DIY Lighted Canvas Christmas Tree

December 15, 2015

lighted canvas christmas tree

Whether it’s a freshly cut tree from the local tree farm or a beautiful assembled one that you can re-use year-to-year, I think we can all agree that your home just isn’t Christmas-ready until you have a tree. And while nothing’s more quintessentially Christmas than a perfectly trimmed real tree in your living room, decorating with something so large and disposable just isn’t feasible or desirable for some of us (me included).

I’m here today to share a nice little solution – this modern DIY Lighted Canvas Christmas Tree. This tree is perfect for anyone who either doesn’t have access to a real Christmas tree, is limited on space, or just loves the idea of a unique, minimalistic Christmas tree that still lights up and that you can still put your presents under!

hanging christmas tree

In my family household growing up, we put up and decorated the same plastic Christmas tree every year that we pulled out of storage and we loved it. I mean, my parents didn’t grow up here and so they had never had an “American” Christmas in their youths, so for me and my siblings, Christmases were a result of my parents doing their best with what they had and just learning as they went along. I like to think that’s why I like thinking outside of the box with Christmas decorations now. And maaaaybe that’s also why this is the only “tree” currently to be seen in our place with <10 days til the big day! 🙂 (hey, it’s also because we’re extra limited on space this year!)

Anyways, learn how to make this minimalist lighted canvas christmas tree below!


Stretched canvas (24” x 36”) / battery-powered string lights24” T-square / black or chalkboard spray paint / gold thumbtacks / pencil / exacto knife


  1. Spray your canvas with 1-2 coats of paint, until it reaches the coverage you like.


2. Let it dry completely.


First, you’ll work on the outline of your tree.

3. Using your T-square and pencil, find the middle of your canvas and draw a small, straight mark of where you’d like the base of your tree to be. Then, move your T-square to the top of your canvas (making sure it stays in line with the mark you just made on the base) and mark off where you’d like the top of your tree to be.


4. Place your T-square about 6-8 inches above where you marked off the base, and lightly mark off how wide you’d like the bottom of your tree to be with one mark on the left side and one on the right. Don’t worry too much about how high or low you make these marks, but just be sure to choose a width you like.


5. Starting from the two marks you just made, draw straight lines up to the mark you made for the top of the tree to complete your tree outline. Step back and make sure you like the shape of your tree before you move forward!


6. Take your gold thumbtacks and begin filling in your tree trunk. I did this freehand, but you can use your T-square as guide to make sure you’re filling them in straight. I found that a row of eight thumbtacks across was the perfect tree trunk width for this size canvas.


7. Make your tree trunk as tall as you’d like – mine was ten rows tall.


8. Lay your T-square across the top of your thumbtack covered tree trunk. Using the marks you made in Step 4 as a guide, push in a gold thumbtack on each side of your tree outline.


9. Fill the space between the two thumbtacks you just placed with a straight line of thumbtacks.


You can now see the bottom of your tree!


10. Using your T-square, draw a diagonal line up from the bottom right corner of your tree to the left about 12” up, stopping at the left outline of your tree.


11. Fill in that line with thumbtacks and repeat three more times up the whole tree in a zigzag pattern.


You end up with something like this:


Next step is adding lights!

12. First, unwind your string lights. You can turn your lights on or keep them off throughout the next few steps. I alternated back and forth as I went along to help me envision how it would look lit up.


13. Using your exacto knife, cut a small slit at the bottom left corner of your tree and thread your string lights under and out through this hole.


14. Pull the string across your tree towards the right, up to where you want the next corner to be.


15. Continue to “hang” your lights on your tree by:

Making two small slits about half an inch apart near the outline of your tree (where you want your string your lights to hang). Thread the string lights down into the first slit, and then thread back up and out of the canvas through the second slit.


Repeat this technique all the way up the tree and around the entire outline of the tree. Secure any access string lights (plus the battery pack) to the back of your canvas and then you’re done!

alternative christmas tree


You can lean your canvas tree against the wall like I did here or you can hang it up. It would go great with my DIY origami paper star garland seen here! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “DIY Lighted Canvas Christmas Tree

  1. Ana Toz

    Christmas is over, but I’m planning on doing this next year. I really love your DIY projects, not only are they so cute and pretty, plus, your instructions, with the added pictures, are great, they are perfectly clear and easy to understand. I’m not really a DIYer but with your project instructions I feel confident that I can do them.

    1. Linda Post author

      Thanks so much Ana! I’m glad you enjoyed this project and the other DIYs on my site. It’s the best thing to hear when someone is inspired to make something after visiting my blog – so you made my day 🙂 Happy New Year! xo Linda


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