Nordic Christmas Tree from a Coffee Cup Tree

Nordic Christmas Tree from a Coffee Cup Tree

There I was at the Goodwill Outlet (aka, “The Bins”), staring at a coffee cup tree. It was on top of the pile, likely tossed there by someone who scoffed at its missing arm. But me? I grabbed it…broken treasures are my favorite finds. And this coffee mug holder for a Christmas project. My plan? To transform it into a Nordic Christmas tree for a fun, minimalist change of pace.

Coffee cup tree at Goodwill Bins

Making Christmas trees from unexpected thrift store finds is a favorite holiday past time of mine, after all. Remember this wine rack that I repurposed?

Boho Christmas tree from a bamboo wine rack

But back tot he coffee mug tree. As I mentally disassembled it in my head, though, I realized that I could get TWO holiday projects from it…but let’s get to Project #1 first.

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Upcycling a Coffee Cup Tree

First, I needed to disassemble my coffee cup tree. I was planning on creating two Christmas projects from it, after all.

Coffee cup tree that is missing an arm

Thankfully, it was fairly simple to take apart. The arms were glued in and over time, the glue had become brittle.

So, with little effort, I was able to remove each arm from the stand/base, and set them aside for Project #2 (which you can find here on the blog!).

Removing the arms or pegs of a coffee cup tree

I was left with a flat base with a tall center spindle that had three sets of perpendicular set holes that went all the way through. With the arms of the coffee cup holder removed, I could now transform it into a Nordic Christmas tree.

My plan was to slide wooden dowels into each set of pre-drilled holes. But, I decided I wanted a fourth hole because there was plenty of room near the base (not for a coffee mug, mind you…but certainly for a dowel!).

So, we drilled an extra hole near the bottom of the coffee cup tree.

Drilling an extra hole in a coffee mug tree holder

The holes were *relatively* even (meaning a dowel could slip through straight across and not look uneven/wonky). Nevertheless, I went ahead and used a round file to clean them up ever so slightly.

Next, I gathered some wooden dowels to transform into tree “branches” for the Nordic Christmas tree.

Dowels for branches of a Scandinavian Christmas tree

Transforming into a Nordic Christmas Tree

With four sets of holes, we determined that the four “branches” should be 6”, 8”, 10”, and 12” in lengths. So, we cut down the wooden dowels as such.

After sanding the edges, I slipped them through the holes of the coffee cup tree and glued them in place.

Making a Nordic Christmas tree from a coffee mug tree stand

Next, it was time to paint my Scandinavian Christmas tree!

I found a mossy green spray paint that seemed like the perfect cool green.

Spray painting a Nordic Christmas tree

Once that dried, I hand-painted the base of the mug tree and a tiny part of the spindle in a dark brown to replicate a Christmas tree trunk.

NOW my Nordic Christmas tree was all done and ready to be decorated!

Upcycling a coffee cup tree as a Nordic Christmas tree

I gathered some ornaments that I thought would look good on my coffee cup tree, including rustic brass bells (similar to these from Pottery Barn!) and clear mercury glass ornaments.

Decorating a Scandinavian Christmas tree

Nordic Christmas Tree from a Coffee Cup Tree

I loved the combination of neutral colors against the mossy green color of the Nordic Christmas tree.

Scandinavian Christmas tree from a coffee mug tree

You could easily personalize this idea to your holiday tastes. In fact, I think I’ll be on the hunt for another coffee cup tree and spray paint the whole thing silver like a vintage aluminum tree. Then I’ll hang some of my small vintage Shiny-Brites on it!

Minimalist Christmas decor with a Nordic Christmas tree

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a tabletop Christmas tree, then you may also get a kick out of my version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, too!

Upcycled version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. OMG… your imagination… it’s amazing!! Love this Nordic Christmas Tree!!


  2. As usual I love it; that color goes especially with with the 40’s kitchen utensil handles and Jadeite (one of the things I don’t collect YET!). You have taught me to think outside the box very well; can’t wait to see what the second project will be! I think the only thing I would be tempted to do here is to make small nicks/notches at the ends of the dowels before painting to prevent ornaments from falling off if it is bumped (darn cats!). Maybe one good rasp of a file? Wish I could see all of your Christmas decorations scattered through your house!

  3. Clever, cute and oh so Christmasy!!

  4. This is so cool! I love how it turned out. I have a teacup tree that I wanted to make a tree out of, but never thought of using dowels for the branches. That’s a great idea! Love the rustic bells, and the vintage Shiny-Brites too. Super cute!

  5. I love this idea!! So easy!

  6. Seriously girl, how creative is this! Oh you definitely need to make your shiny brite tree idea too.

  7. Ahhhh! I l-o-v-e it! Great job styling it too. Can I come hang out with you? Lol.

  8. I saw one of these old mug tree’s at the thrift store the other day. Oh why didn’t I buy it. Love your Nordic Christmas Tree.

  9. This is such a cute and clever idea! I love it!

  10. And I thought using mug trees for storing my bracelets was a clever idea for repurposing..this is a neat idea for empty nesters or people with a small space who might not want to decorate a larger tree. You’ve got me wondering what will happen with the leftovers. Can’t wait to see what you decide, you clever rascal.

  11. Wonderful!! Love how you repurpose everything.

  12. Mary-The Boondocks Blog says

    I had one of these a few years back and didn’t know what to do with it. Great repurpose Sarah!

  13. What a great idea and super cute! I think I have a coffee mug tree somewhere in my stash.

  14. Joan Sheppard says

    Just found you from another blogger Carole and WOW so glad she did, I’m hopping all over the place here and finding so many great ideas for my “treasures”. Thanks! Going back into your blog for more great ideas.


  1. […] Sarah from Sadie Seasongoods is the queen of upcycling and you can totally see why with her adorable upcycled Christmas coffee mug tree! […]

  2. […] you walked by old mug trees at the thrift store?  This repurposed mug tree is such a fun upcycle and the perfect decor for the holiday […]

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