Making a Driftwood Christmas Tree

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December 19, 2016

Driftwood Christmas Tree - finished treeLiving in Tahiti has many advantages, but when it comes to Christmas it has one major disadvantage. We don't have live Christmas trees here on the islands. Therefore, we normally end up settling for an artificial tree this time of year. However, many years ago artificial trees weren't shipped here to the islands. So the people here on the islands used driftwood to make their trees for the holidays.


Source: A local tradition in Tahiti


  • saw, electric or handheld
  • 1 piece of 60 grade sandpaper cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1 piece of 220 grade sandpaper cut into 4 equal pieces
  • stain or natural wood paste
  • old shoe brush
  • paint brush
  • 1 piece of iron
  • 1 piece 12x12 wood for the base of the tree
  • 1 electric drill and drill bit for drilling the holes in your wood
Driftwood Christmas Tree - supplies


  1. Gather driftwood from the beach. For this tree I decided to get my wood from the mountain that is near my home. You can find wonderful old wood in the forest or on the beach.
  2. Sand the pieces of driftwood with 60 grade sandpaper. Repeat the process with 220 grade sandpaper. This is not necessary if you want the wood to remain neutral. I like my tree to have a nice finish.
  3. Find a large flat surface and arrange the wood. Start with the larger pieces at the bottom and work your way up. The tree can be any size you want, use your imagination when designing your tree.
  4. Driftwood Christmas Tree - arranging pieces of wood from smallest to longest in a tree-like layout

  5. After arranging your wood you will need to find the middle of your tree. Use a pencil to mark the line. After, you will need to mark the lines for the two sides of your tree. Starting at the top move the line over 3-inches and angle it down to the bottom of the tree. Do the same on the other side. Each time you will mark the line so you can cut the wood.
  6. Cut off the excess wood on the branches of your tree and drill a hole in the center of the wood. The hole needs to be large enough for the iron to pass through the wood.
  7. Driftwood Christmas Tree - adding the tree branches to the iron bar to begin building the tree
  8. At this point you can add stain or natural wood finish to the branches of your tree.
  9. Driftwood Christmas Tree - applying wood paste to the branches

  10. On your 12x12 piece of wood drill a hole in the center of the wood and insert your iron. Afterwards, start sliding the branches of your tree down the wood. I decided to make a tree stump for my tree. I cut one large piece of wood and drilled a hole in the center of the wood. I started with this wood on the iron. Afterwards, I added the rest of my wood.
  11. Driftwood Christmas Tree - finished tree and tools on a wooden deck
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