How We Made the Icelandic Advent Tree


On my previous post I shared my brand new table top Icelandic Advent Calendar Tree!

In this post, I am sharing how we constructed the tree. It is more of a guideline than a step by step tutorial but I am hoping some of you who may want to build your own will find it useful

As always, please feel free to ask me any questions.


So let's get on with the tree construction!

My sweetie designed this tree so that it would basically fold flat for storage as the overall 16"x16"x24" dimensions would be an unwelcome addition to our already challenged holiday storage!

A note about tools: It would be helpful to have access to a table saw and a drill press. A hand saw can be used to cut the wood to length - we actually did it that way in an effort to make sure it could be done. But we experienced splitting occasionally with the hand saw so a table saw or skill saw would be preferred.

Because my sweetie designed this tree so that it could be folded flat, we needed to drill holes into the components. (The tree could be glued together; however, I really love the fact that I can turn and swivel the branches.)

A drill press is almost essential to ensure that the components will line up nicely on the 1/4"threaded steel rod. We did try using a hand held drill, but we found that drilling in a perfectly vertical line a bit challenging.

We began by constructing a base from a couple pieces of 1"x1 1/2" wood. The overall length of the base is 16". The wood pieces are glued together perpendicular to each other. and a 1/4" hole drilled in the center once the glue is dry.


12 branches were cut from 1/2"x1/2" pine. 3 foot lengths of wood pre-cut to various dimensions can usually be found right near dowels. We liked the 1/2" x 1/2" but there are other options.

The longest branch measures 14" and the shortest 6" . We actually cut a branch measuring 4" but didn't like it at all.

The dimensions of our branches - 2 each: 14". 12", 10", 8", 7", 6".


Once the wood pieces were cut to length, the center was marked and a hole a little larger than the  1/4" diameter threaded steel rod was drilled all the way through. The idea is for the wood branches and the beads to simply slip easily over the threads in the rod.


1" wooden craft beads purchased at a local craft store were perfect for dividers. Without them, my tree would have been only about 6" tall!! These little dividers provided both height and separation between branches. And a sweet little design element.

We were able to find a set with a hole drilled almost all the way through the bead. We finished the job with the drill press.  Drilling the beads is really the trickiest part, so if you look around, I am sure you can find pre-drilled beads and can avoid drilling them altogether. Just be sure the hole will fit easily over the rod.


Once all the components are ready, secure your threaded steel rod into the base. Begin adding components as shown, beginning with a 14" "branch".


Continue adding wood "branches" and then wooden balls alternately until you have placed all 12 balls and branches on the threaded rod.


A little washer and nut will secure the top and help tighten the branches and hold them in place.


It is traditional in Iceland to place a star on the top of the tree! And I found the prettiest little unfinished wooden stars at my local craft store. However. my brilliant solution for attaching the star failed!


The idea, to glue a star to each side of a piece of clear plastic tubing was a good one! But I failed to take into account the width of the top branch! So the star didn't slip down over the branch and hide the rod and nut!


Fortunately, the packet came with four stars and I was able to solve the problem!

Again, if I have left you with questions please do write me for clarification.

And if you come up with other cools ways to make a similar tree would you please share. I always welcome comments that will help others.

You have the best tutorials,

You have the best tutorials, I mean it. Not kidding.

I have some great recycled items and spools, and I think using them like this would be a GREAT idea. I'm going to make my tree with those and I will let you know how it comes out. I love little trees! I may make several for the house and office. It's as easy to make two at the same time as one, right?

Well, I'll let you know...

I loooooove this project!

I loooooove this project! There is a similiar Swedish version of this as well, except our family's doesn't spin around (I'll have to send you a pic!). And I really love that red heart runner you photographed it on - adorable!!

Like Phyllis, I enjoy it's

Like Phyllis, I enjoy it's bare simplicity. But it also screams "1000 possibilities!" that way. Such a great project, thanks for sharing!!

It even looks pretty bare.

It even looks pretty bare.