Appalachia Christmas Holidays in Appalachia

Paper Christmas Trees

Paper Christmas Trees

I enjoyed all the things Chitter and I made during our day of Christmas crafting-but my favorite was the paper Christmas trees we made.

I love working with paper-and I love working with things I already have on hand. Over the years I’ve seen several variations of this particular tree-most all of them suggested using a wooden dowel. I found old pencils-wooden skewers-and even sturdy sticks work just as well.

So you need:

  • a piece of cardboard cut into a square-close to the size you want the circumference of the bottom of your tree to be
  • paper-various thicknesses and colors make for a more interesting tree but use whatever you have-even old magazines and newspapers work well
  • a pencil, dowel, or other item that would work for the tree structure
  • hot glue
  • a small tree topper-could be a star made out of paper or tinfoil-a bead-a pine cone-or any other thing you come up with

How to make paper christmas trees

First thing-glue your pencil/dowel to the square piece of cardboard. I squeeze out a pretty good amount of hot glue and then just hold the piece of wood upright till it dries enough to stay upright.

Easy paper christmas trees

Next cut your paper into circular shapes. You need at least 3 different sizes-think of the shape of a Christmas tree. Large, medium, and small. I used pinking shears-but I think regular scissors work great too.

Paper christmas tree

Then-just start layering the papers by forcing them over the pencil/dowel or whatever you choose to use.

This type of tree is supposed to have that vintage homemade look-so don’t worry if one circle is lopsided or off center. Continuing layering till you reach the top-I had to stop and cut a few more circles on the way up.

Paper tree topper

Once you’ve reached the top-find something to top it off with-I’ve found the junk drawer is a perfect place to find a suitable tree topper. For this one I used part of an old plastic flower and a star that had popped off something or other.

Glittery paper christmas trees

You can leave the tree as is-or you can dab glue on the edges of the circles and sprinkle with glitter for a sparkly look. Am I the only person who believes glitter reproduces?

Paper christmas tree directions

You can also decorate the edges of the cardboard-with presents or other trinkets. I found the little birdy and decided he looked especially cute on this one.

Paper angel for christmas

As I was looking for a topper for one of the trees, I came across a small head-I popped it onto one of the trees-added arms and wings-and I had an Angel.

I like using things I have around the house-like scrap paper, cardboard, and pencils that no one will use because the eraser is gone. If you’re into being green-this is a great project. I’m mostly into being cheap.

The John C. Campbell Folk School used tons of paper to decorate for Christmas this year. They used old catalogs to make some amazingly pretty things. Go here to see the photos-and you can download their free pdf to make your own Christmas chicken.



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  • Reply
    Sandra Henderson
    December 22, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    I found this from a link with todays post pictures below. Your blog is a plethora of information! Thank you for all you do
    Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Love these!
    And that angel is just right up your alley.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    December 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    These are beautiful.. I like the angel one..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Tipper-tell Miss Cindy that I don’t have a sample of my “Druids in Brasstown” book ready yet but if she is really really good, she might get a sample of my apple butter.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Ed must be hungry…everything he sees reminds him of food.:)
    I love the angel. What a clever idea!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    You and your family are so talented. This tree idea looks like it was really fun and I can tell by the way you wrote about it, you found it rewarding. Thanks for sharing! I might try this over the weekend as my running around has died down.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    No B. I don’t remember them-tell us how they were made when you have time : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    and Cindy…Unless you inspect the glitter very closely…do not assume that all glitter is from the bottle or the packet…It is occasionally left by the faeries…Note the “sparkly in all the seasons” when tromping through the woods, in early morning or late evening…All the human made glitter confuses the fey mineset to a point that they
    sometimes will get trapped in the house…They are “nosy little sprites” and forget where they came in, so all in a “flutter” to find their way back out, they drop some of their glitter…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Very nice, Tipper. Of course, everyone knows that glitter reproduces. Use a little and wind up with a lot…..everywhere.
    I love your willingness to use what you have. It makes it even more special.
    I can’t wait to see them tomorrow!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    What charming trees, and how clever of you to expand to angels!I love Christmas decorations with an old-timey look.
    Thank you for sharing, this would be a great project to do with my grandbaby! Maybe next year, as I’ll be lucky to get away from my oven before Christmas eve…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 18, 2012 at 11:43 am

    How about fried tortillas decorated with salsa and sour cream? Add some chives for greenery and grate on some hot pepper cheese. You could spiff up the edges with your pinking shears and make them progressively smaller to create the tree shape. Can you tell I’m hongery this morning?

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    December 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

    i love all the trees tipper.. and just the time sharing with the girls is precious.. to me the best things are home made.. i loved all the ornaments that were made at the school using the old magazines.. such talented people, and thrifty too 🙂
    have a wonderful holiday and big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Can you do that with pancakes? Use fresh strawberries for ornaments and whipped cream to look like snow. Or alternate pancakes with sausage patties or bacon strips and drizzle with red eye gravy.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I love the angel…the tree as well, but the angel is my favorite..
    Do you remember when folks made angels and trees out of folded Readers Digest magazine and painted them silver, gold or green…You are probably too young, it is an olden day
    Thanks Tipper, great post!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Unrelated to this post, I stumbled across this in the internet:
    “As a Russian Orthodox monastery which observes the Julian, or “old”, calendar, we were surprised to learn about Appalachian “Old Christmas”, which is a most solemn and reverent time for families living in the mountains. The initial change-over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar by the British Empire and the American colonies in 1752 caused a difference of eleven days. Thus, the date of “new” Christmas on December 25th was eleven days ahead of “old” Christmas, which fell (at that time) on January 5th. Some Protestants refused to honor the new calendar because it was decreed by the Pope, so their celebration of Christmas remained on the Julian calendar – which now falls on January 7. In the Appalachian Mountains, the celebration of Old Christmas remained until about World War I. Though they might also observe ‘new’ Christmas on December 25th, the festivities were very different. December 25th was marked with revelry and parties and visiting, but January 6th was primarily a reverent family observance.”
    (I am not the monk) You know anything a new and old Christmas in Appalachia?

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Love your trees! I love to work with paper too. I especially love the brown paper like grocery bags are made of. I made my sister a set of angels using the brown paper and cutting out the pattern and using wonder bond to fuse fabric to them. They look so country and homey on the tree. Have you ever tried the brown paper crafts? I know that you would love it.

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    December 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Your tree is beautiful. Homemade decorations are the best!!!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 18, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Neat, Tipper! I especially like the angel.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Thanks! I love these trees and especially the angel. Once I hunt up my supplies, the grands and I will be making our very own trees.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    December 18, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I think this is a very good idea! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 18, 2012 at 6:48 am

    What a great idea for table centerpieces, just the right height and so Christmas

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