The holiday season is over, but if you're still feeling a little festive and want a simple woodworking project to end the year, consider making a dowel tree. A dowel tree is a relatively simple project you could tackle during these rare days off from work and still have plenty of time left over to ring in the new year with your loved ones.
The size of the dowel rods depends upon the size you wish for the dowel tree to be. However, if you are working within the dimensions of a standard dining table or foyer or hallway table, you might consider keeping the dowel tree to no more than about 24 inches tall.
Using the dowel sizes of your choosing, as based on the desired result of your project, drill holes into a dowel rod, which will be the trunk of the project and will fit into a base. The number of holes you drill, again, is a matter of preference based on the number of branches desired for the tree and its overall dimensions. Additionally, you can manipulate the branches to accomplish the desired look. This may include allowing the branches to align or to situate at 90 degree angles (or another aesthetic angle of your choosing) down the length of the trunk. It may also include allowing the dowels to be the same length or of varied lengths. If you choose to vary the lengths, be sure to use sandpaper to smooth the rough edges of the cut dowels. You may also need to plan ahead with regard to the size and sturdiness of your base if you choose to allow the branches to be equal in length, as a sturdy base will be needed to support the additional weight at the top of the tree from untrimmed rods.
The wood dowel used as the project's trunk will secure into a base. Consider using varying sizes for the base. Perhaps a three-and-a-half inch circle placed upon a six inch circle. Consider using varying shapes, too. Perhaps a square, oval, or Christmas star for the base. A hole will need to be drilled through all layers of the base to accommodate the selected diameter of the trunk.
Paint the dowel a festive holiday color, or use a basic color (such as white or black) and allow any additions to be the splash of color that makes it stand out in the room. Spice up the top of the trunk dowel by adding wooden ball, a woodworked star, ribbon, or a mesh bow. You may also consider twisting mesh down the length of the trunk to the base. Be creative!
Once your dowel tree is completed, add old, beloved ornaments to the branches. You may also make it a child-friendly project by allowing your little ones to make small, strung crafts, which can be added to the branches and removed a day at a time as a countdown until Christmas day. If it is large enough to do so, you might consider hot gluing and stringing cards from family and friends and displaying them throughout the holiday season. Of course, this will depend upon the dimensions used to make the dowel tree. And when the holiday season is over and it's time to put away your Christmas items, you may even consider using the dowel tree as a way to store some of your larger hanging ornaments throughout the year.
With very minimal cost, time, and effort, you can use hardwood dowel to make one last festive woodworking craft.