Editor’s note: After sharing a photo of her Book Tree on Facebook, we asked Sami to write a how to article so fellow readers could create the same unique holiday decoration.
Growing up, my family always had a real Christmas tree; I’m talking handpicked, huge, and teeming with an eccentric array of ornaments. It’s a tradition that I carried on with every holiday season, even after I moved out. This year, however, money is tight– so I decided to get creative…and thus, the Book Tree was born.
Here is a step-by-step on how to construct your very own Christmas Book Tree.
What you will need:
-As many books as you can find
-Two small boxes (one slightly larger than the other)
-A string of lights and any other decorations you desire!
-Your patience; the first time I set this up took about 45 minutes, but it’s worth it!
Gather all your books and sort them by size and shape. Creating a Book Tree is like building a pyramid with mismatching blocks. You will be thankful when you’re trying to create even surfaces if you know where you can find like-sized books! Be sure to set aside a few of your favorites to be at the top of the tree.
Take the larger of the two boxes (I used the box of my old quesadilla maker) to be your base piece. This will give your structure stability and a flat surface to build around so it doesn’t end up crashing down on you. You will set your first layer of books around the box and build up from there. It is a good idea to use your heaviest, largest books at this point, such as hardcover copies of Harry Potter.
Place the smaller box on top of the bigger one (I used the box for my tea kettle), and continue building up your tree, stacking them in a pyramid-like fashion. Keep going until you have a few books left.
Hint: When I was laying books of uneven height or thickness, I used play scripts to fill the gaps. If you weren’t a theatre major like me and don’t have scripts lying around, old newspapers or magazines will work just fine.
Create the top of your tree. I used the box from my set of the first four Harry Potter books as the top of my tree, and rested my favorite books against it to create a triangular shape. You can achieve the same results by placing your favorite hardcover books at the top, or employing bookshelf ends to keep them in place.
Decorate! Adding lights really brings the entire structure to life, just make sure to use ones that are safe for indoors. I wrapped a few strands of garland around the base and topped the whole thing off with a tinsel angel.
I am absolutely in love with my little Book Tree and how personalized it is to me. Besides, the only scent better than a fresh evergreen tree is the scent of books (with the added bonus of not needing to vacuum up pine needles).
Good luck and Happy Holidays!