Christmas Designs

Tree Variety

Tiffany Marshall from Gateway Community Church in Webster, TX brings us this cool variety of Christmas trees.

Their set consisted of 20 triangular Christmas Trees.
4 – 12’X6′ : made with 2X4’s
6 – 10’X5′ : made with 2X4’s
4 – 8’X4′ : made with 2X4’s
2 – 6’X3′ : made with 2X2’s
4 – 4’X2′ : make with 2X2’s

They painted the frames white and added bases to the bottom. They used materials such as Saran Wrap/Aluminum Foil/Bubble Wrap/Christmas lights/and painted silver stencil with uplighting to create different textured surfaces. They also used LED light strips across the bottom of each tree to change the tree colors. The different materials, when uplit, created very different textures. The trees that Christmas lights were stapled to were put on a dimmer, so they could change too.

They placed 10 trees on each side of the big screen from tallest to shortest. One of the tall trees on each side they placed on platforms that were raised about 3 ft off the ground for added height and layering. They used a lot of material the church had from previous projects that were leftover, so this project only cost them about $500.





Joy to the Pallet Solitude

51 responses to “Tree Variety”

  1. Deb Parish says:

    I love this. What did you use for the flat part of the trees?

    • David says:

      Some of the trees were open frame covered with foil, plastic wrap, or bubble wrap. Some that had solid surfaces were 3/16″ plywood or foam core. Then some were painted and others had lights stapled on.

  2. Deb Parish says:

    What did you use for the flat part of the trees?

    • David Hoffman says:


      For the trees that had solid fronts, we either used 1/4″ plywood sheets, or we used 3/4″ foam sheets. The plywood sheets were used for the trees that we stapled lights to the front of, and the trees that were painted with the swirls.

      The foam sheets were used where we didn’t need to staple anything, like the larger trees that were covered with foil. The decision to use the foam was simply based on being able to re-use what we had on hand from previous set designs.

  3. David says:

    It was a beautiful design and a great concept by Tiffany Marshall. So proud to be part of that team.

    Want to see more of how we lit them up during a choreographed pre service light show?

  4. Deb Parish says:

    Would love to have the info on the lighting.

    • David Hoffman says:

      The lighting on the trees came from two main sources. There are Chauvet Colorstrips across the front of each tree pointing up to wash the tree in light, and then for the taller trees, to be able to get the two-tone lighting (as well as covering the entire tree with light), we also pointed MegaLite ColorCannon NE fixtures toward the top of each tree. The moving lights on top of the lightboxes are Chauvet Intimidator Scan 300s.
      We also have other lights from above the stage for stage wash and talent lighting.

  5. Donna Leary says:

    How did you create the swirl design? Painted? Stencil ?

  6. Helen says:

    What did you use to secure the materials to the styrofoam?
    These trees are beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    • David Hoffman says:

      The foam trees are the ones with the foil wrapped around. The foil is actually secured to the back side of the frame and stretched across the front of the tree. If there are spots where the foil sags or seems loose, it wouldn’t be noticed at all to use regular staples through the foil into the foam.

  7. Amber says:

    I love the trees! I actually have a question about the platform the musicians are on–how did you light the bottom of the platform?

    • David says:

      Hi Amber.

      We build light boxes out of plywood and installed two RGB color bars in each box. The inside of the box is pained white to reflect the light and then the front is frosted plexiglas. Each box is 20″x40″ and can be used either laying down or standing up. In this picture you only see six of them. We have a total of 15 that we use in various configurations.

      David Hoffman

      • David says:

        Sorry… Meant to add one thing. The platforms are not on top of the light boxes. The boxes are on the floor in front of the platform.

  8. Cheryl says:

    Really love this design and will be using it for our Christmas stage this year. How did you attach the aluminum foil, bubble wrap and saran wrap to the frames? Were they attached to the front of the frame or the back? In the case of the saran wrap, was it wrapped around the frame? Please feel free to add any other information you think would be helpful to us in executing this design! Thanks so much!

    • David Hoffman says:


      The aluminum foil was wrapped around the front and stapled to the back side of the 2×4’s that made the frame.

      The bubble wrap and plastic wrap were wrapped all the way around.

