Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Folded Paper Christmas Trees

I love these little trees so much. They're not super hard to make, once you get the hang of it, and the decorating part is exceptionally fun. I even made one for the library's pet fish, Dewey, so he could have a festive holiday season.

When I did this craft with teens, I had them follow along with me while I made one; with kids (even older kids), I made them in advance, up to the part where I cut off the bottom, and let them do the rest themselves.

What You Need:

  • Paper, but into squares - any kind, but origami paper is very festive
  • Scissors
  • Sequins, stickers, glitter, and other decorating accouterments 
  • Patience

What To Do:

1. Make sure your paper is cut into squares. They don't have to be perfect, but a rectangle won't work for this. 
2. Choose which side of the paper is the outside. Fold your square in half, and then in half again, with the outside showing. You will now have 4 smaller squares.
3. Unfold your paper and fold it in half diagonally, just once.
4. Unfold your paper and flip it upside down. Fold the other diagonal, so that it's facing away from all the other folds you made (with the inside of the paper showing). 

5. Unfold your paper. The fold you made in the opposite direction will want to push into the center - let it! Your paper should flatten into a square with the sides pushed in, as in the photo. 
6. Lay your paper flat on the table, looking like a diamond with the open end toward you. Then, take one of the corners and bring it into the middle, so what was the top edge is now on the center line.
7. Repeat with the other side.
8. Flip over and repeat with both the other corners.

9. THIS IS THE HARD PART. Unfold one of your new folds and make it into a little pouch. Take the folded edge there, and press it into the center line. This is called "inverting the fold," and it's the most difficult part to explain to someone. Instead of one large flap, you will have two smaller ones after this step. 

10. Repeat with the other three folds. You should now have 8 flaps. (When pre-folding the trees, this is the spot where I generally stop to let the kids finish the project.)
11. Cut the short part of the kite off. Now you'll have a tall triangle.
12. You'll see in the photo here that I've made 3 short lines parallel to the bottom of the triangle. Cut along these lines, being sure not to go all the way to the center of the tree. (You don't have to draw the lines, but I found it helpful for the kids to see what I was doing.

13. On the right side only, from each cut mark, fold the paper down into a little triangle. This makes the points on the tree branches. Flip the "page" over to the right, and fold down the cut marks for all pages.
14. When you get to the last page, turn the entire tree over and fold these sides down on the right, as well. By doing it this way, the entire tree has folds only on one side of the branches, and looks nicely symmetrical. 

15. Now your tree is complete! It's the perfect time to pull out the decorations and spangle it up with sequins, glitter, a star for the top, maybe some presents for the base. Enjoy! 
Repeat until you have an entire forest.
I hope this tutorial makes sense to you; please let me know if it doesn't, and I will try to clarify. 

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