Paper Mache` Tree

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As with any project the more you do something you find easier and or more efficient ways of doing things. The following is an updated version and I feel looks a lot better than the first.


We have our tree located in our reading area. Who could resist sitting under a tree to read?!



Cardboard box or chicken wire

Wrapping paper tubes

An abundance of newspaper




Paint stick / whisk

2 umbrellas (Dollar Tree stores are a great place for these)

Green paper

Scraps of green paper

Hot glue

Plastic bags or floor covering to work on

Optional: Vinyl gloves

Paint (some shade of brown)

Optional: Green paint for tree top

Paper Mache’ Tree

  1. Shape your box or chicken wire into a rough trunk shape
  2. If using chicken wire fashion branches and attach with wire ties

        If using cardboard and wrapping paper tubes cut holes near the top and fit tubes into holes. Seal with hot glue about 1”inch thick and wide.

  1. Prepare paper mache’ paste (flour and water to a consistency of syrup)
  2. Tear newspaper into manageable pieces
  3. Apply 2 layers of paper mache’ & newspaper to form the trunk & branches of tree
  4. Allow to dry for 2-5 days (depending on the thickness and temp. of where your making it)
  5. Roll long strips of newspaper crumpled up to form bark and apply the same way as base.
  6. Allow to dry.
  7. Paint

HINTS: If your tree leans add more newspaper and paper mache’ to opposite side.

Leave tops of branches opened to insert treetop later.

The last two trees my classes have made were free standing, however you may want the extra security of a Christmas tree stand (which can be covered with a tree skirt made from Astro turf.).

Tree Top

2 umbrellas (Dollar Tree Stores is where we purchased ours)

Leaves cut out of construction paper


  1. Depending on how many branches you have you may choose to use more or fewer umbrellas.
  2. Cut out leaves and glue to umbrellas top.
  3. For leaves on the underside of the umbrellas use cut scraps of green (construction) paper and glue onto the underside. 
  4. If handle is too thick to insert into tree, Break off handle (fairly easy to do LOL) and insert into top of branches of tree.

T opics / Questions:
The following are topics and questions to consider during this project.
Before starting-- Talk about the life cycle of trees, the seasons, the parts of the tree { bark, sap, leaves, branches, etc.}, and / or how a tree grows.
Plan out how you will make the tree.
Talk about the materials you will need and use.
During-- Talk about the how the past feels
Have the children describe what they are doing, do they like the way the paste feels? 
Have them talk about the process -- how the tree has changed from begining through the end.
Talk about why each layer needs to dry
Ask them how they want to do each step.
Remember this is their project and you are only helping.
These are only suggestions to get you started.

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