This is a very simple and inexpensive decoration that can be done by almost any age. It can be adapted to almost any grade level for teachers as well. The trees can be decorated or left plain. It takes no tools any only uses books on their way to the recycle bin.
Step 1: What You Will Need
Although you can add all kinds of decorations to your trees, the only thing you really need are old books or magazines. If you are going to do a grouping than choose ones of different heights.
Step 2: Other Tools That Might Be Helpful
If you don't mind using your fingernail to crease the pages than you don't need any other tools. If you don't have long enough fingernails or don't like to use them than something like a butter knife without serrations or a paper folder would be helpful. I got a paper folder at the craft store for about $3. If you are going to make a bunch of trees it would be a good investment.
Little things can be used to decorate the trees if you want. I used little pom-poms and sparkle pipe cleaners. Glitter or sparkle spray paint works also.
Step 3: Get Your Pages Ready
- I like to use a paper back book because there is something in me that just can't tear up a hard back book no matter what it is. I guess my old library teachers were just to strict about how to treat books. Be sure to choose a book that has glue on the backing so the pages will stay together when you divide the pages.
- First tear off the cover. Go ahead--just rip it off.
- Next count out about 75 pages and carefully tear them off.
- You are now ready to start folding your tree.
Step 4: First Fold
There are only 3 folds to making a tree. The first one is to bring the top corner down to meet the edge as seen in the photo. Crease the fold with either your fingernail or tool of your choice.
Step 5: Second Fold
The second is the most important and a little more difficult. Take the edge of the first fold and bring it across to the edge of remaining spine of the book pages you are using. Try to make the top fold as tight as you can because this is the pointed top of the tree. This will get harder and harder as you get more pages.
Step 6: Third Fold
The third fold is the most tricky. There are two ways to do it and it's just a matter of choice which is best for you. The first way is my preferred way because I think it makes the bottom of the tree neater and more finished. In the fold you just take the little point at the bottom that was created by the second fold and fold it back under toward the inside to finish the bottom of the tree. The other was is just to fold it over so it isn't sticking out. This leaves a little tab on the inside which doesn't look as finished as the first way but is easier.
Step 7: Keep Folding
Keep folding and folding and folding. As you fold the leaves will start to pile up and get hard to handle. I like to use a chip clip to keep them together and also it keeps the creases sharper as you go.
You should get to the end just about the time your fingers give out.
Step 8: Admire and Decorate Your Work
Take the clip off and set up your tree.
You can decorate with almost anything. I made garlands with pipe cleaners by bending them back and forth over my finger. The tops are pom-poms from the craft store. Rickrack and lace for garlands. Tiny decorations or tiny pinecones look great too. Spray glitter, although the world is trying to get away from any glitter for the ocean's sake.
Almost any type of book or magazine can be used. Magazines are much more colorful because of the pictures. Once you get started you will want to try all different types of books and magazines. I have used children's books and then hidden a gift card inside. This works for adults also as a fun wrapping for a gift card.