Skip to main content

Add charm to your Christmas and winter decor: How to make 3D wood trees

Many people look forward to decorating for the holidays and adding a bit of warmth to their living space. Turning your home into the perfect winter scene is the official start of the season. But how do you feel about the decorations you already have? Do they lack a personal touch?

If your Christmas decor is missing a bit of magic, you should try your hand at making some yourself. It isn’t as hard as you may think to make, and you can create something that you’ll be thrilled to display every year. For an adorable homemade option, we’re going to go over how to make 3D trees for your home.

Handmade Christmas trees and a mirror sitting on a table.

Why you should make your own tree decor

More unique than store-bought

It’s true that it’s easier to go out and buy your decorations. But when you do that, you run the risk of seeing the same decorations all over the neighborhood. You’ll see the same trees that are sitting in your house all over your Instagram feed, which makes them feel a little less special.

Making your own 3D wood Christmas tree decorations will give your home a bit of uniqueness. Even if you use the same pattern as someone else, you won’t wind up with the exact same shape or height. You can also make it more your own with the way you paint or stain the wood.

Can be a fun family project

Turn making Christmas trees into a fun family project. If you have children, they can help with sanding and painting. And if you find you are good at making them, you can make personalized ones to give out as presents.

What you’ll need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tree template of your choice
  • Surface safe for cutting
  • Saw or X-ACTO knife (depending on the thickness of the wood)
  • Sander
  • 2 pieces of flat wood
  • Paint (green, gold glitter, silver glitter)

The tree pattern

For the pattern, you can choose a straight triangle shape, or a curved branch if you are feeling whimsical. The wood can vary as well, but we suggest plywood because it’s thin and easy to cut. That said, if you find some wood at your local hardware store that you like and can work with, grab it.

Festive wood trees and reindeer decor against a blue background.

How to make the tree

Cut out the pattern

You want to make sure the length of your paper and the length of the wood you are using are the same. This is an important step, so if you aren’t so sure about your free-hand skills, you’ll want to trace your design or template on the paper. Once you have your pattern the way you like, cut it out.

Trace the pattern onto the first wood piece. Use your saw to cut the first tree out. It’s best to then use that tree to trace onto the second piece of wood so you get the closest match. Once you have both trees cut out, sand down any rough areas before continuing.

Make the slots

To be able to slide the pieces together to make the 3D effect, you need to make slots on both trees. The slots should be the thickness of the opposite tree. Measure the width of each tree and trace that on the other for the slot size. The length of each slot will depend on the height of your tree, but it should be up to half the length of the tree.

One tree will have the slot on the top half, from the middle up to the top. (It should look like someone tried to chop the tree in half from the top.) The other tree will have the slot on the bottom half, as though someone tried the chop it half from the bottom.

Assemble the tree

Make sure the slots are wide enough for the pieces to fit. To make the tree stand, take the tree with the bottom slot and slide it over the tree with the top slot in an X pattern for the base. Make any necessary adjustments to the slots. Once you are satisfied with how it stands, sand it all down until smooth.

Display and decorate your tree

Building the tree is the hard part. Once the pieces are cut and sanded, you can enjoy the process of decorating them. If you want this to be a tree that you can leave out all holiday season and beyond, stick with a neutral palette.

Gold, silver, and basic shades of green are perfect options if you want to keep the trees out all winter long. To keep the decor neutral, don’t paint ornaments or garland on it. Keep it simple. You can spray paint, hand paint, stain, or give the tree a distressed look.

Make them small, make them tall, or make yourself an entire little forest of 3D trees. Decorate your living room, make a few for your fireplace, or seal them so they can keep your porch cozy until spring comes. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be addicted to making these in assorted sizes and shapes. Don’t think you’re handy? We promise you’ll be surprised by how easy making a 3D tree can be.

Editors' Recommendations