How To Make A Rustic Christmas Tree From Old Lampshades

Upcycled Lampshades Into A Rustic Christmas Tree

I have a confession to make! I don’t like real Christmas trees that’s why I made a rustic Christmas tree!
Actually, 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.
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. In the meantime every year I love to make an upcycled and repurposed 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. Us 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 in sight. 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.
  • .


  • 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

  • Plaster of Paris – approx 2.5kg

  • Assortment of old nails, hooks, and fixings.


How to Make a Wire Rustic Christmas Tree

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

  3. 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. 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.



  5. 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.


  7. 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
    Upcycled lampshade wire christmas tree
    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 inbetween the 2 styles would be good.
    repurposed lamp wire rustic Christmas tree
    repurposed lamp wire rustic Christmas tree
    decorated wire rustic Christmas tree
    The thing is 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 garlands, Christmas pudding woodslice ornaments and my many heart map ornaments, to just name a few.
    Lampshade wire Christmas tree upclose
    rustic christmas tree up close
    If you like this upcycled Christmas tree you will probably like my DIY wooden Christmas tree with knobs, and my branch DIY Christmas tree.

    Industrial upcycled wire rustic Christmas tree
    Upcycled rustic Christmas tree

    Form more junk crafting ideas check out

33 Responses

  1. I think I need to go exploring around my local second hand stores and see if I can find some of these to stockpile. Thank you for linking up to #HomeEtc X

    • Thank you! I love scouring junk shops for interesting bits and pieces to upcycle.

  2. The tree was quite nice before all the goodwill decorations were thrown on it.

    • Thank you. I do like my homemade ornaments everyone to their own!

  3. What a great idea! Would you mind telling me what font you use. So easy on the eye. Thank you in advance.

  4. So clever and fun! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  5. It just so happens that I have a few lampshades that I’m not using. Guess what I’m gonna do? Thanks for the inspiration! Also, I’m going to put an old wooden step ladder on my porch and top it with a shade. My hubby does not appreciate my decorating skills, but the neighbors love it!

  6. OMG! I am amazed! I am so in love with this tree, and it looks amazing plain and with the ornaments. I’m pinning this and selecting it as one of my features for Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make! Love it!!! Genius!

    • Thank you T’onna I bet you have some fabulous crochet ornaments that would look great on a tree like this.

  7. b

    super creative idea. i even like it plain, show off the true rustic nature of it.

    • Thank you. I like the plain too but I also like ornaments so I’m torn between them both.

  8. Kim

    Oh how fabulous is your Christmas tree!! Love, love, love the idea of stringing together a bevy of pretty undressed lampshades in the shape of a tree. I think I am most definitely going to have to fashion one of these pretties. Thank you so much for the tutorial!

    • Thank you so much. It’s a great tree for showing off ornaments.

  9. This is Brilliant…and a great tutorial!

  10. Love it. This is an absolutely fabulous idea! Pinned! And shared.

  11. Yes, very clever. I like it. How do you even think of these ideas?

    • Thank you Kathy, I’m not sure the ideas just seem to pop into my head.

  12. Too weird for me.

  13. This is so clever. Who needs a real tree when you can make this! Love it! Thanks for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party.

  14. What a fun idea! The wire shades are the perfect shaped for a Christmas tree. Love it!

    • Thank you Linda. They are great for hanging decorations from too!

    • Thank you Linda. It’s great for hanging decorations from too!

  15. Claire, I love love love this idea! I may try to make one in a mini size but first I’ll have to look for some old lamp shades when I go junking. Pinning!

    • Thank you. Hopefully, you should find the lampshades easily as they don’t need to be in good condition as you only need the frame. There are normally loads in my local junk and charity shops.

  16. That’s such a cute idea – a real alternative Xmas tree!

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