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How to Make a Christmas Tree Craft with Cardboard and Buttons


This is an easy and fun-for-all-ages Christmas tree craft. Use cardboard to create 3D trees and then paint and decorate them any way you’d like!

Cardboard Christmas trees on work table

My neighbor texted me a photo last week of a Christmas tree craft that had seen at a church event and thought that I might like to try with the kids.

It was a 3-D cardboard tree, painted green, and covered in button ornaments.

We gave the simple and festive Christmas craft a go and they turned out great!

Here are the instructions and photos…

Cardboard Christmas Tree with Buttons

A Christmas Tree Craft with Cardboard and Buttons

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  1. Make a template

    First, create your template by drawing a simple Christmas tree shape on your paper or cardstock. Cut it out and either fold or cut it in half along the center line.

  2. Trace the trees

    Next, trace your template onto sturdy, corrugated cardboard. You’ll want one full tree and two half trees for each 3D Christmas tree you make.

    Using a template to make a cardboard Christmas tree

  3. Cut the tree shapes

    Use the utility knife with a fresh, sharp blade to cut out the cardboard tree shapes. (Adults only, of course.)

    Note :: You’ll want to protect your work surface with a cutting mat or another piece of cardboard so you don’t cut your table or floor or whatever.

    Cutting out the Christmas tree shapes from cardboard

  4. Glue the trees together

    Use a hot glue gun to glue the half trees to the center of each side of the full cardboard tree.

    I ran a line of glue down the center of the tree, positioned the half tree along the glue line, then held it in place while I ran a second line of glue along the base of the half tree on either side. (Does that make sense?)

    Gluing the cardboard Christmas trees together

  5. Add paint!

    Paint your new 3D cardboard trees green or any color you desire.

    Painting the cardboard Christmas tree

    Any kind of paint will do; you could use tempera, BioColors, or acrylic.

    Make a cardboard christmas tree

  6. Decorate your tree!

    Once the paint is dry, bring out your buttons…

    I found these cute little jars of colorful buttons at a local vintage shop (The Screen Door) and was planning to give them as gifts but then brought them out early for this Christmas tree craft.

    Jars of Buttons

    Maia and Daphne loved sorting and trading their buttons… As always. They do this with buttons, beads, stickers, shells, rocks, marbles, and any other little treasures.

    Assorted buttons

    Use a hot glue gun to glue your buttons to the cardboard Christmas tree.

    You could probably also use a bottle of white school glue, but might need to work on sections at a time, keeping the buttons relatively flat while the glue dries.

    Gluing buttons on the cardboard Christmas trees

Daphne went for the minimal decoration look and gave her tree to her teacher.

Daphnes Cardboard Christmas Tree

And then she decided that each of the tables in her kindergarten classroom needed a tree, so she asked me for help in making more and painted them in bright colors.

Colorfully painted cardboard Christmas trees

(Sorry for the less-than-stellar photos by the way. Many of them were taken at night or early in the morning in poor light.)

Cardboard Christmas Tree with Buttons

And then we made some more cardboard trees…

3D Cardboard Christmas Trees

…that are now in front of our fireplace surrounded by animal figurines.

And Maia is currently in the process of making another one for a friend…

More Christmas Tree Crafts

More Christmas Crafts for Kids

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How to Make a Christmas Tree Craft with Cardboard and Buttons

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