At one time I had 2 criteria for making things: 1. It must be useful and 2. It must be cute. Well now that I have a very smart, very cool kid, “useful” has a whole new meaning. Last week what I needed, and I mean NEEDED, was trees. Of the small sort. Diorama sized. I’ve tried and failed at making great trees on several occasions, but this time I really meant business. So I came up with a pretty hearty, long lasting solution for anyone out there who just must have trees for their diorama or fairy cottage or toddler small world play. I did this tutorial during nap time, so my blurry, discolored, step by step pictures are missing a step or two, but hopefully the directions are pretty straight forward and you’ll figure out what to do. These trees stand up straight, let me tell you. They’re super versatile and inexpensive to make. And guess what. My little person loves them!
– Fake foliage (the smaller the leaves the better)
– Cardboard (got mine from a diaper box)
– Round wooden wheels (small tree cookies with holes drilled into them would also work really well).
– Green, brown, or sand-colored felt, depending on your “scene”
– A glue gun.
– Wire snippers. They will make your life easier. Get some at the dollar store if you don’t have any.
Cut your cardboard into about 5″ squares. Hot glue your wooden disks onto the center of the cardboard, preferably on the side that has the picture/words on it. Do not cut your felt yet.
Make hot glue strands in a radiating pattern from the center out, and make sure to get glue on the top of the disk. Do about half of the cardboard square at a time. Place the felt over the cardboard, and use both hands to apply it good and wrinkly. This is what will make the tree’s roots. I promise that it makes for a much more natural looking set up in the end. Do the other half.
Turn the cardboard over and cut the felt in an organic pattern, well away from the edge of the cardboard. (I tried a few trees where I actually cut the cardboard in a wavy form and it was more trouble than it was worth, plus it made the trees a bit more wobbly).
Using an awl, or exact, or sharp scissors, poke a hole in the top of the wood disk. Snip off a tree sized bunch of leaves from your fake foliage. Stick the tip of the hot glue un into the hole and fill about half way. Insert the foliage into the disk and hold upright until the glue sets. Voila! That’s it. You just made a tree! There are so many ways to customize this.