Paper Cone Trees for the Holidays

paper cone trees

Paper cone trees are truly an impressive craft, and they only cost pennies to make. Since this is a large decoration, these trees look pretty in an entryway, or nestled in a corner.

They take some time to make (allow one hour per tree) but the technique itself is very easy. You can use holiday wrapping paper (the most inexpensive option) or use patterned scrapbooking paper. Putting three together in a group, as I've done here, is a very pretty look!

I've gotten many questions about how to store these trees. I have been storing each of my trees inside a large plastic garbage bag. I then hang the bags from a nail that I have in my attic beam. This clears up room on my attic floor and has kept them intact, year after year!

Materials Needed:   

  • cardboard tube, from the center of a wrapping paper roll; or use a paper towel tube for a shorter tree
  • wrapping paper, or scrapbook paper, in patterns/colors of your choice
  • tape
  • scissors
  • ruler

Paper Cone Tree Instructions

1. To make the three trees as I did, I used two cardboard tubes from wrapping paper which were both 30 inches long, and one paper towel tube, which was 11 inches long. I took one of the 30 inch long tubes and cut off a 10 inch section and discarded it, leaving me with a 30 inch long tube, a 20 inch tube, and an 11 inch tube. These sizes don't matter, just cut the tubes to a size you want. The finished tree will be as tall as the tube.

paper cone trees

2. The paper cones are made from squares of wrapping paper (or you can use scrapbook paper too). The largest cones are at the bottom, and they slowly get smaller as you work your way up. Let's begin with the 30 inch tree (the largest of the three). Begin by measuring and cutting out 8 x 8 inch squares of paper. You will need 10 to 11 squares per layer.

paper cone trees

3. To make the cone, hold one corner down with your non-dominant hand. Using your other hand, take another corner and turn it to the inside to create a cone, as shown. Put a little piece of tape on the inside to hold it.

paper cone trees

4. Now take the other corner and wrap it around the cone to finish it off. Secure with a piece of tape.

paper cone trees

5. Here's what the paper cone will look like from the front and the back.

paper cone trees
paper cone trees

6. Attach the cone at the bottom of the paper towel tube to create the first layer of branches. Use a piece of tape at the tip of the cone to secure it.

paper christmas trees

7. Continue adding cones around to create the first layer. It usually takes about 10 to 11 cones to go around the cardboard tube.

paper christmas trees
paper christmas trees

8. For my two biggest trees, I did two layers each of the same size. This means the next layer of cones should also be made up of 8 inch squares. To attach the next layer, move up the tube about an inch and a half to two inches above the first layer (see the photo). Tape the cones so that they are staggered over the layer of cones beneath it; meaning that the cone should be positioned directly over the space in between two cones beneath it.

paper christmas trees

9. Continue adding on cones to the second layer of the paper cone tree.

paper christmas trees

10. When you get to the third and fourth layers, start working with 7 inch squares to make the cones. It gets hard to make cones any smaller than four inches. Refer to chart below on the layers and square sizes to create the three trees shown. Following this exact pattern for a paper cone tree isn't imperative; you can play around with sizes to see what works best. But these are the exact measurements I used so I wanted to include them for your reference.

11. When you get to the top, fold the tip of the cone inside the cardboard tube, and tape it to secure.

paper christmas trees
paper christmas trees

12. The top will need to be covered with some type of decoration. Here I used bows I made from wire edged ribbon. You could also use a star, a ball ornament, a silk poinsettia flower, etc.

paper christmas trees

Photos From Others

Little Paper Cone Tree
by Donna BoshW (Madisonville, TN)

In Donna's words:

"I made this one last night. I used a paper towel roll and I really like the turned out. Thanks for sharing this great idea with us."

Photos of My Paper Cone Tree
by Jeanette Pupko (Tamaqua, PA)

In Jeanette's words:

"I really enjoyed this craft. Thank you very much for the wonderful idea, it made the perfect gift! I sent you a picture of my creations!"

More Beautiful Paper Christmas Trees
by Mayra Cruz (Virginia Beach, VA)

In Mayra's words:

"I was so excited to see your wrapping paper trees and I wanted to learn how to make them. I followed your instructions and made four trees, two for the foyer and two for my fireplace. I am sending your some pictures of my final product. Thanks for the idea. The trees are so beautiful and fun to make!"

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