On Friday I mentioned of the two 10' Christmas trees I made this year in lieu of buying a freshly cut one. Although the task was easier than I had imagined, there were still many things I learned along the way that are worth mentioning for those who plan on doing something similar!
1. Have A Plan, But Be Willing To Change It: Although I hadn't sat down and measured the wood I was going to use, I did have a rough idea of what I wanted to accomplish and rational ways to make it all happen. What I didn't expect was for it to be too cold for my spray paint, eliminating a few colors we used or finding nails so soft they folded in half if you even breathed on them funny. Things change, just go with the flow so panic doesn't ensue.
2. Rough and Rugged Is Ok: There are sleek and modern alternative Christmas trees that are beautiful in their own right, but my trees have one crappy layer of paint on them, some parts didn't even get covered and you can see all of my hardware that didn't go in as straight as they should. But all these bits give the structure character and when all is said and done, you don't even notice them!
3. Support is #1: Although the trees I made weigh a great deal and probably aren't going anywhere any time soon, we still anchored them to the wall and floor. With any tree that hasn't been store bought and tested for durability, make sure you've found a way to keep things anchored, upright and safe from fire or flame!
4. It Can Be Free!: When it came to my trees, I was fortunate to have a great deal of scrap lumber on hand. For most, that's not always an option, but you can take a hammer with you and a blanket and set out on foot down the alleys of most major cities looking for scrap wood, branches or pallets to break apart. Wrap them in the blanket, sling them over your shoulder and take them home to use!
5. Make It Disassemble: When you're building something, your first concern is making your item stand up or be finished. In the case of a Christmas tree, chances are you won't be keeping it in your living room year round. Make sure you use hardware that allows you to take it down easily when all is said and done so you aren't calling friends with attics, asking if they have space for you to shove in an awkward tree!
The greatest thing I can say is: don't be scared. I had no idea how my trees would turn out, but not worrying too much about them being horrible made things light in mood and created a great look when all was said and done! To get an idea on how to build your own, study the materials and pieces that modern alternative trees have. Quite often they'll show you the materials outside of their packaging or on their websites. Score!
Related: 10 Modern Wooden Christmas Trees