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.

don't use styrofoam...try cardboard
Molly  |  Thu Dec 6, 2007 at 7:51 PM
I just "stumbled" across you website! These trees are just beautiful smile I saw something similar in a catalog recently, but yours are definately nicer!! Great job smile
Homemaker of the 21st Century  |  Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 2:14 PM
Great site and useful content! Could you leave some opinion about my sites?
My site
My site My site
John  |  Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 10:10 PM
Looking for the tutorial for the Origami Tree.
Can you help?

Thank you,
Pat Wafer  |  Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:38 PM
Thanx for tips i eally like this tutorial it help me a lot in making .......

jasmine  |  Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 12:38 AM
I love these trees! How very cool! I might just have to try this technique. I can imagine them in pinks (or blues) and sage greens and whites. Thanks for posting this!
Angie  |  Thu Mar 27, 2008 at 10:32 AM
This is a wonderful and detailed tutorial. Thank you for sharing.
Cinthia  |  Tue May 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM
love this!
Nettie  |  Sat Sep 6, 2008 at 8:08 AM
This are totally awesome!!! Love them!!
I'm thinking I need to make some!!
Thanks so much for sharing!!
Scrapmilly  |  Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 5:53 PM
These trees are so cute and festive. How do you download pictures. I have been wanting to put some pictures of some of my scrapbookpages on these sites but I am having trouble downloading them. How can you get a picture of your 12 x 12 layout into your camera and print it as a 4 x 6 photo? Is it possible? I see peoples layouts on line all the time and can't figure out how to do it. If you can help I would appreciate it.


Jean Saporito  |  Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 2:04 PM
This is awesome I think I will get the stuff this weekend and try this out. Great tutorial.
Bev Hochstetler  |  Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 5:59 AM
This is pretty cool I am definatly going to make some as gifts for friends and family.Thanks for sharing the ideas.I this site
Teri Tapay  |  Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 5:10 PM
I loved.

wal  |  Sat Dec 6, 2008 at 4:14 PM
These are really adorable! GREAT JOB.
Cyndi  |  Sat Mar 7, 2009 at 3:02 PM
These tree are just lovely ,I will be trying to make one . Thanks so much.
Glenis lLowther  |  Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 11:23 PM
These are sooo clever and very beautifully done:) One of my very favorite tutorials!!
Carole  |  Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 9:49 PM
Hi, I have been looking for my magazine/book that I have these exact pictures and directions. I can't seem to find it...I know it was in a magazine back in 2007. By chance do you know the name and exact issue of it, if its where you received your information from. It was the exact pictures. I know its a silly request but would save my sanity.
Debbie Currie  |  Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 8:16 PM
Been looking for an idea of something to create with grandchildren (8 and 10). This will be the ideal project for us to create together. Thanks for sharing ... can't wait to let them know what we will be doing!
Pat Bartsch  |  Wed Dec 2, 2015 at 9:39 AM

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