The Ultimate Artificial Christmas Tree!
(aka, How to Make the Mountain Dew Christmas Tree)

Have you seen the Mountain Dew Can Christmas Tree making the rounds in forwarded emails? Looking at the photo of the illuminated tree at right, it looks beautiful... and then you look at it more closely, to find it is made out of empty Mountain Dew aluminum soda cans and coat hangers. 

Wow!  What can one say to this? Is it grotesque trailer-trash redneck culture?  Or the ultimate re-use / recycling plan, an expression of transforming trash into functional art?

Would you like to make one yourself? Whether you like it or hate it, you have to admire it's creator's ingenuity, creativity and construction skills!  I received these photos in an anonymous email, so if you know the first guy who made, let me know so I can give him credit for the idea.

Materials to make the tree are empty Mountain Dew soda cans, construction flags (or coat hangers or similar heavy gauge wire. The wire use to hold batted insulation between wall/ceiling studs would work, too. ) and PVC pipe.


How to make a Mountain Dew soda can Christmas tree.

(or "pop cans" if you live in the Midwest, or "Coke cans" if you live in the South!)

If you have any feedback, questions or improvements to suggest, write me!

Materials needed:

  • Empty Mountain Dew soda cans (other green cans, Like Sprite would work, too, but the caffeine buzz from drinking the Mountain dew will definitely help you to finish this project!)
  • Construction flags, coat hangers or similar heavy gauge wire. The wire use to hold batted insulation between wall/ceiling studs would work, too. 
    Decide how tall you want your tree to be.  The taller it is, the more cans of Mountain dew and wires you'll need!)
Desired tree height *plus 8.
(* add 8 inches to this for the base)
Approximate number of both empty Mountain Dew cans and construction flag wires (obvious each can requires 1 wire) An extra dozen cans and wires is included, to fill bare spots.
24 65
28 82
32 102
36 125
40 150
44 178
48 208
52 241
56 276
60 313
64 354
68 396
72 430
  • Power drill with a 1/8 inch drill bit.
  • PVC pipe (from Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) - 2 inch diameter, height from table above PLUS 8 inches (for the base)
  • Pliers
  • Silicone bathtub caulking cement (optional)
  • Ordinary Christmas tree stand that will fit a 2 inch diameter trunk

 

How many days will it take to get this many cans, if you drink this many cans per day:

Minimum number of cans needed 1 can/day 2 cans/day 3 cans/day 4 cans/day 6 cans/day 12 cans/day 24 cans/day
65 65 32 22 16 11 5 3
82 82 41 27 21 14 7 3
102 102 51 34 26 17 9 4
125 125 63 42 31 21 10 5
150 150 75 50 38 25 13 6
178 178 89 59 44 30 15 7
208 208 104 69 52 35 17 9
241 241 120 80 60 40 20 10
276 276 138 92 69 46 23 11
313 313 157 104 78 52 26 13
354 354 177 118 88 59 29 15
396 396 198 132 99 66 33 17
430 430 215 143 107 72 36 18

 

Directions to make the soda can Christmas tree:

Step 1. Drill holes for the wires in the PVC pipe. You will need to use a spiral pattern, turning the pipe as you drill.  Each full revolution should equal 4 inches of height. the spacing does NOT need to be precise, as long as you have the total number of required holes within each 4 inch length of pipe.

This table will help you drill. O inches represents one end of the pipe that will become the top of the tree. Whatever height tree, you choose to make, stop drilling at that number of inches minus 8!  You will leave the last 8 inches (as the bottom trunk of the tree) bare and therefore undrilled. Each drilled hole will receive the end of a wire for a can.

Inches from one end of the pipe Number of holes to drill in the next 4 inches
1 3
4 4
8 5
12 8
16 10
20 13
24 15
28 18
32 20
36 23
40 25
44 28
48 30
52 33
56 35
60 38
64 40
68 43
72 45

Step 2 - Clip the construction flags, coat hangers or heavy gauge wires to the lengths specified in the table below.  Be SURE to keep these wires sorted.  You will assemble them in order, from longest to shortest!

Where to insert the wires - Inches from one end of the pipe Number of wires to cut to this length Length of wires for these holes
1 3 3
4 4 4
8 5 4
12 8 5
16 10 6
20 13 7
24 15 8
28 18 9
32 20 10
36 23 11
40 25 12
44 28 13
48 30 14
52 33 15
56 35 16
60 38 17
64 40 18
68 43 19
72 45 20

Step 3 - Bend the last 3/4 inch of both ends of each wire to a right angle (L shape).  The is what will help to hold the wires in the can and pipe. For a permanent attachment, you can also put a dap of silicone cement (like bathtub caulking) on each end, as you insert them.

Step 4 - Insert the end of the PVC pipe with the 8 inches of undrilled area into your Christmas tree stand and tighten it.  No water is needed.

This guy drilled as he assembled.  I wouldn't recommend this approach. It ought to be safer and easier to lay the PVC pipe on the ground (outside, or with a board underneath, to protect your floor!) and pre-drill the holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 - Starting at the bottom, insert the longest wires into the holes and attach a Mountain Dew can to the other end of each!  Just work your way up the tree, using the wires from longest to shortest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6 - Topping the tree.

He used an empty 2 or 3 liter plastic Mountain dew bottle, right side up, with a hole cut in the bottom (probably with a serrated kitchen knife) and inserted a 25 watt appliance light bulk or a 11 watt compact fluorescent bulb in it.

Step 7 - Decorating the tree

Just wrap Christmas lights around the outside, from bottom to top (or start at the top and run the cord up the PVC pipe).  Then hang ornaments on the light wires.

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