The making of a Stepladder Christmas Tree

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree... yes, there's one in there! via

By now, you FJI regulars have caught a glimpse of my stepladder Christmas tree this year.

You kind of have to do a double take. There’s a stepladder buried in this picture. Here, let me prove it.

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

After the fiasco of landing two bad real trees last year and them both dying within a week, I decided to end the grief and bring out the faux this year. And do something original to remove my faux boredom that was setting in. 🙂

I will say it was not easy to get that tree inside that ladder! I removed the top so it would fit, then attempted to push this spring loaded puffball into a skinny ladder frame alongside the grunting help from my son.

His thoughts?!? He’s forgotten about it but continues to say, “I’m gonna have a normal tree one day!”

Not everyone is born to love junk. I embrace that. 🙂

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :
Stick garland tutorial HERE

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

I messed around with an additional garland on top, however it was too green compared to the blue spruce.

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

Here’s a glimpse of my first draft. It was a smaller pencil styled tree I also have. 

Which actually was equally cute in it’s own right. But I chose the puff instead.

Junk ornaments

Galvanized was the theme, so whatever metal tarnished or rusted stuff I had sitting around found a home.

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

A plumb line for an ornament / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

Chalkline thing – dead ringer for a junk ornament in my eyes!

Ripped fabric and flannel shirts for garland / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

Garland was rope, torn sheets and ribbon, tied in knots in order to join for longer lengths. Rather than fuss and hide the obvious, I chose to celebrate it.

Potted holly ornament / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

Vintage clothespin clipped silver spoon ornament / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

A rustic birdhouse as the star / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

The birdhouse ‘star’ was borrowed from the backyard. It was perfectly themed and decided in about 10 seconds.

Tree skirt

Firewood on sleigh at base of Christmas tree / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

As for the base, I placed a firewood filled sled in lieu of a traditional tree skirt to chime in moreso with that outdoor feel.

Firewood on sleigh at base of Christmas tree / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

The snow is flour. All my snow tricks are HERE.

Firewood on sleigh at base of Christmas tree / The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

I like the rope addition. It gave the sled more life as if it just came off a snowbank.

The making of a stepladder Christmas tree, via :

I know. It’s brave and even maybe (not maybe) a little crazy. But this kinda risk is just fun to take. 🙂

2010 dead within a week Whoville #1

2010 dead within a week Whoville #2

2011 entire Christmas home tour

All Christmas 2011 thus far

Hmm.. wonder what a ladder would look like overtop a REAL tree… don’t even DARE me!!

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Categories: All Cool Projects, Christmas, DIY, Junk Drawer, Seasonal, Staging / decorating, Winter
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82 thoughts on “The making of a Stepladder Christmas Tree

  1. In order for me to have this tree, I would have to settle for it being on the porch of my garden shed, because I’m sure no one else in the family would love it the way I would. LOL! But THAT would be darling!!

  2. I love your tree! I had to laugh when you said your “snow” was flour! I tried that little trick a few years ago but our door kept licking it up/off. Yes you read that correctly!! ha ha! Silly dog! Then to make things worse the old little dog taught it to the BIG puppy before he died.
    I absolutely love your sled with the logs piled up under your tree!!

  3. haha! There is NO body like you lady!!! I am loving this take on a nature inspired christmas tree. From the sled to the bird house, I am in love! And you know what, I have the same sled with all that “patina” sitting outside in the back yard!

  4. You’ve gone over the TOP,…Donna on this one….so interesting….I’m getting a wood step ladder after the holidays…so gonna try this next year….THANKS…my husband thinks I’m crazy anyway…might as well keep it going…lol….hop over to see my gifts wrapped in brown paper this year…for an old fashioned Christmas….Mel’s Designs…Thanks again!

  5. Beyond LOVE this!! I feel your pain and am thinking of going faux next year. This year our tree is on the way out but am hoping it will look decent till after next weekend!

  6. Love your tree. We had a ladder tree one year but only because we were in the middle of a remodeling project and I did not want my good tree out in all of the dust and mess. This is the Christmas our kids remember the most! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  7. The comment your son made about one day having a “normal” tree cracked me up. LOL! Too cute. I love the tree btw. 🙂 Kim R

  8. Your creativity is amazing. I am a new blogger from Northern Ontario and Mel’s Designs recommended your site. I love it. Come by and visit my new blog some time, new, but an ongoing adventure.
    Jody-Northern Living

  9. Donna – I love your home this Christmas. Write a book….You have the best ideas EVER! You inspire the world to USE what’s all around us. Stop buying STUFF…right?!

  10. Donna only you can pull that off. My hubby would have me committed if I did that. I love
    it, right up my alley. That chalkline really
    comes in handy when you need a straight line
    on a large board or whatever you are cutting.
    I have my dad’s and it looks a lot like that
    one. Love all of your ornaments you selected.
    Your poor son will have to wait till he leaves
    home to have a normal tree huh. You really need to publish a junk book with all of your ideas.
    It would be a hit.

  11. Last year some friends got out their ladder and then never found a tree they liked. At the last minute they just decorated the ladder. I never got to see theirs but yours is absolutely beautifully wild! It’s going on my pinterest! Happy Christmas to all.

  12. Seriously love this.

    That shot of the nekkid tree with a ladder on it is priceless. Yeah, I would have stopped there thinking I was nuts. (Put the ladder back, put the plain ol’ tree up. No guts, no glory.)

    Fantastic tree!

  13. My brother and I used to want a normal tree. Our mother was very creative. Now we both have really special, sweet memories of those trees and our mother. My trees aren’t “normal” either!

