Table-Top Christmas Trees

table top Christmas tree - out of newspaper and gift wrap

Table-top Christmas trees, a lovely yet simple craft, are easy enough for kids, and attractive enough for adults, too. So often a big tree is just not in order, but smaller table-top trees are hard to find. I saw some in an advertising flyer and realized that they were simple enough to be made at home.

If you do research online about the origin of Christmas trees, you will be surprised to find that there are many theories, and they cannot all be true. Some say pagans (non-Christians) started it and then Christians just adopted them. Others say that Martin Luther in Germany, who contributed a lot to the start of Protestantism, began it for the benefit of his children and others. But there are many others.

So I suggest that we not worry about the origin so much as learn to see a Christmas tree as an object lesson of some good Bible truth. Join me in brainstorming for things that a Christmas tree of any size is an illustration of, or a parable to remind us of something important:

  • a true, living evergreen tree reminds us of eternal life
  • a tree points upward to God in Heaven, reminding us that is Who we should think about
  • a tree becomes a central point around which the celebrations take place - so in a sense Jesus is represented by the tree as our focal point (although many people are more focused on the gifts they will receive themselves, aren't they?)

With these things in mind, and in hopes of using our table-top Christmas tree to teach others about our precious Lord Jesus, we have a craft here to make yourself. There are several ways to use this simple craft idea. If you need to use a glue gun, then you should have an adult helping you, so that you don't burn your fingers.

It's all just a paper cone. You can make it out of newspaper or ad flyers that are going to the recycle bin otherwise, or, out of fancy wallpaper (as our instructions show), or out of any stiff card-stock quality paper. You can make it any size. It all depends on the size of the paper you start with.

Newspaper Table-Top Christmas Tree

tape or glue down the seam

Step 1: If you use newspaper, use several layers to make it stiff and firm, so it will stand up well. If you want a taller tree find the biggest pieces or flyer you can.

roll up some newspaper in a cone shape

Step 2: Roll the newspaper layers into a cone shape, and tape or glue down neatly. (Further down, you will see another example with heavier paper; it is better to use a glue gun, but it is not necessary here).

trim off the base so it is a neat circle and can stand well-balanced

Step 3: With a scissor, trim the bottom in a neat circle so that the sides are the same length from all sides up to the point of the cone. If you are not able to 'see' about where to cut, you can take a ruler and mark the same distance from the point to the shortest side of the bottom of the cone.

check the balance of the cone

Set the cone on the table and step back to look and decide if it is tilting too much to one side. If it is, pick it up and trim the bottom edges so that it will stand more straight up with the point at the center top.

cover with Christmas gift wrapping paper

Step 4: Now find some gift wrapping paper. It need not be brand new. If you have saved the best pieces from last Christmas, you can use a piece from there, as long as it is big enough to fully cover your cone. You can glue or tape the seam shut the same as you did with the newspaper layers, but try to hide the tape. Bend the wrapping paper around the bottom and tuck the extra paper inside. Now you can glue or tape that down, too.

glue on your trims

Step 5: Time to decorate! Just remember that if your paper has a fancy design, don't over-do the decorations and glitter you put on, as that spoils the beauty of your tree. Simplicity is beauty in this craft. However, a sparkling star at the top is a good idea. If you can't afford to go to a dollar store to buy some, just cut a star out of paper and wrap some tin foil from the kitchen over it.

Fancy Wallpaper Table-Top Christmas Tree

examples of fancy trees from wallpaper

Are you ready to try a fancier version of this craft? My helper and I did some out of pages from my wallpaper sample books. (Those make a great resource for crafts, and you can sometimes get the older sample books free at a wallpaper store if you ask nicely).

select a piece of wallpaper that will look good

Step 1: Find a page that you think will look good as a table-top Christmas tree. Remember that the more ornate or decorated the paper looks, the less trim you will need to attach to this table-top Christmas tree.

draw lines for a triangular piece on the back

Step 2: Draw lines for your triangular piece on the back of the wallpaper. (Note: Sometimes, if you cut the biggest one from the middle of the top of the paper to the two bottom corners, you will be able to get two smaller trees out of the pieces you cut off).

By the way, you don't have to cut a perfect point at the top. It will role into a cone better if it isn't a tiny point. Allow maybe an inch.

now just cut out your triangular shape

Step 3: Now just cut out your triangular shape.

glue the overlap just under the seam

Step 4: Roll your triangle into a cone so that it overlaps at the top to form a peak. No, it doesn't matter if there's a hole at the top. We'll hide it later. Try to get the overlap to be just enough at the bottom, so that the cone will be as wide as possible there. Since this is fairly stiff paper, it will not hold with a regular gluestick or even white glue or tape, so you will need to use a glue gun.

If you have trouble holding the seam in place and gluing at the same time, you will need a helper, preferrably an adult to use the hot glue gun.

pressing the hot glued seam

Step 5: Quick, while the glue is still hot, reach into the cone with one hand, and press up on the seam so the glue holds well. Use your other hand to press down on it. There! Almost done.

trim the base after the glue is done

Step 6: Now, after the gluing is done, cut and trim the base to a nice even circle so that when you stand the cone on a table it will look well-balanced, not leaning to one side or the other, or wobbling on an uneven base.

If you are a perfectionist, you may want to measure the distance from the top of the cone to the shortest side on the bottom, and then mark that same distance on all four sides or so. Then cut from mark to mark.

Step 7: How much decorating you do depends on your taste, that is, what you think looks lovely, and on the resources you have. I felt that these trees needed a nice star at the top, and maybe just a bit of extra sparkle or trim. With heavier trim, you will need a glue gun, but some of the light-weight ones - especially if gluing to gift wrap paper rather than flocked and embossed wallpaper, are fine with a gluestick or white glue from a bottle.

Our Example Table-Top Christmas Trees

here are 4 examples from our craft batch

Here are four from our craft batch. That's right, when you have made one you want to make another and another! We ended up with 8 or 9, and then in the next session it got to be 16 tabletop Christmas trees.

blue tree and gold tree

In this case, I cut off the silvery loops from a used bow, and glued them at intervals around the tree. Later we ended up gluing some tiny blue wreaths on the cut ends of the loops with blue glitter glue.

The gold one looked good with just a sparkling red star.

flocked gold trees

Here we used flocked gold paper. That is, the pattern had places where there was a velvety feel to the paper. They didn't really need extra trim besides the star, but, oh, I decided to glue three rounds of a red elastic ribbon around it. I also see now that the little gold angels glued at the top of the two smaller trees are not scaled right. They should have a bigger star, too. But this set is all cut from one piece. (A Mama and two cub trees?)

green flocked and embossed tree

This green one was also out of flocked and embossed wallpaper and got a thin red elastic thread loosely wrapped around three times and glued into the seam at the back. Remember to set your tree so that your seam is always at the back, out of sight.

Christmas Crafts:
Christmas Star Wall Decor O Christmas Tree Wall Decor
Nativity figures O Table Top Christmas Trees

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