Paper Trees

by Jenn Balcer

Bust out some holiday paper you've stashed, and create pretty decorations for your mantel or table.


  • 12" x 12" Patterned paper (number of sheets varies depending on size of tree)
  • Styrofoam form (here, two different cones for trees, 4" spheres for topiary, and 3 7/8" disc for inside pot
  • Paper trimmer
  • Quilting pins(Three packages were used for the trees shown here)
  • Adhesive
  • Terracotta pot (Optional. 4" diameter pots were used here)
  • Styrofoam to fit inside pot, if used
  • Wooden dowel (if a trunk is desired)
  • Craft paint and/or pigment ink
  • Moss (optional)
  • Embellishments


  1. Step 1

    If you'd like a potted tree, paint the terracotta pot now and set aside to dry.

  2. Step 2

    If you're creating a topiary, or want a trunk, either paint or apply ink to a dowel. Set aside to dry.

  3. Step 3

    Insert Styrofoam in pot.

    Insert dowel in tree form. A bit of adhesive will keep the form in place.

    Center tree over pot, and insert into Styrofoam.

  4. For the topiary, insert dowel all the way through the Styrofoam sphere for the bottom, making sure to keep dowel centered. Remove sphere.

    Insert dowel part of the way into the Styrofoam sphere for the top. Remove sphere.

    Add some adhesive (hot glue is perfect for this) inside the hole in Styrofoam sphere and replace dowel.

    Insert dowel through sphere for bottom of topiary, and apply more adhesive at the bottom. This will keep the dowel from shifting. Any adhesive will be covered by your paper.

  5. Step 4

    Adhere moss and cover Styrofoam base. A few pins here and there may be helpful.

  6. Step 5

    Prepare patterned paper strips by using paper trimmer.

    For the tall tree, four 12" x 12" double-sided sheets were cut into 4" x 1" strips.

    Instructions for each type of tree are to the left of each close up picture.

  7. Step 6

    Bend a paper strip in half. Using a quilting pin, attach to tree form starting at the bottom, and going all the way around the tree.

  8. Step 7

    Repeat Step 6, starting the next row slightly overlapping the previous one, until the entire tree is covered.

    A single pattern was used for each row, but try alternating patterns within the row for a fun look.

  9. Step 8

    One sheet of 12" x 12" double-sided paper cut into strips 3" x 1/2" was used for the smaller tree.

    Strips were curled on one end with a bone folder before attaching to the tree form.

  10. Step 9

    For the topiary, three sheets of 12" x 12" double-sided paper and large and small flower punches were used.

    Large flowers were punched and then the petals curled with a bone folder.

    A small punched flower and Prima paper flower were layered on top as shown, and then pinned to the sphere. To cover any exposed Styrofoam, pin more tiny flowers in the openings.

  11. Close up view of topiary.

  12. Step 10

    Embellish as desired. Here, a loopy bow is pinned to the top of the tree.

  13. Step 11

    Finished paper trees.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Paper Trees. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

These are so cool... gonna have to take a trip and make a few...
Aimee30  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 8:02 AM
Wow, Jenn...these are fantastic! I think I will go to Hobby Lobby now and make some today!
brownee  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 8:05 AM
Love the trees!! How exactly did you put together the Topiary? I can't tell from the picture. Thanks for the help!
Jenni  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 8:24 AM
Yes, please tell us how you did the topiary. There are no close up pictures....
Angie  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 8:38 AM
What a fantastic idea ~ Thanks for the wonderful tutorial, Jenn!
genescrapper  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 8:40 AM
jenn.. brilliant!
smallpigpig  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 9:07 AM
what a great idea I have seen these doing the rounds on a few galleries and was wondering how to make them - thanks
lindylou50  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:28 AM
I love getting the weekly email from you but these topiary trees are just so clever and stunning to look at in the photos. Thank you for putting them on here
Felix W  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:43 AM
How did you attach the flower punches? These are absolutely fabulous!! What great table centerpieces for SU workshops, as well as every holiday through the year-thank you!
Jana  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:06 AM
I love these...I also want to know how you did the topiary tree. It's beautiful.
Jennifer  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:08 AM
These are sooo pretty! I love how each one is different, and the papers you used are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Rose Ann  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:30 AM
Yikes, the topiary is the one I had questions on, and it's the one that doesn't have photos up close so I can tell what was done! :(
Sharon  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:45 AM
I love this idea. What a wonderful centerpiece for our next workshop.
the topiary would be great for Valentine's Day.
Janice  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:52 AM
Same as other readers, I'd love to know more about the topiary & a close-up pic. Thanks!!
Bee  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:55 AM
Wonderful creations! Would you please show a close up pic of the double ball topiary? Also, after the tutorial on the "your turn", you have a link where one can click to see other trees in a separate gallery--It doesn't work. Says that category does not exist.
Laura  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:10 PM
This is wonderful and beautiful. I can't express how happy I'm for these directions. It has been a must have of mine ever since I saw these trees in a craft catalog. Thank you!
Nancy  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:20 PM
I'm guessing the topiary directions are for another day...
Sharon  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:24 PM
it looks like the topiary was made by pinning the paper bows on from a couple of weeks ago. Was this what was done.
Janeen  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:38 PM
Thanks so much for the new pics, it is more clear now! It's beautiful ♥
Bee  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 1:37 PM
Super project! what size pots and styro pieces?
mnhyrkas  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 2:00 PM

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