“Nail” and string Christmas Tree

experimental christmas

Do you have a little one that wants to put up and take down all the ornaments on your tree? We do. To fill YMGP’s need to decorate for the holiday and help him develop some fine motor skills, I made him his own tree, a nail and string Christmas tree… except, well, I didn’t really use nails.


We are currently renting our house, but even if we weren’t, 19 nails is a lot of holes in a wall. As soon as the idea to make YMGP a “nail” and string Christmas tree lodged itself in my head, I was on the hunt for a hole-free nail alternative. I immediately thought about Command hooks, but 20 regular command hooks would cost more than buying him an actual Christmas tree. Then I saw Command’s decorating clips. They were tiny and reasonably priced ($4-5 a pack) and they came in a pack of 20. Perfect. A little green yarn, and I had all I needed to make a “nail” and string tree.


Okay, maybe not all I needed. I also used a ruler and a level, but didn’t go out of my way to make it perfect. If fact, I really should have planned it out before I started sticking little hooks to the wall, but luckily, it turned out amazing without the extra work. Here is the layout. It is an actual picture of the hooks on the wall before adding the yarn, but since the white hooks are hard to see on our cream walls, I added lil’ dots to show you where to put them.


I put the tree on the wall starting at the bottom and worked up. I spaced the tiers of the tree 8 inches apart and lined up the outer hook of each tier with the inner hook of the previous one, working my way up to the top hook placed right in the middle. The whole think is almost 4 feet tall, the perfect size for my little guy. 

Honestly, I had to restick the hooks several times. Why? I had to figure out which way to make the hooks face. Since the hooks aren’t nails, it is easy to wrap string around them when they are pointing away from the previous hook, but difficult from the other direction… Does that make sense? After a little trial and error, I think I found the best approach and color coded it on the image above for you. The blue dots face down, the green dot faces up, and the red dots face out. The natural tendency for me was to have the inner red dots face in, but since you actually use each hook more times from the hooks on the other side than from the one to the outside, it is easier to make them face out.

I wrapped the perimeter of the tree with my green yarn first. For those inner hooks, I took the yarn all the way around them to keep it on the hook. It is a little annoying, but don’t worry, the rest of the yarn holds the first pass on the hook. Then I went nuts and randomly stretched yarn from hook to hook. You could certainly do this step a little more intentionally, but I was going for a random rather than a perfectly geometric look (and, honestly, I didn’t have the patience after fussing around with the direction of the hooks.)


I made some felt ornaments for YMGP to hang on the tree. I just replaced the embroidery floss hanger with a looped pipe cleaner and bent it like a hook. Just hang them on the yarn. Easy on, easy off. I do suggest waiting an hour before letting your rowdy toddler play with the tree to let the hooks set. Luckily YMGP hasn’t decided to pull on the ornaments yet, because he might just rip the hooks off the wall. If he does, oh well, better than him ripping nails out of the wall, right? 


Did you use Command strip decorating clips this year? Do you put up a play tree for your little ones?

Incidentally, if you don’t have the space, time, or desire to put up a real tree, a large version of this “nail” and string tree would make a super-cool and inexpensive substitute.

By the way, this is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated to gush about Command strips. But I do like them and used them all over the house to decorate this year. Well inside the house… the outside ones didn’t work for us. 

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  1. Cindy Eikenberg

    says on December 6, 2013

    Hi Laura! This is so wonderfully creative – I just love it! Visiting from Tatertots & Jello – so happy I got to see this ! Thanks so much for sharing and pinning! Hope you have a happy and merry weekend! Cindy@littlemisscelebration.com

    1. Laura

      says on December 12, 2013

      Hi Cindy! Thanks so much for stopping by and pinning! Happy Holidays!

  2. Amy W

    says on December 6, 2013

    This is super cool. I did a kitchen nail string project but this tree is such a fun idea for the holidays! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Linda @ it all started with paint

    says on December 6, 2013

    What a fun and creative xmas tree idea!

    🙂 Linda

  4. Great Ideas -- 25 Merry and Bright Home Decor Projects!

    says on December 8, 2013

    […] Nail & String Christmas Tree @ The Experimental Home […]

  5. eva scott

    says on December 8, 2013

    wow, how creative. thanks for sharing. pinned it!

    1. Laura

      says on December 12, 2013

      Hi Eva! Thanks so much… and thanks double for the pin!

  6. Yana

    says on December 9, 2013

    Very cool!

  7. Great Ideas — 25 Merry and Bright Home Decor Projects!

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    […] Nail & String Christmas Tree @ The Experimental Home […]

  8. Jamie

    says on December 10, 2013

    Thanks for linking up to Monday Funday… I love this simple, cute tree! Wanted to let you know that I featured it on my Sulia channel! http://sulia.com/channel/crafts/f/ab72703b-294e-406a-af39-4d81e70bd07b/

    1. Laura

      says on December 12, 2013

      Hi Jamie! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Deonna

    says on December 11, 2013

    It’s Deonna from the Child at Heart blog! I love this post and would love for you to link up to the Merriest Blog Hop and share your creations!

  10. Allison @ Dream a Little Bigger

    says on December 14, 2013

    Oh my goodness. You are so much smarter than me. I totally have a post like this coming up next week (great minds I always say, Laura 🙂 but I’m the dummy who used thumbtacks. THUMBTACKS! Totally linking to this post to show people a smarter, not to mention more symmetrical way of doing this!!!

    1. Allison @ Dream a Little Bigger

      says on December 15, 2013

      I mean more symmetrical. Gah!

  11. Brynne@TheGatheredHome

    says on December 15, 2013

    This is such a creative idea! I love the geometric Christmas tree, and it was so smart to use Command hooks! Pinning for inspiration 🙂
    Visiting from the Live Laugh Linky party.

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