  9. Tim says:

    Hi Tiffany and David, would you mind letting me know what RGB LED color bars you used to uplight the trees? We are in the market for some new fixtures.

  10. Debbie says:

    How did you make the platform around the drums that light up?

    • David Hoffman says:

      The platforms don’t light up. The drums are on a riser. We built lightboxes that are laying horizontally in front of the riser.

      The boxes are 20″ x 40″ on the front, and taper on the two short sides toward the rear. That allows us to put them side by side and make a curved front without leaving gaps at the front. Inside the boxes are two of the Chauvet Colorstrips mentioned earlier. The front of our boxes are a sheet of white craft paper behind a sheet of Plexiglas. White frosted Plexiglas could be substituted, as could some of the various panels used for overhead fluorescent lighting.

  11. genesis says:

    hello! do you know the measurements for the angles of the trees?

    • David Hoffman says:

      Not sure on the actual angles, but what we did was make the trees twice as tall as they are wide.
      So the 12′ tall tree has a 6′ wide base. etc.

  12. Julie says:

    How big did you make the bases for each tree? Did you have any issues with them falling over or tipping?

    • David Hoffman says:

      The trees are made from 2×4’s but the bottom corners of the frames have another 2×4 perpendicular to the bottom board as if to make a capital I when looked at from the side. That gives the trees more stability to prevent them from tipping.

      Also, the taller trees have an additional small piece of 2×4 on an angle from the inside of the frame to one of the support legs for added stability.

      I would post another picture but don’t think I can add more pictures.

  13. Debbie says:

    What length of string lights did you buy for each tree. They don’t look like single lights on a strand.

  14. Cristian says:

    Hi, this trees looks Amazing!!!
    We are adapting your design to our church. (A lot smaller yet ;)
    I love to know, what software you are using to run the lights and syncing with the music, we actually use a small mixer (obey 70)

  15. David Hoffman says:

    Oops. I think I mixed up my replies to Lisa and Cristian.

    • Cristian says:

      Ha ha, no problem… Happens!
      Thanks for your fast answer. I didn’t know the Jands Vista S3 until now, it’s awesome… Some day ;)
      Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I really mean it, not everyone does what you do. blessings!

  16. Joel says:

    I built these for our church too!!!! We don’t have RGBs yet so we used PAR 32s with red and green gels.

  17. Nathan Huyser says:

    Thank you for this idea- we did this at our church this year and the congregation loves it!

  18. Josh Harnish says:

    Great look! We’re hoping to recreate this for Christmas this year and all the info is super helpful! Thanks!

  19. Craig says:

    Great idea. I am going to try to recreate them for a Christmas show I am doing. In the picture with the guy at the piano can you tell me how tall the one with the foil was?

  20. Katie says:

    I’d love more information on the measurements of each side and the angles you needed to cut. Was the bottom board cut at all? I looks like it was left cut at a 90 degree angle.

    Can you tell me how you attached each piece of the frame together? Did you just screw it together?

    I’m hoping to make these for a portable church. It will need to be put up and down a few times. Hoping it isn’t too difficult

  21. Awesome stage design. Did you paint the trees with the Christmas lights stapled to the plywood white or a different color? Thanks for getting back to us.

  22. Joe Mevis says:

    They are painted white.

  23. Inquiring minds says:

    This set is amazing and we are considering attempting it this year! When you say the trees are 12’x6′, it that a 12′ board or is the tree itself 12′ high? If the tree is 12′ high what length 2×4 did you use to create the 12′ high trees?

    • David Hoffman says:

      See… and here I always thought learning the Pythagorean theorem was useless.

      a^2 + b^2 = c^2

      So two sides that meet at a 90 degree angle, squared, and then added to each other will then give you the squared length of the third side (the hypotenuse). The length would then be the square root.

      For a 12′ tall tree with a 6′ long base, we divide the base by 2 because that’s where the center point is. 3 squared is 9, 12 squared is 144.

      3^2 + 12^2 = c^2
      9 + 144 = 153
      The square root of 153 is 12.37′

  24. Kim says:

    How do the trees look in the daytime? Is the appearance ok for a morning service with natural lighting?

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