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.

WOW, the new photos are terrific! Thank you so much for taking the time to add those to these terrific instructions. I can hardly wait to get my punches going.
Janice  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 3:39 PM
Fantastic, I loved !
Thanks so much for the tutorial !
Celly Oneill  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 4:51 PM
this is just incredible i love it, you bet i am going to do it for christmas
marycarmen obeso  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 5:17 PM
mnhyrkas  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 6:23 PM
This is my favorite tutorial in this series so far - these trees are way cute!
Thanks so much for this.
Kay  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 7:08 PM
these are so pretty i seen a package of christmas paper at wal mart that will work very nicely to make these trees thank you for sharing the instructions
syhelba  |  Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 7:15 PM
I have been waiting to see how to make these lovely trees. Thanks!
Mary Lou  |  Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 2:29 AM
Jen, these are absolutely beautiful!!!!!! Thanks for alll the things that you do for us here on SCS!!!
Vicki Garrett  |  Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 3:55 AM

Ligia Orsati  |  Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 4:45 AM
I loved !
Thanks so much for the tutorial !
Sheila  |  Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 1:20 PM
Wow!! I will be making these for christmas gifts. Instead of using christmas paper I'm going to use the color theme in their house.

Thanks so much for giving me an idea for someone that has everything and buys what ever she wants or needs.
Debra  |  Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 9:37 AM
Hi Jen:

Love the Trees. I was just wondering what length of dowling you used??

Vicki Garrett  |  Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 5:10 PM
This is my favorite tutorial so far. I have made 2 of these and love them. I just have to figure out what to do for the topper and I can upload.
Jennifer Luttrell  |  Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 7:22 PM
This would be a clever way to give money to someone. Folded dollar bills!
Phyllis  |  Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 7:55 PM
Cool!!! I now know what to make for my mom as a "gift"...we belong to a Stampin' Up club and we drew names to "make" a gift using Stampin' Up products to exchange for our next get together in December...I just got my holiday paper last week and I just need to go to the store to get the items needed to make these darling trees!!! I can't wait!! I know my mom will be very thrilled to have one on her dining table smile Thanks so much for such clear directions and providing pictures as well!
Angela  |  Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:30 AM
I really wish I woul dhave done my tree this way. I used a paper-mache tree, and could not use pins, instead I used glue, and the tree was super tall, it took me quite a long time to finish it. Thanks for the great idea though.
Marie  |  Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 3:26 PM
Just some tips
You need at least 120 pin pack
for the smaller Tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also you need a minimum of 4-5 Designer series papers to complete this smaller tree.
oh yeah and 2 extra hands.
I turned out really Cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shelley  |  Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 10:34 AM
Thanks for the directions for the tree. I saw one last year and tried to make it without directions and it was bad. I will have to try it again.
Dawn jordyns-mom  |  Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 6:11 PM
Is the entire pot full of styrofoam?
Mindy  |  Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:09 AM
I found that floral pins work great to attach the paper to the styrofoam. Cheap at Walmart $0.88 for 150 pc. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial.
mbcards  |  Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 6:56 PM

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