6 Dec 2013

DIY: Danish Wooden Dowel Tree (Filigrantrae/Filigree Tree)

I knew that I wanted to make a Danish wooden dowel tree (filigrantrae) this Christmas, but I wasn't willing to give up our tradition of getting a fresh tree.  I decided that making a smaller dowel tree would be perfect for my boys/as a secondary tree.  It did end up being for my boys and you've already seen it in use for their advent calendar here, but today I'm going to share with you how Tech Guy and I made our Danish wooden dowel tree.  

You've seen most of these pictures already.  I didn't have time to take new photos as I've been pretty sick this week. :(  It's slowed down my Christmas decorating and prep too.  I'm hoping next week will be better and I'll have lots more of my Christmas projects to share.  The tree is a little over 4ft tall which is a great size for a child's tree.

Here's how to make your own  Danish Filigrantrae/Filigree tree:

 Danish Wooden Tree 

1.  You will need:
  • 4 - 48" long, 5/8" poplar dowels cut into 7 pieces measuring: 12", 16", 20", 24", 28", 32", 36" (we basically chose a 4" increment increase for each branch from top to bottom)
  • 1 - 48" long, 1 1/4" poplar dowel
  • 1 - 48" long, 4" x 1/2" poplar board cut to 2 - 2' pieces and 2 - 4" pieces
  • one 3.5" wood screw
2.  Mark the heights for each of your dowel branches.   The first dowel from the bottom was at 10", the next was at 16.5" then 23", then 28.5", then 34", then 38.5" and 43".  In other words our spacing between the the dowels were from the bottom 10", 6.5", 6.5", 5.5", 5.5", 4.5", 4.5".

3.  Using a drill press with a 5/8" bit, drill the holes at the heights you had marked in step 2 making sure each branch is at a different angle to the others.  To make it look more random try to avoid a direct "x" or 90 degree with a branch directly above/below the now you are working on.  It helped to insert the branches into the holes as we went along to be able to visualize the angles.  We just had to take the branches out each time we went to drill the next hole.  This instagram picture better shows the randomness of the branches.  
A scrap piece of wood was clamped to the back of the press to use as a guide so that the dowel stayed straight during drilling.  It was helpful to have another person hold one end of the dowel while drilling to keep from moving.  You want to make sure your holes are a straight as possible or your branches will turn out crooked.  

4. a)-b):  On one of the 2' boards pre drill a countersink hole for your tree trunk to sit in when assembled.  A 1 1/4" spade bit was used.

5. a)-b):  Make the base part 1:  Place both of the 2' boards onto the base of the tree trunk with the trunk dowel inserted into the pre drilled board.  Clamp the boards together so that you are sure to drill straight through both boards into the trunk dowel.  Pre drill a hole through the centre of both boards into the dowel and then screw to fasten it all together.  It's important to get your screw in as straight as possible so that your tree will stand straight.
*if you are planning to take this tree apart often/for storage it maybe a good idea to use an insert nut in the dowel bottom (like I used in our DIY tent).

6.  Make the base part 2:  Once you've screwed the boards for the base on, carefully open them up to create an "x".  To level off the boards to the same height glue on the 4" square boards onto either end of the top board of the base.  Clamp the glued squares in place until completely dry.  If you would like to further reinforce these blocks you could also use some nails or screws.

7.  If you haven't already, insert your dowels into the holes you drilled in step 3 with the longest dowel at the bottom and decreasing the length as you go up.

We are so happy with our filigrantrae/filigree tree and I hope this tutorial will help you make one too!  Happy Weekend!  I'm excited to get to work on some more Christmas crafting and other randomness with my boys too.  Let's hope this cold is on its last legs!


  1. I love this! I've grabbed it and put in my Evernote in hopes that maybe next Christmas I'll have one like this as well. :D
    Toivottavasti voit jo paremmin ystava hyva! Parantavia haleja! <3

  2. How fun! Love this and shot of your littles :) xo Kristin

  3. The boys match the advent calendar!! :) Love this!

  4. I love this tree! And I love the idea of a smaller tree for kids. Hope you feel better soon!

  5. I love this so much too and you can do so many other things with it. The possibilities are endless. Such a great idea!

  6. That looks great!
    I didn't know about this trees until today, but we do had something similar, when I was kid and I was allowed to decorate it with an ornament each day in Advent, until christmas. Loved it!

    Have a great weekend!
    Love, Midsommarflicka

  7. So so pretty. I didn't even know it was a particular Danish thing. I learn something new every day!! Pinned!!


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