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Project

Magazine Christmas Trees

Transform old magazines into glittered table-top trees with this easy -- and kid-friendly -- step-by-step process.

Materials

  • Old magazines of any size
  • Gold, silver, or clear spray paint
  • Glitter in desired colors
  • Bone folder (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Open magazine and bend to break spine.

  2. Step 2

    Fold individual page from top right corner to inside seam. Fold same page from bottom right edge to gutter.

  3. Step 3

    Fold bottom triangle of each additional magazine page up, making the bottom of the tree flat. Then, fold top of all pages down to form tree shape.

  4. Step 4

    Spray-paint folded tree desired color. Immediately sprinkle glitter over wet paint. Let dry.Tip: Use a bone folder to smooth paper edges if desired.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, December 2009

Reviews (61)

  • LLI Design 12 Oct, 2013

    Really nice re appropriation / up cycling, the finished trees looks SO much more than the some of their parts. LLI Design

  • momogi 25 Jan, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your good thoughts and idea here. Just continue on sharing your talent and creation to us readers. interior design ideas kitchen | living room design colors | home design ideas

  • momogi 14 Nov, 2012

    Thank you micwein! I was folding it all wrong-the visuals were necessary kitchen design ideas for small kitchens

  • lyndsey21 14 Dec, 2011

    I am going out tonight to buy spray paint. Can't decide whether to get gold or silver. Thanks for the idea, what a great craft!

    I was looking for an inexpensive way to add some decoration to my home and I found it here! Thank you!

  • Perfectgifts4u 14 Dec, 2011

    I really liked this craft but thought I would add an inspirational twist. I tweeted a pic today at @0ffthecharts. Where the opening of mag was, I inserted a pop-up nativity scene. This created a space on the back of tree. I opened and glued two pages. There I created an angel scene. I like it! ((: thank you for the magazine tree idea. Merry Christmas!!

  • PhotoGirl64 11 Dec, 2011

    The description doesn't say is that due to the fact that the paper is glossy, the spray paint doesn't adhere easily and tends to slip down the surface of the folded page. Also, unless the folded pages are tightly packed with not much spaces between them (I achieved this by gluing two or more finished, unpainted trees together) if you desire perfectly coated/painted pages, you'll have to go back and spray paint several coats for the magazine pics/text not to show through. Buy lots of spray paint!

  • googa333 26 Nov, 2011

    Martha, once again, I am amazed. You can take something like a magazine and turn it into a delightful holiday treat. I will make these and put them on the coffee table. Thank you for your website, I cannot get off of it!

  • ChristyJax 14 Oct, 2011

    I think this is great! Recycles and makes a pretty thing all at once. Where was Martha when I was a Girl Scout leader? I love all the kid-friendly crafts that have a truly nice result. So many of the things suggested for kids do not yield a worthwhile outcome!
    I'm going to make some trees now!

  • bellamills 26 Sep, 2011

    oh please! Don't be craft hater. I think this craft is great, wonderful way to reuse magazines. And by the way, don't be disappointed at Martha, there are a million crafts to choose from. Get over it mommafriz!

  • mommafriz 7 Jan, 2011

    Honestly I thought this was one of your worst crafts, I made these when I was in third grade, they were ok then but now as an adult I would hope you could come up with something with a little more class...honestly Martha I feel very let down

  • shardanil 28 Dec, 2010

    Ppc oni tolstye :) Elochka otlichnaya vyhodit. Hello i from Kazahstan!

  • shardanil 28 Dec, 2010

    ?

  • sfalix 18 Dec, 2010

    I loved making this craft, I made it the other day with my friends. One shortcut though, instead of folding the triangles inside the little pockets, just fold them over, it is much flatter and much faster. These trees also look very nice without paint, and you could put them up not just at Christmas.

  • papagena1 10 Dec, 2010

    I'd love some help from fellow crafters... I'm using an In-Style magazine, and it's coming along beautifully (if I say so myself). One concern, though, is that even though I have been rigorously bending, cracking and manipulating the spine throughout, it's just so stiff that it doesn't want to bend in a full circle - I'm getting 2/3 of a circle at best. I could bring the end pages around and glue them together, but the rest of the pages wouldn't be evenly distributed. Is it too thick?

  • papagena1 10 Dec, 2010

    I'd love some help from fellow crafters... I'm using an In-Style magazine, and it's coming along beautifully (if I say so myself). One concern, though, is that even though I have been rigorously bending, cracking and manipulating the spine throughout, it's just so stiff that it doesn't want to bend in a full circle - I'm getting 2/3 of a circle at best. I could bring the end pages around and glue them together, but the rest of the pages wouldn't be evenly distributed. Is it too thick?

  • Staysh 10 Dec, 2010

    I love these! However, after breaking the spine, the pages fall out so easily...any suggestions to prevent this??

  • ChriChri 9 Dec, 2010

    Hi Martha,
    I just made some of these magazine Christmas trees. They are so gorgeous. I additionaly sprinkled them with powdert snow. Beauty can be so simple - Many thanks for the tip
    Greetings from Belgium and Merry Christmas to everyone

  • MalavikaS 6 Dec, 2010

    It was great fun to work with 1st graders on the magazine tree. I had folded almost all the pages kept 3 pages each for them to fold. Then we used a lot of glitter..All so enjoyed!! Thanks Martha...Great idea!!

