Introduction: Tubular Tree

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

Trees are very important! How do trees help our world? Can you think of some ways?

Since it's Earth Month, and trees are one of the most important parts of our interdependent web of existence, let's honor the trees in our lives! Do you have a favorite tree? Or maybe just a tree that you think looks pretty cool? Take a walk to your favorite tree if you can, or explore your neighborhood (maintaining social distance!) to find a tree that you really like, and let's honor that tree for Earth Month!


-cardboard tube(s)


-thin cardboard or paper plates



Step 1: Find Your Tree!

My favorite trees grow on Oregon State University's campus near the Memorial Union. I don't know if this is three trees growing together or one tree with three parts, but it's SO BIG! You can climb around on the lower branches, and all the needles make the trees seem like a really big tent inside. I always visit these trees when I walk by them on the campus.

Hunt around on the ground under your tree. Can you find some branches and leaves that have fallen off? Grab a few to take home with you. I made the unfortunate choice of a tree with a lot of sharp, pokey bits on its branches, so it was a little uncomfortable to carry them all the way home. Maybe think ahead and bring a bag!

Step 2: Cut "roots" in Your Tube.

Once you're home, get your supplies together. Grab your tube! A paper towel tube would work best, but I didn't have any empty ones lying around, so I grabbed some toilet paper tubes instead. Cut a few slits in your tube all the way around, about two inches long. It doesn't have to be exact! Tree roots vary in size, so it'll look more natural if they're a little uneven.

Step 3: If You're Using Toilet Paper Tubes, Tape Them Together.

My tree is VERY tall, so I taped three toilet paper tubes together for its trunk. If your tree is shorter, maybe you only need two toilet paper tubes. Or maybe even only one! If you need to tape tubes together, use masking tape if you can, because you can color over masking tape much more easily than clear plastic tape. If you're using a paper towel tube, you can skip this step.

Step 4: Decorate Your Tree Trunk!

My tree's trunk is a light orange-y brown, so I colored it that way. What color is your tree's trunk?

Step 5: Trace Your Tube.

I used paper plates for my tree foliage, but you could also use a thin cardboard box like a cereal box, or some cardstock. Trace your tube onto the bottom of whatever material you're using. This will be a tab so that you can attach your foliage to the trunk.

Step 6: Trace or Sketch and Color Your Foliage.

I took a piece of the pine needles I took home and traced them to make the foliage. You could do that, too! Or you could sketch your leaf shapes by looking at the branches and leaves you took home. Once you have your foliage shape, color it in. The needles are green and brown, so that's how I colored them.

Step 7: Cut Out Your Foliage.

Cut it out and slide it into the tube. Now your tree has leaves! (Or needles, as the case may be.)

Depending on the shape of your tree, maybe you're happy with the way the foliage looks now. But my tree has needles much farther down the trunk, so I wanted to add more!

Step 8: Layer on More Foliage.

Draw and cut out as much foliage as you think your tree needs. You can tape it onto the top foliage to layer it.

Step 9: You Can Even Add Foliage in Front!

This adds a cool 3D effect to your tree. You could do this all the way around the tree, if you want! Just keep taping it to the top piece.

Step 10: Now You Have a Tree!

I put my tiny tree model next to my chalice, along with some of the branches I picked up from around my favorite tree. I'm giving thanks for my favorite tree and all of the other trees that make the world a better place.

Happy Earth Day!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

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