Our Christmas Tree Train

For years, I’ve been dreaming of adding a train around our Christmas tree, and guess what? This year, I finally made it happen!!!! I want to say upfront—this is not a DIY post … this is just me sharing something fun I did. It was easy and guess what? I love easy!

So, I bought a basic plastic train set on Amazon. I found one that has a steam feature because that is extra magical (and yes, it does work but the steam is very faint). It has a classic train engine noise. The track can be a circle or an oval. If you choose to put it around your tree, I recommend a tree collar (this is what I have) and not a tree skirt. The track needs to be on a flat surface, so you do not want a fabric tree skirt under it. We used a small amount of black washi tape to tape the tracks together so that they are more secure (with little kids this definitely helps keep it in one piece).

Here’s a link to the train set I used.

How I painted my train:

It would certainly be an option to spray paint the whole train set and then paint the details by hand. I didn’t use any spray paint. I used outdoor craft paint to paint some sections pink. This took about three coats, drying between each coat. Then I painted some details on with black acrylic paint. The details I painted were our kids’ names, our last name, and some little Ms and Ns—just personal details. I finished it off with one coat of matte Mod Podge. I also painted the rocks (coal) black (it was silver before). I left the open cart the color it came–brown. And I left the wheels red like they came. I pretty much just painted the red parts pink and then personalized it a little bit.

The best part about this train set is how much our kids love it and how cozy and nostalgic it feels when it’s going around the tree. It’s really special! The worst part (just keeping it real) is that I have to constantly adjust it and fix it for my kids. It’s not something they can do on their own without me. So I would say it’s a little high maintenance. But, oh well, so is an elf that moves around your house three times a day, and we do that for more than a month. It’s all worth it! 🙂

A train is so cute at the bottom of the tree and you can add this DIY tree topper to the top! Wishing you coziness this season. I’d love to hear what projects you are working on. xx. Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Kelly. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • It is too bad you didn’t buy an old train from a second-hand shop or something. Sometimes your blog is just AMAZON AMAZON AMAZON all day long.

    • That would be a cool suggestion for them to make in the blog, but the point of a DIY article is to make it achievable for a broad audience, that means pointing to readily available materials. It wouldn’t be very helpful to readers to say “I made this with a train I bought at a thriftstore… goodluck finding one on your own!”

  • How cute! My grandma had one under her tree and we loved it as a kid!


  • How cute, and of course you painted it pink! That wouldn’t have occurred to me! I grew up with a train under the tree and yes it is magical! Thanks for keeping it real, though!
    Here’s my keep-it-real moment for the holidays: I made a beautiful, wool felt advent calendar and the kids just ended up in tears or really grumpy for like six days running about whose turn it was, so, I rolled it back up to try again next year!
    In the meantime, I’m knitting all of the ridiculous custom requests of the 6 and 4 year olds 🙂 A kitty-shaped, tiny, special blankie? Sure thing!
    Happy holidays!

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