Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tutorial: Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Trees in July

There's a heat wave outside in case you hadn't melted yet.

And it's the middle of July.

Which can only mean one thing...

It's time for some cool Christmas-in-July craftiness! I'm thinkin' cold and winter and snow and glacial winds blowing through none other than evergreen Christmas trees. See what I mean? Okay then. Let's craft our boiling heads off.

Tutorial: Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Trees

You will need:

- 6 TP rolls
- acrylic paint in many colours  (I used red, aqua, and 4 shades of green)
- gesso (or white acrylic paint)
- an old picture frame [the opening of my little frame measures 4"x 6" (10cm x 15cm)]
- paper
- pencil
- paintbrush
- ruler
- glue (white/PVA)
- clothespins

Start by coating the 6 TP rolls with a layer of gesso. Allow it to dry nicely. Now paint each of your rolls in a different colour. Choose any colours you'd like. These are your Christmas trees after all! Allow the paint to dry thoroughly. Don't worry. In this heat, it won't take but a minute.

Now flatten the TP rolls and cut each in half lengthwise.

In the meantime, give your picture frame a light sanding, remove any dust, and then freshen it up with a few coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry.

Measure the height of the opening. Try to be as exact as possible. Now transfer that measurement to each half-TP roll. Trim the half-TP rolls along that measurement on the short side.

Check each half to make sure it fits nicely within your frame.

You will now divide your 12 half-TP rolls into 3 groups of 4. Divide your colours so that there will be some contrast in each group.

Start with the 1st group of 4 half-TP rolls. They will be cut according to the following diagram. The first (bottom) layer is left intact. The 2nd layer is cut on the right side only. The 3rd and 4th layers are cut on both sides.

Here's how you create the trees:

Make a small Christmas tree template as shown. Take a sheet of paper. Fold it in half. Draw out half a Christmas tree on the fold. The half Christmas tree should measure about 3-1/2 inches (9cm) tall by 1-1/4 inches (3cm) wide (at the bottom bough). Cut out the tree shape. Open up your template and transfer one half of the tree shape to either one OR both long edges of a half-TP roll. Cut out the tree shape(s) from the half-TP roll.

Note: When you cut your upper layer Christmas trees, use the same template but make your cuts a little deeper with each layer.

Apply glue to the cut shapes as shown below. Layer them one on top of the other with the uncut half-TP roll on the bottom and the others on top in the order shown below from left to right.

Clamp the layers together with clothespins. Allow the glue to dry.

Repeat the cutting and layering for the remaining 2 groups of 4 half-TP rolls. The following photo shows the component parts of each section in terms of colour and cuts.

Place all three completed sections in your frame. I didn't glue them into the frame. I simply placed them in there. They are held in the frame under their own compression.

There you are then... Sweet TP roll Christmas trees with a little three dimensional appeal, eh?

Are you feeling a teensy bit cooler now? Maybe a little? Hope so.

I wish you a fine weekend. And may the gentle breezes blow your way.


This post linked to Made by You Monday!


  1. How fun..this is so cool..thanks for sharing another idea with TP roll tubes :)

  2. What fun! I don’t need to cool down, the weather is dreary here, cold and rainy, so it almost feels like Christmas!

  3. a lovely project Michele! I especially like the 3D effect!

  4. Amazing effect and detailing looks so good. Thanks for sharing your tutorial with us. Hugs Mrs A.

  5. Love everything about this project!!! even the breeze thought!!!
    xxx Alessandra

  6. How do you come up with such fabulous ideas? You are a genius.

  7. Oh, neato!!! Charming and original, I love the look of this, esp the mix of Christmassy and non-Christmassy colors!

  8. Super !!! encore une trés bonne idée !!!

  9. I think the reason why I started following you Michele was because of some amazing Christmas ornaments you made out of toilet paper rolls. Once again, you've made toilet paper rolls into a cool Christmas project! Bravo! I'm sorry to hear you're suffering from the heat. I'm very blessed to live near a cool ocean breeze.

  10. It must be the heat 'cause I thought you posted the christmas trees upside down!! We are having triple digits here in Kansas!! But then I took a second look and found the recessed trees between the tubes, it's really an optical illusion!! Thanks for the "cooling" thoughts!


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