Dec 6, 2013

DIY Vintage Christmas Trees

This project started out as a Christmas gift for my daughters' piano teacher, but I loved these little trees so much that I made a variety of sizes and variations for the Christmas village on top of our piano. All of the supplies were either re-purposed, free or on-hand from a previous craft project. Right ON!
I acquired the old music book at a local antique store in a barter for an antique laundry ringer. The pages were super dark and fairly brittle, which limited any folding/rolling/shaping of the paper. I made two basic designs: a torn tree and a curly tree. Both are super easy to make, but the curly tree is a little more time-consuming.

empty boxes (cereal, pasta, or any lightweight cardboard)
an old book (the darker the pages, the better)
Modge Podge (I prefer the matte finish)
masking tape
a paint brush
scissors/pinking shears/utility shears (maybe)
Popsicle sticks
hot glue gun & glue sticks 
ribbon, hemp string, glitter (optional)

Take apart the box at its seams & cut off the flaps on all four sides. With the printed portion of the box ending up on the inside, roll the box into a cone shape. Secure the seam with masking tape inside and out.  Trim the bottom of the cone so it sits flat on the table. You can measure and mark, but I just free-handed it.
For the torn tree, simply rip pages of the book into irregular pieces of varying sizes. Paint a thin layer of Modge Podge on the cardboard cone and stick a piece of the torn paper to the cone. Paint the top of the paper with a little Modge Podge. Repeat the process, overlapping the pieces of paper until the entire cone is covered. 
Star Tree Topper
To make the star, I downloaded a star template that I liked. I traced it onto a page of the vintage paper folded in half and cut out two stars simultaneously. 
I cut a small strip of wood off my Popsicle stick with utility shears, then  I painted the top of both stars with Modge Podge. I  placed the Popsicle  stick on top of one of the stars, then stuck the second star, wet side down, on top of the first star. When the star was dry, I lightly brushed the outside of the star with Modge Podge and sprinkled a tiny bit of glitter on it.

I placed a tiny dot of hot glue onto the Popsicle stick and placed it into the top of the cone. I don't have a picture of the tree with this star on top because it wasn't my fav, but it's an option you may prefer to a ribbon topper. 
For the curly Christmas tree, I painted Modge Podge on the paper and laid it over a rolling pin for two reasons: first, to give the ancient papyrus some structural integrity lest it crumble and second, to hold the slightly curled shape. 
When the Modge Podge was dry, I cut the paper into strips of equal size. This would have been a good time to trim one end with pinking shears for a cool-looking edge, but I went the labor-intensive route because it didn't occur to me until after the tree was assembled that a little texture would be nice. 
Beginning along the bottom edge of the cardboard cone, paint a section with Modge Podge. Begin applying the paper strips side-by-side. Complete one row all the way around the tree before moving on to the next level up the cone. 
When dry, I trimmed the ends of the strips.
I hemmed and hawed about whether to finish the bottom edges of the trees, ultimately deciding that I preferred  them unfinished. I did hot glue hemp string to the bottom edge of one tree, showen below.
It works near the barn in my Christmas village.


  1. Sew Savvy Quilts12/6/13, 10:47 AM

    Especially love the curly version. Maybe I'll find a spot for my Christmas village this your blog Kathy!

  2. Wow Kathy this is fantastic! And I bet you could theme each tree according to the book pages you use. I was thinking a children's book. Or heavier Christmas paper in different design patters. I must try this!

  3. I love these! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Omg thats amazing :)

  5. Deb Brauneller Berning12/6/13, 11:27 AM

    Very cute trees and nice gifts to keep in mind for next year. Thanks for sharing.

  6. DearCreatives12/6/13, 11:48 AM

    So pretty! I might have to try this I think we have some old sheet music around. Happy holidays! Drop by & share your project if you like @DearCreatives Theresa

  7. I love this idea!!! Beautiful !!! Gotta give this a whirl !! Now, where to find an old music book :)

  8. TheChickenChick12/6/13, 8:11 PM

    Thank you Theresa, I will!

  9. TheChickenChick12/6/13, 8:13 PM

    Thank you Sandy! If you Google "vintage sheet music," you should be able to find some you can download and print!

  10. TheChickenChick12/7/13, 1:59 AM

    Thank you Kimmy. They were fun to make. :)

  11. TheChickenChick12/7/13, 1:59 AM

    Thanks Sandra. My pleasure. :)

  12. TheChickenChick12/7/13, 2:00 AM

    Thank you. ♥

  13. TheChickenChick12/7/13, 2:00 AM

    The possibilities are endless! :)

  14. Yes please! I love the handbag for my wardrobe

  15. Love both of these!

  16. Beverly Forrester12/9/13, 7:42 PM

    Love these trees. So cute!

  17. Debi Bolocofsky12/10/13, 8:07 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party. Have a great week.

    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  18. Bonnie Brewer12/12/13, 12:37 PM

    These paper Christmas trees are so pretty and look really easy to
    make! Thanks for sharing this great project at The Pin Junkie. It was
    featured in this week’s Christmas craft roundup.
    I hope you’ll stop by to grab a featured button and share your best
    Christmas recipes at tonight’s party for another chance to be featured!
    Wishing you very happy holidays!

  19. TheChickenChick12/12/13, 8:22 PM

    Thanks for the feature!

  20. Thanks, Kathy, for the inspiration. Best wishes to you and your chickens for a wonderful holiday. Linda

  21. I love these! They are so cute. Pinning! Don't think I can get these made this year. Making my granddaughter a doll bed. But next year I will have some of these cute vintage Christmas trees. Thank you for sharing!

    Linda @ Mixed Kreations

  22. TheChickenChick12/17/13, 12:04 AM

    Thank you Linda!

  23. Awesome! I love these trees! I'll be on the look-out for some old music sheets this year so I can make these next year. :-)
    Christmas blessings!
    Kim @ Curtain Queen Creates

  24. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint12/4/14, 9:15 AM

    I have an old music book I've been using at decor, I need to try this. Thanks for linking up to Project Pin it. I will be pinning this to the Project Pin it board on Pinterest.


  25. Molli Lomsdalen Allen12/14/14, 5:22 PM

    Great craft!! Love the rustic feel of it!