DIY: Simple & Adorable Holiday Paper Trees

posted in: At Home 11 comments

While reading Better Homes and Gardens December 2010 issue, I happened upon this little idea for creating paper trees as present toppers.  How adorable…and how quickly would those be torn off a present in my house?  The kids loved the little trees though so we thought about making our own little forest as a holiday decoration instead of spending gobs of money at a store. 

I think they turned out super cute and the kids love them!  I am still trying to convince Miles to let us use some of his little animals in our forest but here’s how it looks with just the trees on a little sparkly snow.

This project is super easy.  I was hoping there would be a little more for my kids to do.  It would be perfect for ages6 and up.  Kids who are able to use real scissors and cut well with a grown-up’s supervision will be fine with this.  Sophia helped me cut but she, at 4, got frustrated with her circles.  She was able to help assemble the trees and place them on our snowy board. 

What You Will Need:

1.  Paper:  It can be wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, wallpaper or any paper large enough to hold your circles and easy enough to fold 8 times in half.  We used Ikea wrapping paper for our gold and glitter tree and scrapbook paper for the others.  I got an entire scrapbooker paper pack at Michaels for only $11 that was more than enough for this project and all my other holiday paper needs.

2.  Scissors

3.  Rod or Small Dowel:  I used kabob sticks as they were the thinnest I could find and a meat needle to make the holes.

4.  Glue

5.  Styrofoam or something to stick dowel in.

6.  Fake snow:  I got a bunch at Michael’s for $4.00 and have a bunch left over.

7.  Decorations:  To decorate plain paper or your forest you can use glitter, stickers or markers.  You can choose to decorate your forest any way you like!

8.  Surface for Forest:  I had a board laying around (of course, I build furniture) but any flat surface will do.  You are just wrapping the snow around it.

How to Make The Trees

This is so simple.  I have shown a three, four and five tier tree.  I like the 4 and 5 tier the best.  Each tree takes about 10-15 minutes to fully assemble.

1.  Choose paper and trace circles.   Most paper packs come with only 2 sheets of each style so you will need to choose 2 coordinating papers to get four tiers (see my green tree).  For three tiers 2 sheets of 12×12 paper will work.  I used mixing bowls and Tupperware lids to make my circles.  Just hunt around your pantry.  You want anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 difference from circle to circle.

2.  Cut out circles

3.  Fold the circles:  This is where the BHG instructions were not good at all.  What you want to do is take your circle and fold it in half.  Open it.  Fold it in half again.  Open it.  Do this 8 times until you have a 16 piece pie.  From those creases, pleat your circle and it will stand on its own.

4.  Poke holes on the tip of each tier and stand up.  Poke your dowel through and arrange tiers.

5.  Stick your dowel into a piece of Styrofoam (or something else that will hold it) so it will stand up and finalize tiers.  If some are falling down, some scotch tape will hold it up if wrapped around your stick.

6.  Cut out two circles from scrap of other trees to make the tree topper and hide the stick.  Glue two circles together and press firmly around the stick for about 30 seconds, or until the glue is set.

7.  Wrap some snow around your board or other surface and place trees on top.

8.  If you want to add little cone trees as we did, simply cut out some cute paper and make into a cone.  Staple the edges together and cut off the excess at bottom so tree sits flat.

9.  Accessorize and enjoy!  I think some pretty ornaments or sparkly balls would look cute sitting in the snow.  Small animals would also be adorable.

Happy Holidays!  Let me know if you have any questions and of course – please shoot me pics if you do this project!  It would be great done with wrapping paper on an even larger scale where kids got to decorate each tier.  This would also make it more fun for the little ones!

I'm Brittany. I believe that simple is best and that smiling can make or break a day. I love being a woman, a wife and a mother. I like to make pretty things and making things with big tools. I am a huge fan of good design. I love to travel. Hugs make me happy. I share my life, experiences, tips and tutorials in the hope that this community can find a whole lot of awesome together.

11 comments… add one

  • December 10, 2010 Bryna

    Very CUTE! I love its simplicity. :)

  • December 10, 2010 Midwest Elle

    Super cute, super easy, and totally ending up on table behind my couch later today. Would it be alright if I link back to this post when I post photos of the decorations I have up around my home?

    Love it!
    Midwest Elle recently posted… Big Sky Chili RecipeMy Profile

    • December 10, 2010 Brittany

      Sure no problem! Can’t wait t see all your decorations!

  • December 10, 2010 Making It Work Mom

    Super Cute! Now if only I can find the time to do it.

    • December 11, 2010 Brittany

      It seriously took less time to do it than to post it. It was under an hour in total. You can do it!

  • December 11, 2010 Alissa

    This are so cute!!! And, they look like something my toddler could help me make too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • December 15, 2010 Holly W

    um, wow…can you come to my place and make them with my kids? because I know they would love to do that…but I am not too crafty. And though you claim they are super easy…eh, I don’t quite believe it…

    • December 15, 2010 Brittany

      Swear to you. Easy peasy. Literally just folding circles of paper. I pinky swear.

  • October 25, 2011 Lynn

    Thank you for the explanation of how to fold them! You’re right…the BHG instructions were terrible in this respect, and the photo they provided was no help, either. With your instructions, I now have two tiers which are folded the right way. On the second one, I made the first 4 folds in the same direction and then flipped the circle over and made the remaining folds in the opposite direction…instant pleats with no adjusting required!

    • October 25, 2011 Brittany

      Yay! I am so glad it helped! Lots more holiday projects coming this year!


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