This project is for the birds — literally!
Last Christmas, as a family craft project, we made bird seed ornaments to hang on a tree in our backyard. It was so much fun watching the birds enjoy the treats we made them.
This year, I decided to make a rustic tobacco stick Christmas tree bird feeder so we can treat our avian friends again.
This rustic project takes no time at all to make, and costs very little money. Kids can help build and paint the Christmas tree, with supervision. And they’ll love getting their hands messy making the bird seed ornaments.
Supplies: Tobacco Stick Christmas Tree
- 3 tobacco sticks or wooden stakes
- wood screws
- tape measure
- circular saw or hand saw
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
- DecoArt Americana Outdoor Living Paint in Lily Pad
- paint brush
- Small C hooks
How to Make A Tobacco Stick Christmas Tree
I live in North Carolina, so tobacco sticks are pretty easy to come by. They were originally used to hang bundles of tobacco from barn rafters to dry.
I’ve found tobacco sticks make good garden fence stakes, but there are all kinds of ways you can repurpose them. I have a friend who thousands of them in her backyard, and another friend whose grandma’s old barn is full of them. So, I had no problem tracking them down for this project.
If you can’t find any tobacco sticks where you live, you can use wooden stakes from the hardware store instead.
When making your Christmas tree, try to find three tobacco sticks of fairly equal length. (Wear gloves to avoid splinters.)
Lay out two sticks in a triangle shape, and use a wood screw to connect them at the point where they meet at the top.
Measure the distance between the two tobacco sticks at the base, leaving a little space in case you want to stake the tree into the ground or a flower pot.
Cut the third tobacco stick based on that measurement and attach to the other sticks using wood screws. The length of your cut will depend on the angle at the top of your triangle. My base piece was about 15.5 inches.
Cut two more shorter lengths of tobacco stick and attach them further up the tree. I spaced mine a foot or so apart — no need to measure precisely. You just want to have room to hang the bird seed ornaments without crowding them.
For reference, my two shorter stick pieces measured 11.5 inches and 7.25 inches.
When you’re using the wood screws to attach the horizontal sticks, you may find it helpful to drill pilot holes. This will prevent the tobacco sticks from splitting.
Once all the tobacco sticks are attached, flip your tree over.
Since tobacco sticks are rough, I recommend using a chip brush and not your most expensive paint brush.
I painted my tobacco stick Christmas tree with two very light coats of DecoArt Americana Outdoor Living paint in Lily Pad. I love how the rustic wood detailing still shows through.
Once the paint is dry, add cup hooks to hang your bird seed ornaments. Again, it may be helpful to drill a small pilot hole.
I used a total of six C hooks on my tobacco stick Christmas tree. The one at the top holds two ornaments — a star and a heart on a longer piece of twine.
The bird seed ornaments don’t take much time to make at all. You do need to let them set and harden for a few hours, or overnight. And the process can be a little bit messy — bird seed gets everywhere – so you may want to work on them outside.
Once the ornaments have hardened, tie them with twine and hang them on the hooks on the tobacco stick Christmas tree.
You can either stake your tree in the ground, add a hook to the top for hanging or prop it against a post or wall.
The birds will find it!
If you like rustic decor, you might enjoy these projects: