Christmas Tree Made of Books
For the Christmas 2010 warehouse party we hosted, the centerpiece of the event was our 7 foot tall Christmas tree made entirely of green books!
2011 update: Our Christmas tree of books has developed a bit of a cult following with lots of librarians, book lovers, and others inquiring for do-it-yourself tips on how to make one of these “trees.” I have added some tips below.
Mary took the lead on building the tree over the past few weeks and was frequently heard asking for “more green books” as it grew taller and taller.
Our estimate is that there close to 800 books that make up the Christmas Tree! You can’t really see it from the photos, but we lit the tree from the inside, so it was glowing nicely through the spaces in the books.
We are leaving the tree up for a while to enjoy it some more. Next Christmas season, we will be offering an on-site tree construction service for homes and businesses (great for merchandising a retail store or hotel lobby during the holiday season). Please feel free to contact Thatcher for more information about that if you are interested.
DIY Tips – If you are building your own Christmas tree of books, here are Thatcher’s tips on how to make it:
1. The Base: If you don’t want to/need to move the tree – pick your spot on the floor and start building. If you may want to move it, you can do what we did which is to build a strong movable base – ours was constructed out of two layers of plywood cut in a circle, with 4 strong casters on the bottom. Keep in mind that the finished product will weight about 1.5 lbs for every book you use – so our tree of 800 books weighed about 1200 lbs.
2. Layering is the key to shaping the tree. The key is to set aside books of various heights and thicknesses. What you want to do is make concentric circles that start big and gradually decrease in radius. While doing this you need to keep the thickness on each layer about the same. The height of the books comes into play as you make the circles – you can make a big circle with lets say ten 9.5 inch tall books, then one on top of that with ten 9 inch tall books, then you can make one with nine 9.5 inch tall books, etc. As you get to the top however you will want very small (5 or 6″ tall) books on hand to make it taper.
3. Lighting – we put a light in the center of the tree before we built it up too much – so it emanated out through the spaces between the books. This is something to consider, but make sure it is not a fire hazard. You can also use Christmas light strands to weave in and out of the book spaces but do so carefully as you don’t want to disturb the placement of any books.
That’s about it for the tips, but feel free to ask questions – and have fun! This is a great way to re-purpose books.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!