DIY Chippy White Spindle Tree for Christmas

I'm sharing how to make a chippy white spindle tree from an old crib rail and chair spindles for a sweet and shabby vintage addition to your Christmas decor.

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Hi friends and welcome to the December edition of Thrifty Style Team, hosted by Julie of Redhead Can Decorate. We are a group of bloggers who love sharing our best inexpensive home decor and DIY ideas with you each month! You'll find links to all the projects below.

I am SO excited about my spindle tree and to share this project with you today!!! I've been wanting to make a spindle tree for a long time, and it finally happened...with lots of help from Mr DIY ❤ It brings me great joy to make something beautiful and collectible from something that's been discarded!

I love chippy white pieces. They just speak to me, and a couple years ago I cut up an old wood chair using my amazing Dremel Saw Max (I love this tool!) and came up with an easy technique to make chippy white spindles.

What did I do with those spindles? I hung some of them on my Christmas trees that year! See my blue and white French farmhouse Christmas tree here and my red and white Santa's workshop Christmas tree here

I also made some farmhouse candleholders from the chippy spindles. I assure you that my chippy white spindles haven't been wasted and I've enjoyed finding unique ways to decorate with them.

Using a crib rail for a spindle tree

I've had an old brown crib side rail sitting in my garage for a couple years (picked up curbside), and this year I told Mr DIY it was time to make a spindle tree for Christmas! I had spotted a tutorial in American Farmhouse Style magazine for a spindle tree, and it was the exact look I'd had in my head! Sausha of Sweet Pickins Milk Paint put together a fabulous tutorial and I used it as the base for my spindle tree.

Let's do this!

How to Make a Chippy White Spindle Christmas Tree

I'll direct you to Sausha's tutorial above for the majority of this 'build'. It was really quite easy to do and we had nearly all the supplies we needed.

Determine size of tree and cut spindles

I started by laying out all my crib spindles and leftover spindles from the chair that I cut up to get an idea of the size and shape for my tree. A little frog tape helped me visualize the tree shape. I marked the spindles and Mr DIY cut them down with our miter saw (one at a time so I could keep them in order!)

You can see that I chose to use a finial for the top of the tree, and a piece of my chair for the trunk. I had a leftover finial after making these easy DIY finial wood Christmas ornaments and using them as the base of my easy beaded wood tray with crackle finish. These finials are a great buy; they come in a package of 2 from Lowes for only $2.98! You can find them here.

The thing to note here is that my crib spindles were all the same size, and my chair spindles were a little bit bigger, much different than the inspiration project which had a large wide spindle at the bottom which added some cool variation.

You can really use anything and make it work! If you just have a few spindles, adjust this tutorial and make a small, tabletop tree!

I managed to even use the ends of the spindles that we cut off for the top smaller portions of the tree.

Drill a hole through middle of each spindle

Once the spindles were cut, we needed to drill a hole through the middle of each one, so we could thread the metal rod that is necessary to give the tree structure and stability. The trunk pieces were a little more challenging because the hole needed to be drilled straight down the entire middle of the spindle. Mr DIY used a drill press to make that easier.

The drill left the holes kinda ragged, but you don't even notice that once the tree is all put together.

Cut metal rod to size

We did a 'dry run', to see how tall our tree was compared to the metal rod. I think the rod was 3 feet, so we had to cut a little bit off.

Paint and chippy all wood pieces

Before threading all the spindles onto the rod, I painted and 'chippied' (I may have just invented a new word, lol) all of the brown crib rails so they matched my chippy white chair spindles. I used the same DIY chippy paint technique that I did a couple years ago. It's easy and goes fairly quickly. You just need white chalk paint, a wax candle and a razor blade scraper.

Once the paint was dry and the pieces were as chippy as I wanted them, I threaded each piece onto the metal rod, starting with the base and trunk. Oh, and we ended up adding another small section of a chair spindle to make the trunk a little bit taller.

The results are just what I imagined! This little chippy white spindle tree is adorable! Just look at all that white chippy goodness ❤

The spindles are fairly loose on the rod, so they can be rotated or left flat for an entirely different look.

I considered hanging some red ornaments from the spindle ends but decided it was cute as is. My DIY Christmas spindle tree is currently hanging out on our front porch and it looks so cute. You can see my Christmas plaid porch tour here.

What do you think? Do you need a chippy white spindle tree in your life?? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Finding Old Spindles
The best (and least expensive) place to find spindles is by looking for old chairs or a crib curbside on garbage days or even ask your family and friends if anyone is looking to get rid of one. I actually have been walking by a chair at the curb this week and had to stop myself from bringing it home! You might have luck with FB Marketplace or Craigslist or even FreeCycle. If you're still having a difficult time finding spindles, I've sourced a few for you below.


Please make sure to visit the links below, the Thrifty Style Team gals are so talented and always have great ideas to share!

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More Great Ideas From the Thrifty Style Team

Redhead Can Decorate - How to Create a Fresh Pine Christmas Centerpiece
DIY Beautify - you are here
Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder - Scrabble Holiday Art How To
I Should be Mopping the Floor - Free Retro Santa Printables

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  1. You are so creative, Cindy! I love this chippy tree. It's perfect for Christmas especially for a shabby chic lover like me. Have a very Merry Christmas sweet friend. xo

    1. Thank you Mary Beth, it does have a sweet shabby chic feel! Merry Christmas my friend ❤

  2. Cindy - You have done it again! Your spindle tree is so charming and perfect for Christmas! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

  3. I love this project, Cindy! You will enjoy using this for Christmas decor for years to come.

  4. Absolutely love it! Yes, I think I need one of these in my life, because I still have plenty of spindles in my stash. I really like that you can spin the spindles for a totally different look!

    1. Thanks Lora, I still want to make some of your spindle snowflakes! Merry Christmas friend!

  5. This is my favorite Christmas idea I've seen this year! I love how tall you made it by extending the bottom. Brilliant all the way around, Cindy!

  6. This is my favorite Christmas idea I've seen this year! I love how tall you made it by extending the bottom. Brilliant all the way around, Cindy!

  7. This is one of my favorite projects that you have done Cindy!! It's so adorable!!

  8. Cindy, this is such a cute and clever diy tree! I've put one of those small electric hand saws on my Christmas list. I didn't know they existed! Have a wonderful Christmas.

  9. Cindy- I can't begin to tell you how adorable this is. I love all of the added interest the chippy spindles give this tree. It's seriously fantastic. Merry Christmas, friend! xoxo

    1. Thanks so much Kristi, I'm so happy you like it! Merry Christmas my friend! ❤🌲


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