My hubby zipped through this project in record time using old fence boards and a little spray paint! I then took over and used my Cricut to attach vinyl letters, distressed it a little and the project was done! Be sure to read the post for all the details.
Every bit of wood was pulled from my husband's scrap wood re-purposing pile; the trunk of the tree was part of an old bookshelf and was already a dark stain, the "branches" were his favorite re-purposed fence slat wood, and the "stand" was just a chunk of 2 x 6.
While he liked the rough, unfinished look of the wood, my husband wanted a bit more uniformity to accommodate the vinyl lettering to happen later. All he did was lay out the "branches" and dust them with a light aerosol primer (just happened to have some Zinser 1-2-3 oil-based primer). No need to do the back, but he did hit all the edges and ends.