what can i make out of an old wooden door? There are so many old door ideas to enjoy these architectural treasures. Here’s how to make vintage old door trees you can enjoy in your christmas decor or throughout the year.
When you love finding old doors and enjoy their timeworn character, it’s wonderful when you figure out a way to use them in your decorating. After seeing full size door trees at a local shop recently, I decided Mr. Fix-it and I need to make a few smaller versions for our Christmas mantel. Here’s our Repurposed Old Door Tree DIY how-to, if you want to make some yourself!
Repurposed Old Door Tree DIY
Old Door Ideas
When I recently saw full size versions of old door trees at a local shop, I decided this project was a great way to repurpose my old door stash. I have a “few” that I’ve found on the curb through the years! When I searched online, I watched a great tutorial on Black Dog Builds; you can watch it HERE. It gave Mr. Fix-it a general guideline of what I wanted to do. Our version would be shorter so they could be the focus of my Christmas mantel display.
How to Build Vintage Door Trees
First, take all the metal hardware off the door. Take off the hinges, the doorknob, plate, and the lockbox. But keep them where you can find them.
For the first tree, I wanted to have the door plate at the top of the tree. Find the middle of the bottom of the door and mark. Then with a straight edge, find an angle that you like. To make a steep tree and to also get the lock in at the top, we had to cut a couple inches off the bottom of the door first.
Clamp the straight edge to the door and use as the guide to cut with a circular saw. Make sure you are hanging over the edge of a table or sawhorses so you don’t cut anything underneath. (Sorry, forgot to get a pic of the cutting, because I was holding the door)
Do the same thing with the other half of the door. Face them with their tall sides together to make a tree.
For the no-trunk version of a tree, screw a scrap board piece on the back to adhere pieces. Screws work well here, since these are the thicker door frames in the middle.
Framing the Old Door Christmas Trees
Now to make more trees with the rest of the old door!
The tall middle piece that was mostly the door’s panel made an easy tall tree with a little triangle of door frame at the top. (Sawdusty pic below)
The bottom of this tall, skinny door became two shorter trees. One of the trees needed to have a triangle scrap board piece in the top to finish it off. It takes a little geometry to figure out how to make the triangle trees out of the door, but it’s not too hard.
To frame the trees and hold the floating panels together, nail scrap boards all around. We used a pneumatic nailer. Miter the top point so the joints come together in a nice peak. Have the side frames go over the middle frame board (see in bottom right pic). We used old lath boards from our Vintage Modern Bathroom Remodel.
Old Door Trees with Trunks How To
To attach trunks to the trees, notch frame board. Glue a 4 x 4″ rough board that has been notched to fit to back of tree with roughly 6-8″ of trunk at bottom. Nail on front side of tree with camouflaged nails; we used brown nails on these.
Here are the 4 trees we made from one old vintage door.
How to Finish Salvaged Door Trees
Depending on the exterior finish of the door you’re using, your finishing technique may be different.
First, I sanded the lath frame and the trunk of the tree with a palm sander (120 grit) so I wouldn’t get any splinters. (I like THIS palm sander)
Then I scrubbed the trees with soap and water since the door had been stored in the garage.
Once dry, I sealed all the surfaces by brushing on a coat of my favorite polyurethane (get it HERE). It seals the surface and brings out the patina of the old wood finish.
Lastly, I added junky bling by screwing on the old door plates and a few antique hinges.
To see our Christmas mantel decorated with these fun upcycled door trees, see our “Vintage Inspired Christmas Home Tour with Traditional Style”. These door trees will be fun to use throughout the year in different ways!
Hope you enjoyed this Repurposed Old Door Tree DIY and it will inspire you to make your own! Become an Insider if you’d like the creative ideas to be sent your way!
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