How to make a 3D paper tree

Updated November 21, 2016

The next time your kids complain of boredom or you need to find them a project to dispel the gloom of a rainy day, get them to make a paper tree. It doesn't matter whether you decide to make trees for Christmas decorations or a paper forest to surround a model village, the main thing is to stay busy and have fun. So grab some paper and scissors and get started!

Fold a sheet of heavy letter sized construction paper or card-stock in half so that it measures 12.5 by 20 cm (5 by 8 inches).

Draw the outline of half a tree -- from trunk to tree top -- on one side, with the centre-line of your tree corresponding to the fold in the paper. It can be any sort of tree you like, but an evergreen with low branches wider than top branches will stand up better without toppling.

Keep the paper folded and cut out the tree along the line just drawn. Open the fold to reveal a symmetrical tree.

Use that as a pattern to draw and cut some more tree shapes exactly like the first. Make at least four, but preferably several -- the more you make, the more 3D the tree will be.

Lay all the tree shapes flat on the table, one atop the others in two stacks. You must have the same number in each of the two stacks.

Measure and draw a line from the top of the tree down 10 cm (4 inches) on each paper tree shape in one stack.

Measure and draw a line from the bottom of the tree up 10 cm (4 inches) on each paper tree shape in the other stack.

Cut each tree along the line drawn. If the paper is thick, or you have made many trees, you will need to cut a second line precisely parallel to the first, and as wide as the stack of shapes is tall. Press one stack down slightly to measure -- it should not be more than 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) or you have too many tree shapes. Save extras for other trees.

Assemble the tree by sliding the tree shapes with a bottom slit over those with a top slit. When you have them all stuck together, fan them open and arrange until they are uniformly separated.

Decorate them as desired.


If you are making Christmas trees, use a template to print tree shapes already covered with pretty ornaments, or borrow the idea and paint on or glue on sequins or beads before assembling.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
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