Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paper Trees

Have any of you ever made paper trees from old books or magazines? It's one of those crafts I remember doing around this time of year as a kid. My brother and I would make them out of my mom's old issues of Reader's Digest magazine. I've been wanting to make them for a few weeks so I trolled my local used book store and grabbed a few books for under $1, grabbed a marker and my craft knife and sat down to make some decorations for the house and write up a quick how-to for anyone who hasn't done this before!

Step 1
Remove the cardboard cover off of the book, getting as much of it off the spine as possible but leaving the glue alone.

Step 2
Now there are two ways to proceed with the next step. One that's safe for wee hands and one that isn't. I'll go over the one that's kid friendly first.

Kid Friendly, Craft Knife Free Option
Have your child fold the pages down to the center of the book to form a tree shape.

Once you've folded a few pages over you can start to get a feel for how your tree will be shaped. If it's too chunky for your liking, fold the page once more in the same direction to create a slimmer tree form.

Once you're done, skip down to step 3. If you're an adult who'd like to make a slightly fancier tree and isn't afraid of a sharp craft knife, this is the way you'll want to proceed in step 2.

Adult Friendly, Sharp and Messy Option
Draw your tree shape on the first page of the book with your marker, grab your craft knife and start to cut along the lines.

This is what your tree will look like about halfway through!

Step 3
Once you've either folded your pages or cut them up it's time to shape your tree.

Gently fold the book around and back on itself to create a rounded tree shape. With old books with well worn binding, this will be simple! If your book is new, you"re going to have to do this by first bending the book to stretch the binding every few pages.

Once your tree is rounded and fluffly, paper clip the end pages together and display it! Feel free to ink, paint, glitter or otherwise decorate your tree.

Once the season is over, remove the paperclip, push it back to it's previous book form and store with your other decorations.

If you try this out and use the cut-out method, please remember to recycle or reuse the paper scraps! also, if you want your tree to have more of a point at the top then mine does, just start your pattern closer to the spine!

Happy mess making. :)


  1. Soooo cute, Danni!! I'll definitely try it with Lucas! :)

    Thank you for sharing! <3

  2. PS: I'm drooling at your header!!!! I'm speechless (that's rare, lol!)

  3. I like the idea, but using a Laurell K. Hamilton book??? Sacrilege! Lol. I'm going to t=give this a try. My sister gave me some books, trying to convert me, and I can put them to a better use.

  4. I love those trees!! We used to make them but not nearly as complex and lovely. I may give it a try though.

  5. Great tutorial. I love this book craft. GK put her stamp of approval and has put it on our to do while they are on winter break list. Thanks it's adorable. The Olde Bagg, Linda

  6. that is so awesome! I've never seen these before, but now I'm going to have to get some old books to cut up for sure!

  7. Guess what I'm going to be doing tomorrow??? =D

    This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. ^-^


  8. This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing - the kids will love this craft.

  9. When I was small, we used to have a Mrs. Santa Claus made out of a Reader's Digest. They used to attach a doll's upper body to the base, which was the paper part, and was her skirt (painted red). The doll's costume was the traditional Mrs. Claus, with white hair and red mop cap. I loved it.

    I've never seen them made into trees exactly like this either! It's really cool.

    Thanks for jogging the nostalgic memories!

  10. I remember doing these from my days in Girl Scouts. :0)

  11. Love this! I had never seen them before but now my creative juices are flowing! Thank you!

  12. Oh I love the idea!:) And thanks a million for the kid friendly version, I will remember this a few years later when the Wee Baby will be old enough for this.

  13. I love this. Only ever made the kid friendly version, love the messy adult version. Think it's HILARIOUS that you used a Laurell K Hamilton book. heeeee.

  14. I completely forgot about these things! A bit late in the season for me but I will have to remember this for next year. Thanks for the reminder!

  15. Amazing Danni! Do you know, I'd never actually seen these before? Must have missed that day at school! We've loads of old phone books and things lying around, I think I may give it a go. Thanks so much! Hope all is well :)
    Roisin x

  16. I love to make paper decorations this time of year and that is a new one to me. Too cute! Thank you for the great tutorial.


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