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Shim Tree

Turn wooden shims into a stylish Christmas or winter decoration. They're so inexpensive and easy to make in a variety of sizes, you can assemble an entire forest.

 Shim trees beside a fireplace and Christmas tree

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

A few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Painter's tape
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • Kraft paper (or grocery sack)


  • 28-in plumber's cone, #807
  • 20 packs of pine shims (in bundles of 14) for three trees, #3969
Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

Wrap the cone with paper and tape the ends together. Do not tape the paper to the cone. Trim off any excess paper.
Good to Know
To vary the height of the trees, measure 4 inches or 8 inches up from the base of the cone to start your first row. A large tree measures 30 inches tall, a medium stands 26 inches tall, and a small tree is 22 inches tall.

Step 2

Glue bottom shim row to paper-wrapped cone
Dab hot glue on the back of a shim at the thin end and press it against the paper with the thick end resting on the base of the cone. Continue adding shims around the bottom of the cone.

Step 3

Glue second shim row to cone paper
Begin the second row of shims by gluing a shim to the bottom row of shims -- not to the paper -- with the wide end 4 inches from the base of the cone (Use plenty of glue when attaching the second row of shims to fill any gaps and overlap the thin end of the shims slightly to compensate for the taper of the cone). At the top of this shim, place a rubber band around the cone to act as a guide for the remaining shims in this row.

Step 4

Continue adding shims by gluing each row to the one below until you reach the top. Move the rubber band as needed to guide your rows.

Step 5

  Top row of shims on finished tree
Slide the tree off the cone. Carefully tear out as much of the paper as possible to keep it from showing through the gaps between shims. Reinforce any loose areas by gluing them from the inside.