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Make your own vintage Christmas truck, complete with a mini Christmas tree in the bed!
Hey all! It’s Tylynn, dropping in from Bitterroot DIY again! I’m super excited about this latest little project and am so glad to be able to share it this week! I’ve been pulling out the Christmas decorations over here and, of course, was browsing Pinterest for some inspiration. One of my favorite trends is the vintage red truck Christmas decor … you know the one … with the Christmas tree in the back. It just says “I’m a perfect Christmas decoration” all over it. I was originally going to buy one. But as I was shopping around I thought ya know, I bet I could make some sort of version of this for a fraction of the price. And guess what!?
That’s the best kind of DIY — the ones that work.
Enjoy the free plans below and good luck with all your Christmas decorating!
Make Your Own Vintage Christmas Truck
Tools & Supplies:
- Finish nailer (or hammer & nails)
- Finish nails
- 2″ hole saw
- 1 1/4″ screws
- Wood glue
- Red, black, white acrylic paint
- Faux mini Christmas tree
- Mini pine cones (optional)
Lumber & Cuts:
- 1 | 1 x 4 @ 12″ (base)
- 1 | 2 x 4 @ 5 7/8″ (long side) with 5° miter (hood)
- 1 | 2 x 4 @ 2 3/4″ (long side) with 5° miter (roof)
- 2 | Lath @ 5 7/8″ (bed sides)
- 1 | Lath @ 3 1/2″ (tailgate)
- 4 | 1/2″ Plywood @ 2″ diameter circles (wheels)
- 2 | 1/2″ Square Dowel @ 3 1/2″ (axles)
Step 1. Add truck hood to base
Position the hood of the truck 1/8″ from the front of the base and attach with wood glue. Clamp in place until the glue dries.
The front end of the hood has a 5° to mimic the slant of the front of a truck. The 1/8″ gap mimics the front bumper.
Step 2. Add roof to hood
Position the roof piece flush with the back (left side in the photo) of the 2 x 4 hood. Glue and clamp in place.
Step 3. Add axles
Place the front and back axles according to the diagram below and glue and clamp in place.
Don’t be afraid to be generous with the wood glue for each truck piece since it’s holding the whole thing together. Just wipe away any excess once the boards are clamped down.
You can glue and clamp each piece one-by-one, per each step above, or just go for it. I glued everything up and then clamped it all together at the same time. There was a lot of glue going around, but ain’t nobody got time to wait for glue to dry three times!
Step 4. Add truck bed
I used a few extra pieces of wood lath for the truck bed. Wood lath pieces are usually located in the trim section at the home improvement store.
Attach the bed sides and tailgate with wood glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails. Leave a 1/4″ gap at the back for the rear bumper. Place finish nails at the front of the bed sides into the 2×4 hood piece and at the back sides into the tailgate.
Step 5. Add wheels
Center the front and back wheels (wooden circles) on the front and back axles and attach with 1 1/4″ screws.
I used a 2″ hole saw to cut the wheels out of some scrap 1/2″ plywood. You can adjust them according to the scrap wood you have available. Or go really big for a cray cray, jacked up truck! You could also use a few washers stacked together … the possibilities are endless!
Step 6. Decorate!
I started by painting the entire piece with bright red acrylic paint. Then I painted the door windows, windshield, bumpers, and wheels with black acrylic paint. I added headlights with white and then shaded everything and blended the windows and bumpers with some white/gray. The whole painting process is completely up to you! I’m definitely not a master painter, so I just made it up as I went. You could definitely add some tail lights, a custom license plate, and a back window to make it your own.
Step 7. Add accessories
Hot glue the Christmas tree into the bed of the truck and add some decorative pine cones to fill it up!
The final touches are just personal preference, so play around with it until you like it!
And that’s that!
Have fun decorating with your new vintage Christmas truck!
Don’t forget to pin it!
P.S. Sarah, here — this is an amazing project, Tylynn! If you’re obsessed with these charming vintage trucks as Christmas decor, you should also go check out this stocking hanger box project that Shara from Woodshop Diaries did and make a matching one for your mantel!
P.P.S I love the versatility of this design! You can easily crank out extras and paint them in other colors that lend themselves to other holidays and seasons. A teal truck with bunnies, a rusty orange with small wooden crates of apples or a hay bale, etc. (The Dollar Tree is a great place for tiny items to tuck in the truck bed.)
We’ve got lots of Christmas content here at the UDH: family stories that might make you laugh, DIY decor ideas for your holiday trimmings, recipes, Christmas decor themes throughout the years, and easy DIY gift ideas to name a few!
Scrap Wood Ideas
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