Cut the tube pieces:
-eight base pieces
-twelve middle pieces
-four top pieces
(This seems like a really easy step certainly: for all that it has pattern pieces, it doesn't use many words. In actual fact it will take about half your life, three or four different blades, and end with your index finger still hurting a fortnight later.)
|this picture is totally wrong because earlier versions of the tree used the same shape for the top and middle rows, but I forgot to take another picture.|
Make them roll nicely by creasing every second corrugation on the side with the wider corrugations. This will be the inside. It doesn't matter if occasionally you have double or triple creases. They are pretty likely with recycled cardboard.
Roll the piece around an empty can to find out where the overlap starts. Use a knife to carefully cut through the surface layer on the inside of the bit that overlaps, and pull it off, before cutting through the exposed corrugation to pull that off too.
Wrap it back around and tape it multiple times across the join, as well as lengthwise along the inside. Repeat for the other 23 tubes. This will take until probably next Christmas, and it's fiddly shit too unfortunately, so it's hard to delegate to a nearby child. I don't know if you could do it without the overlap - it would be quicker to make but I don't know that I would trust it to hold my drinks tbh.
To make the inner walls these tubes are going to be attached to, get the 9cm tall pieces of double corrugated card. The top pieces uses a 40cm strip for its four tubes, the middle two need 60cm for their six and the bottom needs 80cm for its eight. Mark every 10cm on the top and bottom of your strips and crease them the same as the holding tubes to make the four bigger rings onto which we stick the tubes. Tape it thoroughly into a circle.
|I actually put them every 5cm because I forgot halfway what mark I was using on my ruler.|
To attach the holding tubes, get a long piece of sticky tape (15ish centimetres is about as long as you can have it while still being actually usable) and tape one half of it along the bit where the overlap starts, at the biggest dip in the curve. Match this up to one of the marks, and stick the other half of the tape down the inside of the big circle. Then tape across the holding tube as close as possible to the edge to make sure that it doesn't come unstuck. These are the single most important pieces of sticky tape holding each holding tube up, so make sure they are stuck firmly.
|excuse the snapchat diagram scribbles|
Flip the whole shebang upside down and so the same thing with what will be at the bottom. It's also easier to make sure you're getting a good shape if you put your empty can in whichever tube you're taping, because even with the double corrugation they do still flex. For the bottom eight tubes, the bottom will end in a longer point, while for the others it ends in a second smaller dip. They should curve fairly well to the inner ring, though they aren't perfect. The inside piece of tape for this should overlap the inside bit from the top, and put another cross-over piece on the bottom too.
Then just stickytape the shit over the whole thing. If you start from just either side of the first top piece of tape, and shape it to fit in the joins where the two pieces meet, it should naturally curl around the underneath along the holding tube, which is a good thing, and if you do it at a couple of slightly different points you should get a few good angles.
|it looks like a slippery dip|
When you're feeling good about it, wrap some pieces around the holding tube as close as you can get to where the two pieces meet. Then repeat this 23 more times. Your primary fingertip will probably be feeling a bit weird from all the tape that has been attached to and then pulled off of it. This happens, and it will distract you from the fact that pushing on things like your toilet flush with that finger inexplicably aches now. You'll end up with four rings with holding tubes sticking out of them at an angle.
Get the rest of your 9cm tall strips and crease them so they curl nicely. Then put them inside each inner circle and push them out as much as you can to work out how much to trim from them. Cut them down to this length and align the join with the middle of one of the holding tubes, taping it from top to bottom. Repeat the first two taping steps (top and bottom, with the cross-over). Then add another inner circle of cardboard, this time taping along the gaps between the tubes and folding over to the inside.
|I over enthusiastically stickytaped my second layer to my first in earlier versions|
From here on out, the photos get a bit more patchy, because a lot of them were taken while making an earlier version which didn't have the inner PVC pipe, but I think most of it is fairly self explanatory. Then again, I have made 4 of these, it is 2am, and I have had my first drink.
At this point, the top row with four holding tubes should be about the right size to fit over the outside of the piece of pipe, depending on how thick your cardboard is. If it fits already, just skip the first half of this step and wedge it on as is. If it's almost the right size, slide it on and wedge random, 13cm tall scrap bits of card into the gap, with the 4cm sticking out the bottom. Otherwise, get a 13cm tall piece of curled cardboard (it's at this point that you can switch to regular corrugated card, but you'll need twice as much as the double thickness stuff) and fit it into the insides of the four and six tube circles, with the extra 4cm extending out the bottom. Wrap three 4cm tall strips around this bit, taping down as you go, so that it becomes the same outer size as the circle to which the holding tubes are attached.
Add more 13cm tall layers to the insides of the six tube rows until they are almost full to the inside tube. If you want to, cut circles of thinner card with a hole the size of the centre tube in the middle and attach to the top of each exposed coil. When you get as close as possible to fitting around the inner tube's size, slide it on and fil in the gap with random little bits. Repeat for the bottom eight holding row, but with 9cm tall strips.
Cut another circle for the bottom with a hole in the center for the inner tube. This should sit exactly level with the bottom of the tube. Tape from up inside the bottom of the tube across this card base and up the gaps between the bottom holding tubes. This way, you can just pick up the (empty!) tree from the top tube. Push all the other layers down so they sit solidly on this, with the two six tube layers arranged to sit in one another's gaps.
Make a little tub for the top holder inside the pipe from a thin piece of card rolled to fit the inside and sticky taped to a circular piece cut to fit the inside. Push it in till only the very top of the card tube its at about the right depth for your drink to stick nicely out the top, and sticky tape it down from the inside to the outside. If you want it to all match, wrap some brown paper around the exposed pipe at the top.
|taken 15 minutes on my fully decked out final tree because I realised this bit was kinda confusing|
Explain the idea of an advent calendar tree that holds 25 drinks to everyone. Explain to them that it takes literally a whole day to make so if they are willing to "pay you to make one for them" it will be like $200. Consider the possibility of speeding it up by using entirely PVC pipe and bogging it together for speed, but flounder upon realising that the curves can't be easily cut from the pipe. Quietly calculate the necessary angles to make a centre piece of stacked lop-top pyramids, but flounder again as you realise you don't have the material knowledge necessary to decide what to actually make this centre out of. Start a blog which includes discussion of this fact in hopes that someone will kindly give you information on an easily cuttable but strong and non-flexible plastic that can be quickly and securely glued at odd angles. Give up as you realise that increased material costs cancel out the saved time. Decide to just post instructions on you blog and leave it to someone else to figure out.*
|The full one was my first, but it has moved out, the one on the floor has gone to dad's shack and while mine looked like the naked one, that one is now my sister Casey's|
Decorate your tree and fill it with booze.
*This step is not strictly essential.