Now that I have shared with you the migration of the Christmas tree from Germany to the rest of the world, today I share another tutorial on how to make a DIY cardboard Christmas tree. Even if you’ve already got a beautiful evergreen decorated with glowing Christmas lights, you can make one of these to create some new memories with your family. This tutorial is also for teachers who want to have a simple tree to use year after year in their classrooms, or for those who live in an apartment and want to be spared of lugging an evergreen up three flights of stairs!
(Update December 15th, 2013: If you would like a printed copy of the tutorial with photos, you can check it out at Instructables.com.)
3 large pieces of 40″x48″ cardboard (free at your local Costco)
green craft paint
paint brush/foam brush
T-bar or long straight edge
Step 1. Measure to find the top center of cardboard. Mark a long line from top center to bottom left corner of cardboard. Mark another long line from top center to bottom right corner of cardboard.
Step 2. Design a tree like edging beginning at top center to bottom left corner. Use the marked line as a guideline.
It took a few tries until I found the design I was looking for. Once you are happy with your design, mark your design in pen or black marker.
Step 3. Using an X-ACTO knife, cut your tree design. At this point, only half of your tree design will be complete on one side.
Step 4. Take your half completed cardboard piece and place it on top of your second cardboard piece. Trace your design on one side of the cardboard.
Step 5. Flip your half completed cardboard piece and trace your design on the other side.
Step 6. Cut both sides of second cardboard piece. Your second cardboard piece will be complete.
Step 7. Using your second cardboard piece, trace the other side of your first (half-completed) cardboard piece. Cut away with X-ACTO knife. Now, you have two cardboard pieces completed.
Step 8. You can stop here at this point, if you want a four-sided cardboard tree. But if you want to have a six-sided cardboard tree, then make a third cardboard piece by tracing the cardboard design and cut out design.
Step 9. You will need to make sure you have a line centered on all three cardboard pieces to make center slits through each cardboard piece.
Take a look at the photo below to see what each slit should look like. Make sure that the slits end and begin properly. You will want to make sure the slit of one is long enough to fit both pieces through. Make any adjustments necessary.
Step 10. Optional: You can paint your cardboard pieces or leave it as is. I preferred the natural cardboard color, but our kids preferred a little more color.
(Photo Above: I tried to use some free sample paint, but the color was all wrong in the space. I purchase forest green paint at Michaels and painted both sides of the cardboard cut outs.)
Step 11. Slide pieces together.
Tree A Tree B Tree C
Slide Tree A and B together. Then slide Tree C between the top slots of Tree A/B.
Step 12. Voila! Project Complete!
Optional: Decorate your heart’s desire with homemade ornaments, lights, etc. Just be careful that it doesn’t catch fire.
I’ll admit the tree looked a little dreary without lights, so I purchased our first set of Christmas decorations (store bought) from Target’s lighting sale last week.
Christmas lights really do make a difference. If you try this project out, I would love to see how they turned out on Facebook!
From my hometown to yours,
Cardboard Christmas Tree by Design You Trust
How to Make a Cardboard Christmas Tree by Live Colorful
Recycled Cardboard Christmas Tree on Etsy
World’s Largest Cardboard Christmas Tree in London