pomegranate seeds and blueberries are a good choice to create festive garlands for your DIY Christmas tree, but alternatively you could use star anise sprayed silver or gold (or left natural), or red berries from the garden (remember to opt for non-poisonous ones for decorations that are going near food). A star-shaped succulent looks pretty to top the tree.
11. Rock a rustic look
Take the idea of cosy country cottage style as your starting point for a feel good rustic look that's easy to put together. Everything in this decoration is readily available, whether foraged in the garden, countryside or woods – or around the house.
Go for a traditional look using gold and red with subtle touches of glitter and sparkle. Dainty paper and cardboard ornaments can be cut out and decorated in minutes. Heart and bird designs are easy to do and you'll find plenty of paper craft templates online to inspire you.
12. Opt for easy
If you want a fast fix natural idea buy a pre-made twig and rope tree and decorate it yourself. Sprinkle with faux glitter 'frost', twist in tendrils of ivy and entwine a string of warm white micro lights. It's so simple to do and creates a fresh new take on DIY Christmas tree ideas.
How do I make a homemade Christmas tree?
First decide what materials you want to use. For example, you could opt for making a natural looking homemade Christmas tree with foraged foliage, branches, twigs and natural ornaments like pine cones and berries.
Either leave them natural or perhaps you prefer a glitzier look by choosing to spray twigs in gold or silver for a frosty garden vibe.
Next decide whether you are going to hang up your tree on the wall, make it as a table-top decoration or insert it into a pot.
When it comes to DIY Christmas tree decorations, the spice shelf is another good source of inspiration, with treasures like star anise, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves offering up lots of potential for natural decorations, either left as they are or spray painted in white, gold or silver.
Paper decorations are another cheap and easy way to create alternative decorations that are eco-friendly too.
How can you make a DIY Christmas tree for outdoors?
Set the scene for festive celebrations by taking one of our DIY Christmas tree ideas outside to decorate your fence, garden wall or shed. It will add a touch of cheeriness to your winter patio ideas and welcome guests and neighbors in style.
Wall-hung twig trees are one of the best ideas for outdoor decorations as long as you have a flat surface such as a wall or fence to fix them to. They take up very little space so are a good idea for small urban courtyards and terraces too. They won't get spoiled by any inclement winter weather either as they're tough.
Just make sure any decorations and outdoor Christmas lights used are suitable for exterior use.
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design, she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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