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How To Make A Christmas Tree From Vintage Style Light Bulbs

December 15, 2023

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Whip up a very unique Christmas tree this season with some vintage style light bulbs and a few dollar store supplies.

Here's the quick and easy way to craft yourself a little holiday throwback and fun decor.

How To Make  A Christmas Tree  From Vintage Style  Light Bulbs

Every now and then I come across picture on the internet that sticks with me.

There's something so darling or unique about it that I save it.

And dream of recreating it myself one day.

I usually tuck the idea back in my brain somewhere for a rainy day.

Well, this weekend it finally rained and I was able to make one of the DIYs on my crafty Christmas list.

So our tale begins a few years ago, when I saw this photo on Pinterest.

It was a super creative Christmas tree made from vintage light bulbs.

Dollar Tree Light Up Necklace DIY Christmas Tree Craft

And this holiday upcycling junkie fell in love.

From that moment on I kept my eyes open for a bag of old bulbs in every shop I entered.

Every yard sale I went to and every curb I passed by and in all that time, I never found any.

Not even one errant bulb.

To be honest, by this season, I'd all but given up.

Then, on one of my many trips to Dollar Tree, I noticed the cashier wearing a large, colorful light up necklace.

Colorful Light Bulb Necklace

And it was made from very bright, vintage looking light bulbs.

Right then, I knew.

That old saying, fake it til you make it popped into my head and I grabbed a bunch.

Vintage Light Bulb Christmas Tree DIY

So it's not really the same thing, clearly, actual vintage style bulbs, like these, would look so much more elegant, but it comes pretty close.

Of course, those large colorful lights are very popular now, so you can buy these new, but they're not cheap.

Also, glass bulbs would be very heavy to mount, so you'd need to use a strong epoxy. It's definitely an option though, if you want a higher end look.


My supplies were all from the dollar store and it cost me under $10 to make my tree.

Black Candle Holder
  • Light Bulb Necklaces 
  • Styrofoam Cone - this one is green, no painting needed
  • Candle Holder -or small cake pedestal
  • Green Paint/ Glitter
  • Paint Brush
  • Glue Gun and Sticks
  • Ribbon

Styrofoam Cones

The process itself was very simple, although it did take some mapping out first. 

I started by removing the plastic from the styrofoam cone and painting it green. I used acrylic craft paint and a foam brush.

Painting Styrofoam Cones for Christmas Tree DIY

When the cone was fully covered and the paint was still wet, I drizzled green glitter over it. Just for a bit of sparkle in case some of the cone peeked through between my bulbs.

Once it was completely dry, I used a decent amount of hot glue to attach it to the candle holder. That would be the base and support my tree.

Ps- Santa if you're listening, this girl clearly needs a new glue gun. 😉

How To Make A Christmas Light Bulb DIY

Next up, it was time to get busy with the bulbs.

At first I thought I was going to have to cut the bulbs away from the wire, but turns out, they unscrewed from the necklace easily.

Unscrew Bulb From Necklace

Even better, once they were free, I realized they had a cute screw pattern on top, just like the vintage bulbs. Had I known this earlier, I might've been tempted to spray paint that part of the bulb in silver or gold for a more authentic look.

However, I was on a roll and not willing to stop. Plus, I really do like the way it turned out.

Gluing the bulbs onto the cone was the next step in the process. It was a little tricky to start, but once I got the hang of it, I was basically building a pyramid, like my starfish tree

Gluing Lightbulbs To Styrofoam Cone

Lots of bulbs on the bottom, very few on top. 

I started by loading the light bulbs up with glue and pressing them against the cone at the bottom. I kept doing that all the way around until I had one row in place.

Dollar Store Christmas Light Necklace Tree

Like I said, I did map it out a little before I started. I took a piece of scotch tape, laid a bunch of light bulbs down on it and held it up against the base of the cone to see how many it was going to take to make it around the tree on the first run.

Then I spaced my colorful light bulbs out accordingly so I'd have a nice looking row without too many big gaps.

With the first row in place, I started on my second.

How To Make A Vintage Style Christmas Light Bulb Tree

This time I put glue on the bulbs and placed them between two others on the row below. 

I kept doing this all the way up the tree until I got to the tippy top, where I placed one bulb, a green one, that stood straight up, to mimic an evergreen shape.

