You will love this step-by-step tutorial on How to Build a Wood Christmas Tree using reclaimed shiplap boards. This is an easy project to create a unique farmhouse-style tree. There’s no need to worry if you don’t have reclaimed wood because I’m sharing how you can age new wood at the end of this tutorial.
The first Christmas here at The Ponds, my husband built a wood Christmas Tree using reclaimed shiplap. We placed it on our screened porch and It has been a perfect addition to our Farmhouse style. I get so many questions about the tree, I decided to share all the details.
Table of contents
- What Is A Shiplap Tree?
- Materials Needed to Build a Wood Christmas Tree
- How To Assemble The Tree
- How To Age New Shiplap? (optional)
- The Finished Shiplap Christmas Tree
What Is A Shiplap Tree?
A shiplap tree is made from either new or reclaimed shiplap.
This tree is made by allowing the individual boards to connect in the middle of the plank so they can move freely.
This is accomplished by drilling a hole in the center of each board and using a pipe to hold them in place.
Materials Needed to Build a Wood Christmas Tree
This tree measures 62 inches tall from the bottom block to the top of the center pole. We place our tree inside a vintage iron pot with legs; therefore, it is slightly taller when assembled.
Before beginning this project, you will want to determine the container you plan to use. The container size will determine the exact amount of materials and lengths needed for your wood tree.
Caution: Choose a container that will be heavy enough to hold the tree steady. It is crucial because the heavy wood can easily tip over a container that is not substantial enough. If you have a lightweight container, you can add rock or brick to give it weight.
Shiplap for Wood Christmas Tree
The shiplap boards used on this tree are 5 1/2 inches wide reclaimed boards.
- 3 of each size – 34″ long, 31″ long, 25″ long, 22″ long, 16″ long, and 13″ long
- 2 of each size – 10″ long and 5 1/4″ long
You will need a 4×4 post to cut – 9 – 2 1/2″ blocks
Use a 6×6 Post and cut 1 – 4″ high block
One 3/4″ PVC Pipe approx. 55 1/2 inches tall (note: a narrow piece of wood was inserted into the PVC Pipe to prevent bending. If you have a hardwood 3/4″ round dowel rod, you can substitute for the PVC pipe.
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How To Cut Wood Pieces?
First, cut all the wooden pieces to the correct size, using a miter saw to create clean edges. If needed, you can lightly sand the edges with a fine-grit sandpaper. Cut all boards based on the above dimensions or measurements determined by your container size.
How To Add Center Support?
Next, drill a 1 1/4 ” hole in the center of each cut board and 4×4 post using a cordless drill or drill press. In addition, drill a shallow hole into the center of the 6×6 post. This hole is just deep enough for the PVC pipe to rest inside. You can drill approx—1/2″ deep.
As a reminder, the hole should be larger than the PVC pipe because this will allow for any wood swelling and ease of assembly.
How To Assemble The Tree
Now, place the 6×6 post inside the container and level the post so that the tree will be balanced.
Next, place the PVC pipe into the post’s shallow hole and add the shiplap boards to the pipe. Start with the longest boards as you add them to the pipe.
With most containers, the first board will rest on top of the container rim and help to steady the pole.
Stagger the Shiplap Boards Placement
To balance the tree, be sure to stagger the placement of each board, as you can see here in the photo.
Add Dividing Blocks
Because you want to create space between the different size boards, add one of the 4x4x2 1/2 divider blocks between each size change.
You will continue until all the boards are placed on the pole.
Continue to stagger the board placement so that the tree will be balanced and be shaped similarly to a Christmas Tree.
Once all the boards are in place, you will have a small section of pipe above the blocks and shiplap. I added a metal star that slips over the exposed pipe as a tree topper; however, you can shorten the pipe before assembly if you prefer less tube exposed.
How To Age New Shiplap? (optional)
How to Make New Wood Look Aged
First, I recommend staining the wood with a grey oil-based stain such as Minwax Penetrating Classic Gray to age your new shiplap. Allow the gray color to penetrate and dry.
Next, add a white washed appearance by using a dry brush of white chalk paint.
Dry Brush Technique
To achieve a dry brush technique, dip your brush into the paint and wipe off most of the paint with a paper towel or cloth. Then lightly brush the color over the board’s surface until you have the desired coverage. You can see how this dry brush technique looks when used on a vintage toolbox.
In addition, you can distress the wood for a more authentic appearance. This is how we distressed the wood on our DIY kitchen island.
The Finished Shiplap Christmas Tree
You can use many items to decorate your new wood Christmas tree. This is a close-up view of the wood tree last Christmas. If you’d like to see more from last Christmas, check out this post, where I shared several photos from Christmas Past.
Each year the Shiplap Christmas Tree is placed on the screened porch and is a perfect addition once the sun goes down.
Although I initially used the tree for Christmas, I have discovered that it’s excellent year-round and filled with seasonal decor.
Here is the shiplap tree dressed for Easter. To see the tour, click here.