Here’s how to quickly make your own Christmas Tree stand!
7 feet of 2x4s (for a small diameter trunk)
4 eye bolts, washers, nuts
16 wood screws or nails
Bowl (for watering)
anti-slip material, cupboard/drawer liner in our case.
open-end wrench for tightening nut on eyebolt
Time required: One hour, more or less
Total Cost: Free if you have the materials, otherwise, less than $20!
Nick, Katt and I recently bought a $5 Forest Service permit to cut our own tree, which we found just across the river from Missoula! Afterwards, we headed to Target to pick up a string of lights. Along the way, we thought, “if we’re cutting our own tree, why not make our own stand?” Searching Google didn’t produce the results we wanted, so, much like our “How to fix a leaky sunroof in a Subaru Legacy” post, we thought we’d do the world a favor, and post the step-by-step process on my blog! Lucky for us, we had all of the tools, hardware, and 2x4s already, so it didn’t cost us anything but an hour of time! (The 2x4s and eyebolts were obtained via the FREE listings on Craigslist!)
Disclaimer: I am not a carpenter! I’m sure this design can be improved, and I implore you to add suggestions below! We do not have cats or small children in our house, and we did not cut a large, heavy tree. This method probably won’t work with an artificial tree, as you can’t screw into the trunk. This may affect the design’s durability… just sayin!
Step One: Measurements. Measure the diameter of the base of the tree you are going to use. In our case, it was about 3 inches (7.6 cm). Our tree was only about 7 feet (~213 cm) tall. Measure the height of the bowl you intend to use for watering. (Ours was 4.5 inches [11.4 cm] high)
Step Two: Cut 2x4s. For our tree, I chose 18 inches (45.7 cm) for the supports. In order for the supports to clear the watering bowl, I needed 5 inches of clearance, so I cut the risers at 8.5 inches (21.6 cm – height of bowl + width of 2×4). Make them all equal length, and use a square to keep the ends thus.
Step Three: Attach risers to the supports. In this case, I used nails. Nick told me that a carpenter’s trick to keep the wood from splitting is to blunt the end of the nail before hammering – it works! Just place the nail, head down, on a surface and tap it with the hammer. Make sure that the risers are equal length from what will be the bottom of the supports.
Step Four: Align 2x4s into frame, with the risers facing up (upside down). Measure each 2×4, from the box end, the clearance length (3.5 inches for our tree). Re-align the frame, and pre-drill holes for securing the frame together. Have a helper hold each section while you screw the frame together. I used a cordless drill set to the highest torque so the screws sank into the wood. I’d recommend screws for this part, since the frame will be sturdier. I’m completely confident that there’s a much better way to do this, but hey, it worked!
Step Five: Drill holes for the eyebolts. Insert the eyebolts into the holes, and attach washers and nuts on the inside of the box frame.
Step Six: Celebrate! You did it! Flip the stand over, and place the bowl underneath. To keep the bowl from slipping on the carpet, we used a drawer/cupboard liner underneath the bowl. Place in position, and have someone hold the tree upright, in position, while you tighten the eyebolts evenly to the tree. I used an open-end wrench to hold the nuts in place while tightening the eyebolts. Fill the bowl with water and call it good!
Observations: Using a circular saw resulted in the ends being less than square, and the lengths being less than absolutely equal. However, since we were placing the stand on carpet, there was some wiggle room. If you intend to place the stand on a hardwood or tiled floor, you will need to insure the lengths are absolute, otherwise you may need to shim one of the risers. Taller trees would require longer supports. I intend to design a stand for next year that will accommodate a large variety of trunk diameters, which will require longer eyebolts.
Enjoy! If you used this design, or have suggestions for improvement, please use the reply box below! Enjoy your “Made in the USA” tree stand!