Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Painted Christmas Tree Craft

Logan started this project at the library last week and then finished it this week. This shouldn't be too hard to do in an afternoon so long as you let the paint dry in between the painting and decorating steps. (Just give your child an empty cardboard box to play with. Those always seem to keep my kids occupied...) My favorite part of this craft is the clever and fun painting technique: using an actual limb from an evergreen tree or shrub in place of a paint brush! I also like that Mrs. D. added a small magnet to the back so that we can display the tree on the refrigerator (or the dishwasher or the back door -- we've got options.) It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house!

{Finished Tree by Logan, Age 4}

  • white card stock (or green)
  • scissors
  • fresh evergreen branches
  • green tempera paint
  • container to hold paint (I like Styrofoam trays.)
  • brown construction paper
  • glue stick/glue
  • something to protect work surface (optional -- I like cereal box liners.)
  • yellow construction paper
  • stickers or foam stickers
  • self-adhesive magnet (optional)


  1. Cut a large triangle out of white (or green card stock) to make the tree. Mrs. D. added simple branches by cutting notches out of the sides, which is simple and quick to do.
  2. Cut a trunk from brown construction paper. Adhere the trunk to the base of the tree. (Tip: If doing this project with more then one child, you may want to write names on the back sides of the trees before moving on to the next step.)
  3. Collect some fresh evergreen branches.
  4. (Protect work surface and clothing, if desired.) Pour some green tempera paint into a bowl or onto a plate or Styrofoam tray. Let your child paint the tree using evergreen branches. Once he is done painting, set the tree aside so that paint can dry completely.
  5. Decorate the tree! Cut a star out of yellow construction paper and let your child glue it to the top. Then, let him add stickers, regular or foam, for the ornaments.
  6. To make it magnetic, simply add a self-adhesive magnet to the back of the tree. Your child's creation is now ready to be displayed on any magnetic surface. (Tip: If you don't have magnets, you can tape this just about anywhere. Or you can display it on a clothesline style art display. Ours came from IKEA.)
Other Ideas:
  • You could make wintry trees in place of Christmas trees. Just substitute white glue "snow" in place of the sticker "ornaments."
  • If you don't have stickers, trim the tree with whatever you have at hand: buttons, pom poms, sequins, beads, ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners, rhinestones, feathers, etc.
  • Mrs. D. displayed several plain green trees on the white board to make a winter scene. A few well-placed lines with a black dry erase marker, and it looked like the trees were standing in a snowy meadow -- very simple but pretty for a classroom display!
  • Painting with evergreen branches could also be used to make wreaths. Just use a paper plate for the base and have your child finger paint on some read berries. Add a red or gold bow for hanging.
  • Or skip the tree altogether, and just use the branches for paint brushes for a tactile experience. My little man is not always excited about crafts, but he loves painting in new ways, so he found this one to be very fun.

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