  14. Love it, Donna! We moved this year and couldn’t figure out where our box of ornaments were put, so I said, “well, I guess we’ll have to use my junk stuff and pine cones”. My 11 year old acted traumatized. I think my husband was afraid I would do it too, so he stepped up the effort to find our ornaments…and succeeded. I was so close.

  15. I used an old wooden ladder, painted it red and decorated it with all white lights, white faux pearl garland, and plastic white snowflake ornaments from Target. I had everything already and didnt spend a dime. I love your tree. Very unique, and that is what i was going for too. I like how mine turned out, but am sure it is not for everyone.

  16. Hands down, this is the most fabulous, ingenious Christmas tree I have seen in years! And I’m going to copy it next year! I’m sad that this year I didn’t even put up a tree, but too busy with out of town family illness to do it.
    I love your stuff. Keep pushing the envelope! YOU are fabulous!

  17. I saw this when you first posted and I didn’t get a chance to tell you..
    well I am now
    THIS is GENIUS! I mean REALLY!
    How in the world did you dream something like this up?

  18. I love your tree! And all your other designs. Talk about penny pinching glam!!! It’s absolutely perfect!! I want to find me a ladder for next Christmas! Lol.

  19. It may not be for everybody, but it’s definitely for this body! I love it! Who else but you would think to shove a christmas tree in a ladder? lol!

  20. Love this tree! Ok, so I’m not a big junk fan. But I’m a ha-uge tree fan. I used to decorate them for clients and retail stores. 26 trees one year – no lie. Scratched up arms for weeks, right? Yeah, I know.

    One of my favs was a 9 footer with nothing but different birdcages, pomegranates, deep burgundy velvet ribbon and sheer 6″ wide sage green ribbon. It was a stunner. I could go on and on *shock*. Hey! Maybe I should write a post!?! Yeah, that’s it. Instead of going on and on in Donna’s comment box, I’ll write a post!

    Ok, gotta run. I got some thinking to do. (love the Whoville trees too :D)

  21. Oh my gosh, Donna, I wondered how you could possibly top last year’s Whoville tree (especially the one with the droop!), but I have to say that this one is equally as impressive! All your trees are true works of art! You really inspired me with your Whoville tree(s) last year, so much so, in fact, that this year I created a Dr. Seuss tree for my kiddies. I just posted about it! You should come by and take a looksie! Kerri, A Pop of Pretty,

  22. I agree, puff tree a much better choice.
    do you have family (other than your son) come over to enjoy your trees?
    I could imagine my mother groaning and throwing up her arms.
    Individually some of the ornaments look a bit odd, but altogether they work grandly.

  23. #49 DogsMom, when my mom use to come over, she’d look at something, smile and either ask if I had plans to paint it or say, “It’s Donna-ish!” Always in the most innocent of ways of course. 🙂

    Thank-you everyone for your kind comments! Wow…


  24. Gorgeous! Ya know I have an old wooden ladder like that out in my garage . . . hmmmm. Nah, this was your thing! LOL. I think you and I would be fighting over rusty implements and such if we went to flea markets and/or “thrifting” together. I see too many things I would want for myself strewn throughout that tree. 🙂

  25. I am new to your blog and I’ve just seen your tree…It is so beautiful it made me emotional and cry..I know,I know. It’s just so wonderful to see someone appreciating the beauty of the old and rusty…and actually doing something reclaimed like you do..keep up the great work and keep posting everything you do for Xmas and all your Holiday ideas your mind ya know.

  26. I love your tree. Now that gave me a good reason to use hubbies sled. Have to wait till next year. No room here. Great idea! Heck love your whole site.

  27. Love the step ladder Xmas tree. Question: What kind of fake trees do you use? I like the wispy pine garlands and can’t seem to find a tree similar to that. Can you help?

  28. Hi

    I just your creativity. Your Christmas tree is absolutely gorgeous. I could look at it all night long.

    Have a gorgeous day,

    Terry ABreu

  29. This stepladder tree is so cool! I just saw this now on Facebook, and I see it’s from two years ago. I’ll be anxious to see what you come up with this year too! Thwe holidays are sneaking up on us! I am a painter,(now there is a theme too, huh?) I also love and deal in vintage so I love all your old stuff! You are so amazingly creative and inspiring, and your ideas are timeless! I follow you and read your blog often! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas! Love, Linda

  30. This tree is super cute! Before I even realized there was a tree underneath, I was thinking that a ladder around the house and some pre-decorated garland from the craft store would also probably make a great tree! Thanks for sharing this neat idea!

  31. I love your Ladder Tree : …I love the garland , it just all came together , love the torn sheet strips …all of it …amazing tree …when you got through with it .

  32. not much to say, except IT IS FANTASTIC and I am sooo happy I found your blog. I love junk soooo much too!!!! You inspire me!!!

  33. I cannot tell you how much I love this tree!! It is absolutely amazing! I would not change anything about it. The only problem I can see is that I would never want to take it down! Keep up the great ideas!

  34. Can you tell me what the “pretzel stick” garland is made from? Possibly wooden place mats cut apart???? Love your look and might have to try this, using it as an outdoor tree decorated with my collection of bird houses and “feeder” ornaments I make from birdseed each year. I love the silver spoon idea as this would give the birds tiny water bowls…will send pictures if I do this

    • Hi Lynette! Sorry for my delay in getting back to you.

      I’ve made the stick garland out of both grapevine twigs and straight twigs I found bundled up at a thrift store, that I cut down to size. Any twig will do, but of course, depending on the type of twig, you’ll get a very different outcome!

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