This article should begin with the disclaimer that this is probably not a project one will be able to pull off this year. Unless you have friends who work at bars that sell a whole lot of cans and want to save them for you or you decide to throw a can party for a hundred or so friends, chances of pulling together enough cans to make this tree will be no easy task. However, this should be viewed as inspiration for how to make next year’s Christmas the best one yet.
If you’ve ever been to Percy Street Barbecue in Philadelphia during the Christmas season, you’re sure to have noticed this massive and surprisingly festive-looking tree made entirely out of cans. As one of the top canned beer bars in the world (it’s almost guaranteed they have cans you didn’t even know existed), the team at Percy Street, led by Aric Ferrell and Desiree Howie, decided to showcase their selection and build one of the most impressive beer can trees you’ll see. Year one, the tree started out at 6’ tall and used 436 cans, taking Aric and Desiree 40 hours to build. Today (pictured), the tree has grown to double the original height, 12’ tall, and almost four times as many cans: 1,700, in what has truly become a sight to behold, making the 70 hours of build time worthwhile.
Sharing their love for all things canned, Aric and Desiree have decided to divulge their building secrets (which they may or may not have borrowed from Mountain Dew). With these steps you’ll be able to build your very own 6’ beer can Christmas tree. If you want to build the 12’ version, grab a seat at the bar and they’ll share the riveting story of how they spent over a full week’s amount of work spinning metal electrical wire with a drill to pull it off, most likely deterring you from your decision to build a bigger tree.
What you need:
• 7’ long piece of 2.5” PVC Pipe
• Power drill with 1/8” drill bit
• Wire cutters
• Christmas tree stand
• 436 empty beer cans
• 436 construction marker flags (available at most hardware stores)
• “Band-Aids and patience” — What Aric believes to be the most important requirement
What to do:
Step 1: Following the chart below, drill 1/8” rings of holes around the pipe.
Step 2: Also following the chart, cut the flags to the appropriate lengths, being sure to cut off the end that does not have the flag.
Step 3: Once you have drilled all 436 holes and cut all 436 flags, bend the non-flag side of each marker 1” up in the same direction the flag is pointing.
Step 4: Stand your PVC pipe up in the Christmas tree.
Step 5: Place all the flags’ hook-ends up into the PVC pipe.
Step 6: Hang your beer cans, by shoving the flag through the mouth opening of each can.
Step 7: Decorate your tree. It’s already pretty decorative, so lights should be the only thing needed. You could also place a star on the top, or as Percy Street did, place a beer bucket atop the tree instead.
Step 8: Sit back, crack open a well-earned can of beer (assuming you can stand to drink a 437th) and admire what is sure to be the most impressive tree on your block