I first got some large pieces of cardboard (I am fortunate that my son works at a grocery store so it was free). I drew my trees out free hand on the cardboard with pencil, then, traced my pencil drawing with black marker so it was easier to see. I cut away the big pieces of cardboard with heavy duty scissors. I cut the details out with a small exacto knife. I then cut my bases which were squares the same size as the trunk of the trees. I used the exacto knife to cut a small slit in both trunk pieces. I painted the tree itself with a base coat of a medium green. I then went back after it was dry and painted sweeping strokes of a darker and lighter green. I painted the trunks a base coat of medium brown the stippled on a lighter and darker brown. After everything was dry, I poked small holes with an exacto knife in the trees (trying to balance them evenly across the trees) to the number of lights on the string of lights I used. I used battery operated lights. The battery packs actually hid very well between the stands on the trees. You can spray or paint on a clear coat if you like. I didn't paint the backs of mine because where I place them the backs would not be seen. That's it and they were so simple. I used acrylic paint.