Can you believe the festive season is around the corner? How did that happen? I must admit I was caught a little off guard when I realised how little time I had left to start making stuff for this special time of the year. Sure, my dainty cling-wrap Christmas trees are all done, but I still had one more crafty idea I wanted to share, this ornamental cardboard Christmas tree.
It’s super easy to do and it’s a great way to teach kids about different shapes too.
Plus, you can combine various craft techniques to make your tree unique and special.
You’ll find everything you need to make the ornamental Christmas tree in your craft cupboard, garden, or pantry.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make an ornamental cardboard Christmas tree. But, before we get there, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- Sturdy cardboard
- Twine, ribbon, wire, or raffia
- Decorative bits
To decorate the cardboard Christmas trees you can use magazine images, paint, glitter, small ornaments, fabric scraps, clay, or whatever tickles your fancy. I used a pretty black and white napkin, mod Podge, and a glue gun with white glue sticks.
Making an Ornamental Cardboard Christmas Tree
This is one of those “blink and you might miss it” tutorials 😉 Start by sketching a triangle on a piece of cardboard. This will form the tree. Add a rectangular shape for the planter (okay mine looks more like a trapezoid but who cares) and a star shape if you want to get fancy.
Cut the shapes
Cut the shapes out using scissors or a sharp craft knife. Little people may need some help with this part.
Dress both sides of the cardboard shapes up using your favorite craft technique. I started off by painting all the cardboard pieces white.
Once that dried, I glued thin strips of bark to the rectangular trapezoid planter .
For the star, I used homemade texture paste. Do what makes you happy.
My triangle Christmas tree got a paper napkin mod podge treatment. Isn’t that print just gorgeous? For a print like this you have to be very careful not to wrinkle the paper napkin while you apply it. If you struggle with napkin wrinkles, here’s a few tips that will make it easier.
Tips for a wrinkle-free Mod Podged napkins
I always use napkin Podge or matt Mod Podge. Both work equally well in my humble opinion. Start by brushing on a smooth coat of Mod podge and leave it to dry. Make sure to cover the entire surface. Once dry, apply a second coat and leave to dry.
While you wait for the mod Podge to dry, separate the napkin layers. We’ll only be using the top, print layer. If you struggle to pull them apart, put some sticky tape on one corner of an unprinted, white layer and pull gently. It should come off without any problems. Using a moderate heat with no steam, iron the napkin fold lines flat.
Place the napkin face up on the dried Mod Podge surface (in my case the triangle Christmas tree shape). Lay a piece of parchment paper or baking paper over the napkin and iron the napkin onto the surface. Start in the middle and work your ways outwards. The heat of the iron melts the the Mod Podge into the napkin and adheres it to the surface. Lift the parchment paper up and check for any spots that you may have missed and repeat if necessary.
Leave the mod Podge surface to cool down completely. To seal and protect use a soft brush to apply a final coat of mod Podge.
I find that sometimes when you add a top coat of mod Podge, the napkin bubbles a little. To prevent any small wrinkles forming place some cling film over the top and smooth them out. .
You can also spray on two coats of clear lacquer instead of painting on a final coat of mod Podge. It turns out beautifully smooth and wrinkle-free. Wet the overlapping edges and remove the excess by gently pulling it away.
Once the dressing-up bits have dried, you can either jump to the next step ……
….or cut the triangle horizontally into 3 or 4 roughly equal sections.
Glue gun snow
Use a glue gun to drizzle glue along the top of each tree section. Let the hot glue run down the section so it resembles melting snow.
You can build up layers of glue snow for added interest. I used white glue sticks, but the clear ones will work too.
Connect the Christmas tree shapes
To connect all the cardboard shapes, you have a few options:
- glue twine, string, or ribbon onto the back of the pieces (kid-friendly)
- wire them up (big kid-friendly)
- sew the shape together (mmmmm depends on the kid)
I chose option 3 since I’ve already shared this wired boho fish tutorial. To sew the shapes together, find the center point on each shape. Push a sharp needle up through the cardboard to make a hole.
Start at the top and work your way down leaving a gap between each shape. The glue does make it a little tougher to sew, so take your time. Make a knot in the string before adding the next shape.
When you get to the planter bottom, make a knot and trim any excess.
And that’s it. So easy, right.
Hang and enjoy.
I hung my ornamental tree on the wall in my home office, but you can customize and use them in so many different ways:
- String a whole bunch together to make a festive garland,
- Write a meaningful message on the tree and turn it into a keepsake,
- Decorate the cardboard tree with small clay ornaments or beads,
- Cover the cardboard shape in leftover fabric scraps,
- Glue on moss and bark chips for a nature-inspired version,
- Play around with this metal paint technique to create an industrial version
The possibilities are endless. And since cardboard is inexpensive and easy to find (or scavenge), it’s a great way to add a little festive cheer, without breaking the bank.
How would you decorate your cardboard tree? Share in the comments, I’d love to know.
If you like the idea of making an ornamental cardboard Christmas tree, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.