Before I take off to celebrate this freakishly early Thanksgiving… (aside: I know it’s popular to hate on daylight savings time these days; I actually LIKE DST, but the calendar change I’d like to propose is that Thanksgiving always be on the last Thursday of the month instead of the fourth one, so as to prevent the kind of sneaky behavior we’re seeing from Thanksgiving this year. Although I imagine I’ll appreciate the extended getting ready for Christmas time after Thursday)….where was I? Right. Giant paper cone trees. I am going to talk about them.
Incredibly easy crafts are my very favorite kinds of crafts, so I’m a longtime fan of cone trees. I first made them several years ago from a stash of vintage wrapping paper, and they’ve come out pretty much every year since.
One year we used them as an Advent calendar, which worked nicely since you can put candy or tiny toys under them or just slips of paper with an activity for the day. Or both!
But this year I am, mysteriously and uncharacteristically, feeling drawn to more neutral colors for my Christmas decorations, so the vintage cone trees are staying in their storage boxes. I still love cone trees, though, so when I spotted some black/white/gold wrapping paper at Target a couple of weeks ago I grabbed it to make some new ones.
And then it occurred to me that with big rolls of wrapping paper (instead of folded sheets like the vintage wrapping paper), I could not only make cone trees: I could make GINORMOUS cone trees!
So big, in fact, that they’re completely impractical and I haven’t found a good place to put them. I love them with my new kitchen table, but we use this table constantly, so we have to move them off of it and stick them on the counter a lot. Next time I’m going to plan things out a little better and find somewhere where they can stay put.
I was planning to use them as a centerpiece on the dining room table at first, until I got enamored of how well the colors would go with the kitchen table. They might still make the move into the dining room to be a centerpiece, though. They’re made of paper, so they’re very easy to move!
Big trees are slightly more complicated to make than small trees, but the basic process is the same.
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*First off, you need a half or quarter of a circle to roll into a cone. If you’re making smaller trees, you can trace around something round, like plate or a bowl and cut out the circle:
….but if you want a giant cone tree, the best thing to do is to get a big piece of string and tie at loop at the end to put a pencil through:
…and then make the biggest half circle you can get from your wrapping paper. On my paper it was easy, because there’s a grid printed on the back. I just counted how many squares tall the paper was and then counted off the same number of squares on either side lengthwise. If you don’t have squares, you’ll have to use a more primitive measuring system like inches or something. In other words, the amount of paper. you have to work with needs to be twice as long as it is wide.
Then put your pencil at the top of the paper in the center of the measured off length. So, say the wrapping paper is 20 inches from top to bottom when you lay it out on the table. You want a total of 40 inches of length to work with.
Now you need a helper. It can be a small one. While you hold the pencil with the string looped around it at the top center, have someone else pull the string tight and hold it at the bottom of the paper. Then just trace a semi-circle with the pencil, keeping the string tight and letting it guide you as you draw an arc. (this picture shows the process, but this was a smaller circle. For giant circles, you’ll be holding the string down at the very bottom of the paper).
You’ll end up with a big semi-circle on the paper. Now cut it out and cut it down the center so that you wind up with two quarter circles (if you’re making smaller trees and have traced a whole circle, you can cut it in half twice and make four trees).
*Now you want to roll the quarter circles into cones. The first time I did this and realized that the round part becomes the flat bottom of the cone, my mind was blown. Geometry! But now I’m used to it. But, yeah, so the right angle is going to be the pointy part of your cone, and the round arc will be the bottom that sits flat on the table.
I can’t show you a picture of this with the giant cones, because I don’t have enough hands, but here’s what it looks like for a smaller, more manageable one:
I will not lie: folding the giant cones into the right shape will make you wish you had a couple of extra hands. But you can do it! Just keep playing with it until you have pointiness at the top and until the edges line up pretty nicely at the bottom and then slap some tape on there quick before it starts to come apart again. I used just one piece of scotch tape for the small cones, and three or four for the giant ones.
*Sit back and enjoy your forest of shiny cone trees!
This will serve as your sneak preview of my Christmas house tour that’s going up next week, too!
Maybe you would like to pin this?