Sometimes life doesn't give you lemons, it gives you turds- so make them stunning!

Saw a beautiful tree at a local craft store but don’t have $300 just floating around so I put my thinking hat on and came up with this tree.

My $50 Tree

Supplies- I had some of these at home, but all prices are based on my local hardware or craft store.

  • Wire- #10 (it needs to be strong enough to support the lights but soft enough to bend) 100 ft for $8.50
  • Lights- 3 boxes of 100 outdoor lights $7.68 each (with my 40% off coupon) $23.07 total
  • Shelf brackets- 3 , 10 to 12 inch seems to support the trees just fine- $1.29 each, $3.87
  • PVC Pipe, 1 1/2 inch x 36 inch $1.79 if you have it cut, $2.29 for 8 feet
  • Spray paint $1
  • Can of insulation foam $3.49
  • Flower leis- 3 @ 1.29 each
  • Electric Tape 6 rolls for $3.98, but I used just under 3 rolls $2.00
  • Plastic gloves pennies because I have a huge box that I bought years ago for a few dollars

Let’s add it up
$47.59- that is significant savings, especially if you are doing several for a reception.


  1. Gather supplies.
  2. Tape brackets to one end of pipe.
    Tape the PVC pipe to the shelf brackets
  3. Bundle your wires, (my tree has 13 branches) plus you end short pieces to add little side branches. Look at picture and go for what looks tree-like to you.
    Bundle wires
  4. Stick bundle of wire in open end of pipe, tape in place.
    Stick bundle of wire into open end of pipe
  5. Spread out wires for your canopy, this is a good time to tape little branches.Spred branches
  6. Spray foam the pipe and brackets, protect the surrounding area, and use gloves. This is VERY sticky and messy, but it is the step that makes the project look like a real tree. Let dry, it takes about 30 minutes.
    Spray foam on pipe and brackets
  7. Spray paint roots and trunk I used paint made for plastic furniture. It gave a nice glossy black that matches the electrical tape very well.
    Spray paint trunk
  8. Now start wrapping the lights, making sure the plug-in is at the bottom and where the strands join. That way you’ll be able to cover the connection and still have it look good. I tried to bury it to make it look like part of the trunk. At this stage only tack tape the lights. When you are sure all the branches are covered and the lights are working, go back and wrap each branch with electrical tape. Make sure all wire is covered and only the bulb of each light shows.
    Wrap lights around wire "branches"
  9. Take your leis apart. Push a blossom over each light. Glue in place if you are using outdoors in the wind. Your 3 leis should yield 300 blossoms so you can put one on each light.
    Put the blossoms on the lights
  10. Fluff and arrange your branches, plug-in and enjoy the $250+ you saved.

Please excuse any errors, this is meant for inspiration your results may vary.


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