Mother Earth Living

Try This: Projects for the Holidays: Mini Cardboard Tree

This holiday season, create a mini cardboard tree with character.
By Stephanie Nelson
November/December 2009
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These DIY cardboard Christmas trees are fun for the whole family to make.
Photo By Rob Cardillo

Content Tools

Mini Cardboard Tree

Chicken wire
2 sheets of newspaper 
1 or 2 old cardboard boxes depending on size 
1/3 cup of water
Nontoxic paint (we used three different shades of green)
Three medium sized paint brushes
Cut tree branch (about 2 feet tall)
Terra cotta planter
Shredded newspaper

Utility knife
3 bowls or containers to hold the paint and water mixture
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Utility gloves (optional)


1. Make a cone Christmas tree shape out of chicken wire like the newspaper Christmas tree, only 6-10 inches tall rather than 2 feet.

2. Cover the outside of the wire Christmas tree frame with one sheet of newsprint and glue the ends together. You are going to repeat this for the inside of the frame only cover the outside of the newspaper cone with glue. Place inside the metal frame and let it dry. The two sheets of newspaper and metal frame should be sturdy and securely glued together.

3. Set the tree aside and cut the cardboard box(es) so they lay flat. Cut small rectangles and squares that range in size from 1-3 inches tall and 1-5 inches wide. They do not have to be straight lines.

4. Divide 1/3 cup of water between three containers. Mix the paint into the containers. The mixture should be slightly watered down. Adjust the paint to water mixture accordingly. 

5. Paint 1/3 of the cardboard cutouts one shade of green. Continue for the other two colors and the remaining cardboard.

6. Start at the bottom and glue the cardboard shapes to the metal frame until you reach the top.

7. Make sure the tree branch fits snugly at the top of the wire frame. Place and glue the branch to the inside of the wire frame. Make sure it is secure.

8. Place and glue the tree stump inside a terra cotta planter. Fill the planter with shredded newspaper.

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