Placing green bulb on top of tree

In a perfect world, all the bulbs would've fit together nicely, without any gaps. But this is a Dollar Tree craft people and that just didn't happen. I did indeed have a some open spaces.

Spaces that were too small for a full bulb and too large to leave blank.

Instead, I took one of those plastic bulbs and separated it in half, which I was able to do easily, once they were unscrewed from the necklace.

Using Half A Bulb On Christmas Tree DIY

Then I glued that half a bulb into the spaces that were glaringly open. 

Again, not perfect, but good enough.

The finishing touch was a tiny red bow tied onto the top branch...I mean bulb.

Ribbon Topper On Light Bulb Christmas Tree DIY

When I was done, I was actually quite pleased with my vintage style light bulb Christmas tree creation.

It was very colorful.

Very festive.

Dollar Tree Vintage Bulb Necklace Christmas Tree DIY

And very done. 

One more dreamy Christmas craft to check off my long wish list.

Just 999,999 more to go. 


What do you think of my vintage styled tree?

Kim Signature

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  1. This is really cute. I just had those same necklaces for my condo ladies night gathering. They were fun and if I were crafty like you I would make a tree or two lol! I will just admire yours. Have a good weekend. Hugs. Kris

    1. They are so fun, Kris! Cute to wear and fun to craft with at Christmastime!

  2. That is as cute as cute can be. I went to a party at Kris's a couple of years ago and we all wore those blinking necklaces....SOOO much fun. Have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana! Kris is the hostess with the mostess for sure!!

  3. Kim, this is very cute. Love the colorful tree. Another cute craft for Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I'd really like to make this with actual bulbs...oh well, maybe someday!!

  4. It's so cute! And it takes me back. I remember those kind of bulbs on the tree when I was a kid. Love it!

    1. Thanks Mari! It's a colorful addition to my Christmas decor!

  5. That is a cute and sweet tree! It brings back memories of the bubble lights we used to put on the tree years ago. Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas!

    1. Oh the bubble lights! I loved those. I remember seeing them when I was a girl and they were magical. I appreciate your kind comment and wish you a lovey new year!!

  6. Very clever! Isn't always the way? You are looking for 'that one thing' while out thrifting and you can never find it...until you don't need it anymore!

    1. Yes!! I'm hoping that since I no longer really need them, I find them!!

  7. Well done! At first thought it seemed simple enough but my goodness you had to persevere to complete this pretty project. I've looked for a year for the vintage Christmas lights at our local antique mall to no avail, not for this kind of a project but simply because I had seen Angela of Parisienne Farmgirl place the old bulbs around the base of some houseplants in her Christmas house tour, an easy enough project for me, if I could have found them. I'm wondering if your friends and family will be wanting one of your cute bulb trees for their home? And if you'd comply or rather just go on to the next DIY?

    1. Happy New Year, Dewena!! So glad to hear that I’m not the only one on the hunt for these bulbs! Although I hope we’d both find a bunch in 2024!! I really would like to make these trees with actual bulbs, I think they’d be so much more elegant. As for making more, it wasn’t a bad project, so yes, I’d make more…but again, I’d feel better making them with the real deal!! All the best in 2024!!

  8. Kim this is really cute. You did a great job and as much as I enjoy crafting I wouldn't have had this vision.

    1. Thanks Cindy! I really like the inspiration photos best, but this was an easy way to get the look. Next year, hopefully I'll make them with real bulbs!! Happy New Year!

  9. Kim, another great Christmas craft. You are really rocking it this season. :-)

    1. Thanks Carla! I certainly enjoyed all the DIYs.

  10. what a cute idea!!! I have some of these lightbulb necklaces up in my attic....hahaha!

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I bet these trees would look great in the kids' rooms!!

  11. As with all your craft projects, this is so cute!!

    I hope you and your family have a cozy, healthy Christmas filled with lots of love.


    1. Thanks Melanie! I hope you had a lovely holiday season and wishing you all the best in 2024!!

  12. Kim,
    WOW! This is super cute and nothing that I would have thought of on my own that is for sure but I LOVE it!!

    1. Thanks Deb!! Next year, I think I'll make it with real bulbs!!