Mr. Brown’s Christmas Tree

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Mr. Brown’s Christmas Tree.  Charlie has grown up!  And I’m hammering together a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  Plus sharing woodworking tips!

Mr. Browns Junk Tree


Christmas Decorating Ideas Using Junk

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Years of Mr. Brown’s trees

I have a series of Christmas decorating ideas planned to share this year.  I’m using junk gathered around the house for each decorating idea.

As a single mom for most of my son’s youth, we would always pick out the “Charlie” tree.  The scraggly little tree, in the back of the lot, hidden behind the sawhorses where they cut the trees.  Most of those years the tree cost $7.

Lugging the tree home, we would decorate with handmade ornaments.  I would place my son’s school made clay tree ornament.  The heavy ornament would nearly topple the tree.

We decorated those trees with everything we could find.  In the end, the trees were beautiful like in the Christmas show.  I loved those scraggly trees!

 This is an updated version of Mr. Brown’s grown up tree…junk style! 

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you.  I only share products I like, used and have ordered, OR products I want.



I used a 1 by 10 board cut to 24 inches.  Painted it creamy white and distressed it with a bit of sandpaper.

Tip 1:  I needed to find the center of the board.  Now a board in a lumber yard that’s 10 inches is actually 9 1/4.  I understand that wood is cut to 10 inches but shrinks to around 9 1/4 as it drys.  So the center is 4 5/8.  I used a combination square set to 4 5/8 and a piece of sharpened chalk to get the center.

Extra tip:  Sharpen a piece of chalk.  I use one of those makeup sharpeners.

How to Split Spindles


I love spindles and last year made a spindle tree.  This year’s Christmas tree will have spindles and more junk.  The spindles this time I wanted to lay flat on the board.

Tip 2: Splitting spindles the easy way.  This works best on old spindles.  Look at the end of the wood and notice the lines in the spindle.  Then place the spindle on end on a hard surface.  Put a sharp chisel along the line in the wood.  Tap the chisel with a hammer.  Keep tapping until the spindle splits in half.  This method will not get perfect halves.  This project is not about perfect!  For safety, I balance the spindle with the chisel keeping one hand on the chisel and one on the hammer.  You can use a vise to hold the spindle too.

Click this link if you’re looking for a great set of chisels.

Laying out the Junk


Update:  You will notice I updated photos of Mr. Brown’s Christmas tree.  The older photo’s (with my old camera) doesn’t show the tree in the best light. 🙂

After I got my exercise from splitting spindles, I gather more junk.  Notice the red trunk of this tree was the top of last years spindle tree.  Yes, I did take the spindle tree apart!


 I laid my junk from long to short.  A spring, various pieces of drawer pulls, broken pieces of metal and a metal star a dear friend sent me.

Additional tip 2:  When laying out any project and you have it just the way you want, take a picture of the items laid out.  Helps to remember when gluing or nailing.


I used small nails to tap my junk into the board using the chalk line as a rough guide.

Tip 3:  Use needle nose pliers to hold the small nails.  Saves smashed thumbs!

Display your junk tree



There you have Mr. Brown’s Christmas Tree!

At least, my version!

You can see 10 more things to do with a spindle here.  Most spindles…broken!

Broken pieces mend stronger!


I wonder what Mr. Brown would think about this tree?


I would love to know your thoughts too.  Let me know in comments below.


Name other household items would make a tree if you’re not into junk or spindles?

More Christmas Decorating Ideas

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  1. Kari-Anne Robinson says:

    Great idea for the junk tree AND the spindle decorations. I want to try both because I have the stuff!
    Thank-you !

  2. Joan Ostler says:

    I bought a spindle tree at a bazaar a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite things. Mine is not on a backer board, just a cross type structure on a stand and it’s all painted out to the same color but I love yours too and the texture of all the spindles.

    1. Terry,
      Thank you so much! I added and saved the link to last years spindle tree in the post. Apparently I forgot to hit save! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Jeanette

  3. I absolutely love that!! I’m like Chris and wish I had a stash of those things to use. 🙂

    1. Stacey,
      I have collected spindles for years. My eyes are trained to be on the watch for them. Yard sales, thrift stores and curbside are great places. Usually on broken furniture that people just want to get rid of them. I have a couple of friends that keep an eye out too! I so happy you stop by. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Jeanette

  4. chris aka monkey says:

    jeanette, your supply of spindles seems endless…wish it was in my stash ha ha, charlie will be so proud to have this tree named after him awesome love it xx

    1. Oh my gosh! Thank you Vic so much. Sometimes when making things way outside of the box, I worry if I’m going too far. I would love to see your Mr. Vincent tree! Jeanette

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