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DIY Wood Christmas Tree for the Yard

Brighten up your yard for the holidays with this DIY wooden Christmas tree! Looks beautiful during the day and glows at night with lights!

DIY wooden Christmas tree in yard during day and lit up at night

Want to create your own outdoor Christmas tree this holiday season? This modern version, made with ¾" plywood, might be just what you need to bring your house from bah humbug to bright and cheery!

This wooden Christmas tree may look complicated, but all you need is the pattern! Just trace the cut line and mark the holes for the twinkle lights to shine through. Here's how to make it!

Not your style? Here are more wood Christmas tree ideas and other DIY outdoor Christmas decorations that might inspire you!

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Materials needed

How to make a Christmas tree yard decoration

Trace the pattern

This was my first time using a woodworking pattern, but it was really easy!  The Winfield Collection website has lots of cute projects, with full paper patterns of every piece. I can barely draw a stick figure, so it's nice to have the artistic part done for me!

Place a sheet of carbon tracing paper between the plywood and the paper pattern. Tape both down to the plywood with painters tape.

DIY wooden Christmas tree template on carbon tracing paper

Trace the entire pattern onto the plywood, including the spots where you'll drill holes for the lights.

marking holes for lights in wooden Christmas yard decoration

Cut out the plywood Christmas tree

Remove the tracing paper and pattern, and fill in any areas that didn't transfer clearly. Elevate the plywood above your work surface with scrap pieces of wood underneath so you don't cut into it. Then carefully cut out the tree with a jigsaw.

cutting out plywood Christmas tree with a jigsaw

Drill holes for the lights

My string of battery powered lights had 200 bulbs, so I decided to add extra holes for an even brighter outdoor Christmas tree display! The original holes were 2" apart, so I made an additional hole in between each one.

Test drill bits to see which one fits best with your light bulbs. The 7/32" bit worked perfectly with my mini bulbs, but your size may vary.

To prevent the wood from chipping, place a piece of scrap wood underneath the hole you're about to drill. This will hold the wood fibers in place, instead of blowing them out the back. Drill holes straight through each marking on the tree.

drilling holes for lights in Christmas tree yard decoration

Sand down all the rough edges. I used these sanding sticks to clean out the holes for the bulbs, and 150 grit sandpaper for the flat surfaces and cut edges.

sanding holes for Christmas lights in a wooden Christmas tree with a sanding stick

Looking good so far!

unfinished DIY wooden Christmas tree with holes for lights

Paint the wooden Christmas tree

Now, we paint! Be sure to use outdoor paint for this project, to protect the wood from rain or snow. I went with the same white paint as our outdoor storage bench, which has survived several wet winters.

I recommend rolling the paint on with several light coats to prevent paint from dripping into the holes. I still had a few spots where I had to dig out a blob or two, but most of the holes stayed clean.

plywood Christmas tree painted white on workbench

Attach the lights

Once the paint is dry, insert a bulb into each hole, starting at the top of the tree. It looks like an electrical mess on the back, so plan to place your decoration in a part of the yard where you can't see all the wires.

wires for lights on back of wooden yard decoration

Staple the wire to the back with ⅜" staples between the bulbs to hold it in place. Be careful not to staple through the wire, or you'll have to do some splicing to get the circuit working again (ask me how I know!)

staples holding the wires for the lights on the back of the plywood yard decoration

Attach the stakes

At the bottom of the tree, attach two tent stakes to the back with conduit straps. This type with the T top fits perfectly in the ½" conduit strap and keeps the Christmas tree firmly in the ground.

tent stakes attached to the bottom of the DIY wooden Christmas yard decoration with conduit straps

Now your Christmas tree yard decoration is ready to go in the garden! Mine is displayed right by our front steps, and really pops against the dark green plants.

white DIY wooden Christmas tree in garden during the day

The lights are on a timer, and turn on just as the sun goes down. It really looks magical, especially with the extra lights sprinkled through the bushes behind the tree.

white DIY wooden Christmas tree at night with twinkle lights

I hope this simple project helps brighten up your yard this holiday season! If you make one, I'd love to see it! Tag me over on Instagram to show it off!

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Monday 11th of December 2017

Love this.

Toni | Small Home Soul

Wednesday 6th of December 2017

Oh my gosh this is so fabulous!!


Wednesday 6th of December 2017

I love this cool and whimsical tree!! It is absolutely perfect!


Wednesday 6th of December 2017

This is really cute! I love the fun and funky vibe.. not as traditional as some lawn decorations! Love it!

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