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How to Build a Christmas Tree Box

Create your own tree box clad with tin ceiling tiles to make a big statement with a small Christmas tree

While ceiling-high evergreens might be the norm today, up until the late 19th century most Christmas trees fit tidily on a table. But the fact that they were small doesn't mean they couldn't make a big statement. Just check out our festive take, shown here. Set inside a box clad with tin ceiling tiles, and adorned with keyhole hardware and dollhouse doors and windows, this tree pays homage to the historic house in which it resides. Here's how to make the homey box to hold a potted live tree.

Step 1

Construct the Legs

Photo by Mark Weiss

Glue and nail a 1x1 strip flush with the long edge of a 1x2 strip to form an L-shaped leg that's at least 4 inches taller than your tree's pot. Repeat three times.

Step 2

Start Shaping the Box

Photo by Mark Weiss

Cut four panels from ¼-inch plywood, making two of them ½ inch narrower than the other two. All four should be as tall as the legs you just made and wide enough so that when arranged to form a box they can easily accommodate the tree's pot. Glue and nail one of the panels so that it sits inside two of the legs, as shown.

Step 3

Complete the Body

Photo by Mark Weiss

Continue fitting each of the panels between the legs, making sure the narrow panels face each other and the wide panels face each other. Once you slide in the last panel, you should have a box that's open at both ends.

Step 4

Support the Bottom of the Box

Photo by Mark Weiss

Measure the height of the tree's pot, then mark a line inside the box to indicate how deep you want the bottom to be. Right under the line, glue and nail scrap blocking at either end of the box, then tack on a center support at the same height.

Step 5

Attach the Box's Bottom Panel

Photo by Mark Weiss

To create the bottom panel, cut a piece of ¼-inch plywood that's slightly smaller than the box's interior dimensions. Slide the panel down into the box, and rest it on your supports. Glue and nail, if desired, for extra support.

Step 6

Trim the Bottom of the Panels

Photo by Mark Weiss

Create a bottom rail for the box by cutting a 1x2 strip to fit between each pair of legs. Nail to the exterior of each panel, and repeat on all sides.

Step 7

Prepare the Tin

Photo by Mark Weiss

Cut a tin ceiling tile with tin snips to fit snugly over each panel inside your box frame. (We used a standard 2-by-2-foot tile from americantinceilings.com that we cut into four equal squares).

Step 8

Insert the Tin

Photo by Mark Weiss

Apply vinyl adhesive caulk to the back of the tin, then fit it inside the frame. You may need to bend it a bit at first to get it between each panel's legs. Once the tin is lying flat against the panel, seal with the caulk.

Step 9

Add Supports to the Top Interior of the Box

Photo by Mark Weiss

Apply vinyl adhesive caulk to the back of the tin, then fit it inside the frame. You may need to bend it a bit at first to get it between each panel's legs. Once the tin is lying flat against the panel, seal with the caulk.

Step 10

Cap the Box

Photo by Mark Weiss

Glue and nail four 1x4 pieces with mitered corners on top of the supports you just made. These will form the top edge of the box.

Step 11

Finish the Piece

Photo by Mark Weiss

Sand the wood, then complete the box by priming and painting it with a latex in a color of your choice.