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How To Make A Rustic Christmas Tree From Old Lampshades

I have a confession to make! I don’t like real Christmas trees that’s why I made a rustic Christmas tree!

That’s not totally true, I do like real Christmas trees. I just don’t like them in my house.

The dropped pine needles drive me mad. I have tried non-needle shedding pine trees but they still shed their needles.

Another thing I’m not keen on with real Christmas trees is the space the take-up. Not so much their height but their girth. With five adults and a dog, space can be a bit tight in my house.

I think if I lived in a really big spacious house with a cleaner to hoover up the dropped needles, I might soften my stance against real Christmas trees.

Upcycled Lampshades Into A Rustic Christmas Tree

In the meantime every year I love to make an upcycled and repurposed alternative Christmas tree. This year I made a wire rustic Christmas tree from old lampshades.

This rustic Christmas tree is so sparse and bare it’s perfect for showing off your homemade Christmas ornaments. There are plenty of places to hang them, and they don’t get lost amongst green foliage.

I have to admit I went a bit overboard with the decorating of this tree. It looks like it was dressed by a toddler on a sugar high after eating a tube of smarties.

This isn’t a one-off, I do tend to decorate my Christmas trees like this every year. Growing up my mum would have themed orderly decorations for the Christmas tree, the kids weren’t allowed to decorate it. Or if we did, my mum would carefully rearrange the ornaments when we weren’t looking.

I decided that when I grew up my Christmas tree was going to be full of homemade decorations and a riot of colour. No matching baubles insight. So far this is one goal from my childhood I have managed to achieve!

upcycled lampshade wire rustic Christmas tree


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What you need to make a wire rustic Christmas tree

  • A selection of old scalloped lampshades in various sizes. With or without the shades it doesn’t matter its the wireframes you need.
Lampshades for rustic Christmas tree
  • Old wooden broom handle or large wooden pole about 4ft in length.
  • Old round Christmas cookie tin approx 25-30cm in diameter (you don’t need the lid).
Old Christmas tin

How to Make a Wire Rustic Christmas Tree

  1. First, strip all covers on the lampshades. You just want the bare wireframes.
Stripped lampshades

2. My wooden pole was a bit light in colour for my liking so I stained with some dark wood stain. I then placed the lampshades one by one on the pole starting with the widest lampshade at the bottom.

Top tip: It is easier if you stick the wooden pole in an umbrella stand to hold it upright whilst you attach the lampshade frames.

The wire fixings on each lampshade were different. I attached the lampshades to the pole by creating somewhere for the shades’ inner wire to rest.

This involved hammering nails, hooks, and other fixings into the wooden pole. I used old fixings as I wanted to keep with the upcycled feel with this rustic Christmas tree DIY.

3. Once I was happy with the fixing of the lampshade wires, it was time to make a more permanent stand for the rustic Christmas tree. To do this I mixed up about 2.5kg of Plaster of Paris until it was the consistency of thick cream. (Approximately 750ml of water per 1kg of powder).

Make sure you always add the powder to the water and not the other way around.

3. Working quickly, pour the plaster into the Christmas tin and then place the base of the wooden pole into the mixture. The plaster will start setting within 20mins.

Instead of standing there holding the pole upright whilst waiting for the plaster set, I wedged the tree between 2 chairs whilst it set.

Plaster in tin
Holding tree whilst plaster sets

4. Once the plaster has set your tree is ready. You can either leave it undecorated if you are going for that industrial rustic simplistic vibe.

As you can see I went a bit mad with my decorations. So perhaps somewhere in between the 2 styles would be good.

Upcycled lampshade wire christmas tree
repurposed lamp wire rustic Christmas tree

This wire Christmas tree is perfect for hanging decorations from and so it’s so tempting to put them all on. It’s a great showcase for all my homemade Christmas decorations. Such as the repurposed sweater felt garlandsChristmas pudding wood slice ornaments and my many heart map ornaments, to just name a few.

decorated wire rustic Christmas tree
Lampshade wire Christmas tree upclose
rustic christmas tree up close

I think that this rustic Christmas tree would also look great decorated with Christmas cards. It would be easy to peg them to the wireframe. There is a collection of antique Scandinavian Christmas cards here which I think would look fabulous on this tree.

Yield: Lamshade Wire Christmas Tree

How To Make A Wire Rustic Christmas Tree

repurposed lamp wire rustic Christmas tree

This upcycled wire rustic Christmas tree is so simple and cheap to make. It looks great bare for a minimalist farmhouse/industrial look. Or you can go made with decorations for a more colourful Boho vibe.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • Old wire scalloped lampshdes in various sizes
  • Wooden broom handle
  • Wood stain
  • Cookie tin
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Screws and hooks


  • Screwdriver


  1. Stain the broom handle a dark wood colour
  2. Using screws and hooks attach the wire lampshades to the handle
  3. Mix up the plaster of Paris in the cookie tin
  4. Stand the broom handle in the plaster of Paris until it sets.


You can make this as big or as small as you like. It will all depend on the number and size of lampshades you use.

If you like to make your own upcycled Christmas trees then you should check out some of my other DIY Christmas trees.

This post featured in the A to Z of clever upcycling ideas and resources.


Wednesday 9th of November 2022

I love this idea and came to read your post because I've previously collected lampshades from car boots to make one of these but all of them have white plastic coating the wire frame, even the fairly vintage ones. Does anyone have any ideas how to remove the plastic easily? I did think of wrapping them in string or fabric scraps, but I do like the bare wire. Thanks for any suggestions.

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 10th of November 2022

I can't think of an easy way to remove the plastic coating other than scraping it, but that would take a long time. I think they can look lovely when wrapped in the fabric; how about using strips from an old bed sheet?

madeline newton

Monday 22nd of August 2022

would be great to hang Christmas Cards on or put outside for a tree to decorate ....great idea ...thank you ...

Claire Armstrong

Monday 22nd of August 2022

Oooh, I like the Christmas card idea. Thank you 😊


Sunday 21st of November 2021

Slice this idea!!! Think I will collect lampshades all year and make this for next Christmas. Thanks for the great idea!!!!!

Claire Armstrong

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Thank you, good luck with it and have fun making one.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

Love this. It could also be painted white for the shabby chic people. It makes a great boho tree when decorated. Also thought of covering the lampshades by wrapping some coloured crepe paper around them. Ideas are endless.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Thank you, yes lots of possibilities depending on your decor style.

Choosing Your ‘Forever Tree’: The Best Artificial Christmas Trees

Friday 29th of November 2019

[…] a tree – before returning the building blocks to their regular places after. For example, this tutorial explains how to make a Christmas tree from old lamp shades, but the same principle could be applied […]

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