Introduction: Cardboard Christmas Tree

If you're looking for a Christmas tree that's just a little greener, look no further. The Cardboard Christmas tree will cover your eco-holiday needs on a next to nothing budget. And it collapses flat for storage! Sounds good right?

Step 1: Materials

For this project you will need:
Cardboard - enough to make four tree stencils out of solid pieces, plus a little extra
Paper and pencil/ pen - or something to design your project
Straight edge or framing square
Box cutter or x-acto knife
Flour and water to make wheatpaste, or other glue
Brush for spreading glue (not pictured)
Binder clips (not pictured)
A helper is always handy

Step 2: Design and Transfer

The first step to this project will be to design your tree. I'm a fan of the old-fashioned pencil and paper, but you can do this however you please. After you have your design, figure out your proportions and transfer it onto cardboard. If your design is angular like mine, this is where a framing square will come in very handy. If you want to draw yopur tree freehand, skip the design step and hop straight to the cardboard. I have no problem with that.  (:

Step 3: Cut, Cut, Cut

Once your design is on one piece of cardboard, it's time to cut it out. I recommend using your scissors as much as you can before starting with the razor and straight edge. When you have one stencil cut out, trace it onto another piece of cardboard and continue cutting. You will need four stencils in total.  When tracing your stencils, be sure to line them up so that you will be able to glue two sets of two stencils together with the right side of the cardboard facing out.

Step 4: Mix Wheatpaste

If you are using another glue, skip this step. If you are mixing wheatpaste, please refer to this instructable, which details the process very well:

Step 5: Glue Trees Together

Using your brush, liberally apply wheatpaste (or other glue) to both sides of the trees you will be gluing together. You will be making two components, each being two layers thick. Press the glued cardboard together, and cover it with something heavy and flat. I used the middle shelf of my coffee table, stacked with coffee table books and a cat. Leave to dry overnight.

Step 6: Slice Trees

After your tree components are dry, carefully measure halfway up one component, and halfway down the other. Cut a slit the width of your cardboard so that one component will be able to slide into the other, forming an "x" shape when viewed from above.

Step 7: Brace

Slide the components together, and you will have a very wobbly cardboard tree. There are several ways you could brace the tree, and several materials you could use. For my tree, I wanted to stick with as much paper as possible, and I wanted to have a tree that could be stored flat, so I opted to brace with cardboard and a few binder clips. To do this, cut four right triangles out of your cardboard scrap, with the square edges being about the length of the tree's base. Then, cut a square out of the point of the triangles (refer to photos). Score and fold the edges up, so that the triangle will sit on the floor (or table) and the edges on the brace will sit flush with the tree. Using binder clips, attach the triangular braces to the base of the tree as pictured. You can also brace the trunk of the tree by clipping a strip of cardboard to hold things together. After my tree was braced, I pulled the pins out of the binder clips for a sleeker look.

Step 8: Decorate and Display

Enjoy your beautiful, hand-crafted tree. I've decorated mine with lights, glass ornaments, and a hand-made paper star.  If you have questions, let me know. Otherwise, cross your fingers for my chance at the homemade holidays contest! And most importantly, Happy Holidays!

Homemade Holidays Contest

Participated in the
Homemade Holidays Contest