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I'm decorating the hallway of our children's area. Our theme is God's Big Backyard. We are trying to make(paint) a tree in the hallway. We would like it to be 3 dimensional. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this. We thought about slicing a fake ficus tree in half and pasting it to the wall. Has anyone done anything like this before?

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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hi butler!
i haven't done anything like that, but i LOVE the idea of God's backyard. that is awesome!
my thought for a tree would be to use maybe paper bags, crumple and fill with newpaper, and keep adding to each other and stacking it up along a wall. then it could either be covered with a fabric (brulap maybe) and then painted, or just painted. you'd have to play and create a bit in order to make it work, but it could.
you could also doa plaster tree.
i really like the idea. i hope you'll post pictures when you finish the decorating!
That sounds soooo cool. We have a rather dry congregation and I think I'd cause a few heartattacks if I tried something like that. Love the paper bag idea, you could use paper-mache over the bags then paint brown. Green moss from a craft shop for leaves, but if you have a larger budget they have a wonderful supply of atifical leaves at craft shops.
Can't wait to see pictures.
Most flooring (carpet and vinyl flooring) stores have large heavy duty cardboard tubes that you can usually have free for the asking. You can use them as the base, then, as you suggested, crumble newspaper and build up layers and texture with paper mache. Add branches using wire and tubes, again, built up with paper mache. Leaves could be created from colored paper (or stiffened fabrics?).

Good luck.
Dear Butler,
At our VBS this year we decorated the building like a Jungle. We used the large cardboard tubes that are the core of carpet rolls. We cut strips of brown paper about 9-12 inches wide and wrapped the tubes (overlapping the wrap by 2 inches each wrap) Then we "pulled back" on the overlapped wrap. This gave a palm tree bark effect. Next we cut large palm shaped leafs from green rolls of paper and stapled them to the top of the trees. We placed them on 2 X 4 stands in small bunches around the building and strung vines everywhere with blow up monkeys and birds everywhere. It looked GREAT! And it was very inexpensive.
Good luck with your project.
i visited a church in ithaca, ny (st. paul's methodist) that had some amazing decor for their rooms.
i'm not sure how they did it, but they had 2 huge palm trees that were so cool. they definitely used paper mache' on something (probably the tubes mentioned above) and then this was covered with brown fabric in strips going around the tree. the fabric has patterns on it, nothing insanely loud, but all different and so it was nicely done. also, the palm leaves were poster board painted green on one side, and then had patterned green fabric on the other side. then it was cut in palm leaf shapes. both trees looked so great.
i only met the man in charge once, and cannot recall his name (as his church was the secondary visit i was making) which is horrible, because it was so great to see how they have progressed and done SO much in 1 year. but the church number is 607 273 5971, and i am sure you can ask to speak to the person in charge with the children's programs.
he was very helpful and i need to find his name myself.
good luck! (hope we've been of some help!)

We did a VBS this year about the fruit of the Spirit and made a huge 12 ft talking tree adorned with nine different fruit – one for each of the fruits. I wanted a tree that would be lightweight and something that I could take down and store. We decided to construct the tree out of 2X2 strips of wood and cardboard. The tree was constructed in four pieces. Each section was tapered slightly at the top to create an overall tree design that was aline. Each tree section was made by attaching the 2X2 strips to a semi-circle made from 1/4" plywood. The front of the section was then covered in cardboard. After the four sections were complete, We used insulation foam to make stripes up each section. The tree sections were painted black then highlighted with grey on the bark (insulation foam strips).

The sections were joined using large bolts and nuts through each adjoining section. The limbs were made of thin strips of screen molding and cardboard and painted in the same manner. The limbs were attached to the frame of the top two sections and supported by a fishing line strung from the ceiling. The tree was attached to a plywood sheet covered in green outdoor carpet. The roots were made by piling up insulation foam on the carpet sheet then running up the tree. I received inspiration from the following website:

The entire construction cost around $200 and was well worth it as we are planning to use it again next year in a swamp where the tree will be covered in moss.


Moderator adds: Carolyn had offered to send photos of her tree, however, contact info for Carolyn has been lost!  If anyone creates such a tree, please post a photo.

Last edited by CreativeCarol
These ideas are great! I have a similar request--I am trying to make a forest of pine trees to go in a multi-purpose room for Christmas, and we had thought of the idea of using the carpet tubes and brown paper bags for texturing, but I am at a loss as to figure out how to make the "needles." We can't afford to buy pine swags, even the fake ones at the 99 cent store. Any ideas?

We have made awesome trees. We have a permanent in our nursery. The base is concrete pouring tubes. This makes a tree similar to something you would see at an amusement park.

Others we have made are both regular trees and palm trees.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
We made tress by shaping chicken wire into a hollow tree shape stapled against the hall way. We then filled up the spaces with newspaper, and did paper mache to make the form of the outside rough look of bark. We then painted it brown , added branches and used leaves from a silk plant. It really was easy. The children were able to help ball up all of the newspapers - of which we used quite a bit, but it went by fast with 30 children balling and stuffing.
Although the original request is some time ago, I wanted to share information about our tree that was inside one of our workshops. I had cut two general trunk and large limb shapes out of cardboard and fit them crossways so that they stood on their own. Then my brilliant "designer" and I took 10-12' pieces of brown (cardboard-colored) butcher paper and crumpled them up length wise and taped and stapled them around the tree frame. We used flexible conduit for additional branches, duct taping them to the cardboard frame and then running them up to the ceiling tile frame (wiring them on) so it gave the appearance that the tree top was above the ceiling. We then took all sorts of silk plant "bushes" and wired them every so often near the ceiling; while it didn't cover the whole tree with green, it gave the allusion of a leafy tree. It was so spectacular that visitors were brought down to see it! We left it up about three years and worked it into each workshop or VBS site.

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