Building a Christmas Tree (Part 1)

light christmas DIY

It's Christmas time again. Let's build something Christmassy like a programmable LED Christmas tree.

Christmas is coming ...

The first snow has fallen and its getting cold and dark. No doubt, the winter has arrived. But, there is a light shining in the darkness. Christmas is coming. A small child was born, a child that has become the savior of the world and brought light into our lives.

While this blog is about electronics and not culture and religion, we can't just ignore this time of the year. Let's finish this year with a project. A Christmassy project. Let's build an LED Christmas tree.

LED Christmas Tree

In the next few weeks we will build a wooden Christmas tree, equip it with LEDs, connect it to our Arduino and program it to bring joy to our maker hearts. Today's tutorial is only a small introduction. In the next week, we will build the wooden Christmas tree. The next part is then concerned with the electronics and right before Christmas we will assemble everything together and write an Arduino program for our tree.

To build the tree, you need some materials and this is just what today's this first part is about. I have put together a list of the things you need to get to follow along and build your own tree.
Here is what you need:


  • 1x Arduino Uno
  • 1x Perfboard (2.54 mm pitch, 20 x 10 holes)
  • 1x Header Bar (6 pins, 2.54 mm pitch, male, with 90° angle)
  • 1x 74HC595 shift register
  • 1x 100 nF capacitor (optional)
  • 6x Jumper wires (male-female)
  • 8x LEDs (3 mm, golden white or a color you like)
  • 8x Resistors (360 Ω)
  • Thin enameled wire to connect the LEDs
  • Normal wires for connections on the Perfboard
  • Epoxy glue to hold the LEDs in place

Wooden Tree

  • Plywood (200 x 100 x 4 mm) for the stand
  • Plywood (250 x 160 x 4 mm) for the tree
  • Wood glue


  • Printer to print out the templates
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Fretsaw with a blade for wood
  • 10 mm drill
  • 3 mm drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Soldering iron and solder

See you next week. I hope you are as excited as I am and can't wait to start building your own LED Christmas tree.

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