Spread some holiday cheer with a rustic DIY Christmas tree! Our handy step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make a holiday tree that’s as simple as it is festive. All you need is your Matrix base, a few Matrix attachments, and some basic supplies.
How to Make a Holiday Tree
Before tackling any other steps, you’ll first cut all wood needed for this project. This step will enable you to sand, stain, and the wood to dry before assembling your tree. (We don’t recommend sanding or staining after tree assemblage, as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach into tiny crevasses. It’s also possible to damage your tree this way.)
Matrix™ Power Unit + following attachments: Drill, Trim Saw, Jigsaw, Sander +120 grit sandpaper
All the wood pieces you’ll need for this project are pictured below. We’ll walk you through how to cut each of them.
1) Cut Base
Cut your tree base using the trim saw attachment. Secure the board to your Workmate or table using clamps. Measure and mark 12”, then cut your 1”x12” board into a 12”x12” square. This base will support the vertical tree trunk that supports the tree’s branches.
2) Cut horizontal branches
Use: 1”x 3” wood and Matrix™ Power Unit with trim saw attachment.
Measure: 15”, 13”, 11”, 9”, and 7”.
Clamp the 1” x 3” to your table, measure, and cut.
PRO-TIP: To reduce extra cuts, place and trace the star as close to the edges/corner of the wood as possible. This will make the process much easier. You’ll also waste far less wood.
4) Cut out your star
Cut your 5-inch star out of the plywood using the trim saw attachment. As you cut, use your body weight to press the jigsaw’s metal shoe on the wood. This will give you more control, precision, and help reduce vibration. Cut from the outside inwards. You will have to rearrange the position of the wood many times (and re-secure it to your bench) in order to find the correct angles at which to cut.
5) Sand the star and branches
You now have all the pieces you’ll need! It’s time to sand them using the Matrix™ Unit sander attachment. Be sure to spend ample time sanding the star. You’ll want to create a smooth, finished star for your tree, as we’ve done for ours. Sand the edges of the branches to give the tree a softer, more finished look.
We stained all of our pieces except the base using foam brushes, then painted the base white for a snowy effect when the tree is draped with lights. Follow the instructions on your can of stain. As you stain, wipe each layer away with a cloth. The more layers of stain you add, the darker your tree. When staining is complete, LET DRY FULLY before moving onto the next steps.
7) Measure center point of branches
To achieve evenness, measure and mark the center point of each branch. These points will be penetrated by a screw, so marks will not be visible.
8) Attach star and branches
Find the center of the star, and gauge where you want to place it at the top of the tree. Apply a dab of wood glue to the back of the star, then drill it to the horizontal trunk with a 1” brass screw. (The “top” is the end that you or a home improvement retailer cut. It will be less level than the manufacturer-cut end. That’s why we don’t want the tree to rest on that side.)
Your star is attached! Secure the trunk to your workbench. Work your way down the trunk, starting at the top with the 7” branch, moving to the 9” branch, and so on. Apply a dab of glue to the back of each branch, then use the Matrix™ Unit with drill attachment to screw the branches to the tree. Each branch should be half an inch apart and properly centered, with screws forming a straight line down the trunk for a balanced look.
9) Measure center point of base
Mark the 6” midpoint on top AND bottom.
10) Attach trunk to base
To attach the trunk to the base, drill a pilot hole in the trunk. Using the Matrix™ Unit with drill attachment and a 1/8 drill bit, bore the pilot hole through the bottom of the trunk. (The “bottom” end is the end cut by the manufacturer, versus the side you or the home improvement store cut.) This will ensure your tree is level.
Next, drill the 3” screw into the center point of the base, poking it slightly through to the other side of the wood.
Line your base up to the secured trunk. Drill the screw the rest of the way into the trunk so the base is securely attached to and supporting the trunk. Your tree now has the ability to stand!
11) Support Tree
This step is optional, but we recommend it for the long-term life of your tree. Attach an L-bracket to the back side of the tree using two screws. (You don’t want to be able to see it from the front.)
Now enjoy your tree! Dress it up or leave it plain. Brag to your friends about your handy DIY skills.