Woodcrafting Solutions for Live Christmas Trees: Don’t Toss That Tree — Recycle it Instead

Christmas is over and it’s time to take down the tree, but rather than tossing it out on the curb for the trash truck, why not recycle it into a project that not only keeps a tree out of the landfill but can be transformed into an interesting work of art. Here’s how to get started.

Wooden Plaques, Clocks and Ornaments

There are several hobbies that can take advantage of a leftover Christmas tree, the first of which is woodworking. Trim all of the branches from the trunk of the tree, saving those that are over an inch in diameter. Strip off all remaining needles and stems until only the bare branch remains. From this point decide whether or not to shave off the bark or leave it on for a more natural look if desired.

Next, using a hand or power saw, slice the trunk of the tree into 1/2” discs. Drill a small hole in each disc approximately 1/4” from the outer edge and then sand each of the discs down until they have a nice smooth surface. Using a pyrography or wood burning pen, draw or trace a picture or design onto each disc. Finish the disc with wood stain or shellac to help preserve it.

Large discs can be used as clock faces or plaques while smaller discs can become ornaments for next year’s holiday tree. Smaller branches can be cut in a similar manner to create a custom set of runes or wooden tokens. Use a hobby saw to cut out more detailed shapes such as stars or rectangles. Small branches can be used to create wooden beads and pendants.

Special Woodworking Projects

Cut larger sections to create special projects such as birdhouses, squirrel feeders, toad houses, trinket boxes, camouflaged geocache containers or custom planks. Small pieces can be saved and used for carving, whittling work or fire starter for fireplaces and fire bowls. Finally, gather up all of the needles and smaller branches use them as mulch in flower beds and gardens.

Still stumped for ideas? Create a decorative windchime using a branch as a stabilizer and discs as accent pieces. Turn the trunk into a walking stick or cane. Use a section of branch to create a fetching toy for the family pet. Need a fishing pole, tomato stakes, or decorative spear? Visualize what the tree can become and make it a goal to help it transform.

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