  • SandraKB 3 Dec, 2010

    Hi Martha,
    Thanks for the blast from the past!
    I made these magazine/catalogue trees in Omaha NE, 1968 (I was 8) in my Campfire Girls Troop.
    Thanks for the memories!
    Love and respect from a fellow longtime crafter,
    Sandra Klauschie/Blake
    Fresno CA

  • gattaulla 29 Nov, 2010

    beautiful!!!!!I made this in 1 hour.

  • kparise 25 Nov, 2010

    made these, a little difficult if you have a big magazine as i did as you go along. but it turned out sturdy and awesome.

  • ASand 20 Nov, 2010

    i used an old catalog for my trial run- thinner paper and not as many pages made a cute "half-tree" perfect for the mantel.

  • jbpeugh 20 Nov, 2010

    Thanks for the idea! Just made my first one and it turned out perfectly!!!

  • MalavikaS 17 Nov, 2010

    Loved this!! Made a lot of them for the library I work at. My 7 year old also enjoyed helping out.

    Just tweeted about it,
    They are in the library!! @MarthaStewart magazines trees with a twist... http://yfrog.com/fvssijx

  • msdiznee 15 Nov, 2010

    I made these, too! Used Reader's Digest and made them into choir boys. My dad made me a fence in his welding shop and I made a street light and added snow...this brings back wonderful memories of a simpler time and special time with my angel dad!

  • kaikai 3 Apr, 2010

    We made these inschool when we were kids in the 1960's, but with old telephone books. I can't believe we folded so many pages!

  • Pencillady 6 Dec, 2009

    My mother made these mag.trees years ago.She topped some with Santa heads,some with angel heads,made arms wings etc.The bottom (Mag.part)was used as a skirt.Painted them appro.colors.I still have an angel she made.Not new.

  • bettyhats 6 Dec, 2009

    thecrafter60,
    4. You will see an upside down small triangle at the bottom of the tie. Fold triangle up using the the bottom of the magazine as a guide.
    5. Open the fold you just made, towards you.
    6 Turn triangle over, as when you read from back to front of the magazine.
    7. Open the bottom of the triangle just enough to tuck in the last small triangle you just folded. Viola!

  • bettyhats 6 Dec, 2009

    thecrafter60,
    1. Fold making a large triangle, (you got that one)
    2. Fold again in the exact same manner. (this will give you the tie looking triangle.
    3. Turn the tie looking triangle over, as if you were turning a page when you're reading the magazine.
    More...

  • thecrafter60 5 Dec, 2009

    I would like to see the video again so I can make some for Christmas. I can make the first fold and then I remember her showing Martha that it is supposed to look like a tie! For the life of me I can't figure that fold out. I would like to see the video of it again. I am lost after the first fold.

  • vtmonz 5 Dec, 2009

    bettyhats, how did you glitter your tree...what did you use?

  • bettyhats 5 Dec, 2009

    You?

  • prestonsmom 4 Dec, 2009

    Hey, can someone please help me. I can not figure out the bottom fold. where is the video? thanks

  • VintagePinkGlitter 4 Dec, 2009

    Where is the video?

  • pstimler 4 Dec, 2009

    MitchyMama, thank you for the link to the Reader's Digest instructions. That made it very easy to figure out.

  • CindyL74 4 Dec, 2009

    I missed the section that referred to Fold same page from bottom right edge to gutter." The video won't play for me. Please explain ...someone! What is he gutter?

  • vtmonz 4 Dec, 2009

    Input on glittering the tree? On the show they used a stick spray then sprinkled the glitter, but the tree didn't look as shiny as the photo above. However the instructions say to use a glitter spray. Any suggestions...thanks!

  • jan2132 4 Dec, 2009

    Would someone tell me if it is a good idea to glue the pages as you fold them.

  • Louise90 3 Dec, 2009

    I used an Land's End Christmas magazine. It didn't work too well. Too thin, I guess. It, however, was theraputic.....calming to make it.

  • FAITHAGAIN 3 Dec, 2009

    Thank you for the link to the Reader's Digest! It really helped.

  • VintagePinkGlitter 3 Dec, 2009

    http%3A%2F%2Fkaylaaimee.com%2Findex.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content

  • MitchyMamma 3 Dec, 2009

    Confused? Don't get discouraged. If I can do this YOU can. GUTTER is just the same center of the magazine (its an origami term). The link, http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/readers-digest-christmas-tree/arti... is great, but the drawing is a little deceiving. The GOAL of the 2nd fold is to take that folded edge you first made and line it up to the center of the book also. The folded page will look like a mans tie (minus the knot). If I can do this YOU can...trust me.

  • ScrapbookAnnie 3 Dec, 2009

    Click on "see more comments" and it's towards the bottom...another person posted a link ot the reader's digest magazine instructions and that has pictures.

  • craftieddn 3 Dec, 2009

    I AM WORKING REALLY HARD AT THIS AND CANNOT GET IT....WHERE IS THE LINK WITH VISUAL INSTRUCTIONS?

  • ScrapbookAnnie 3 Dec, 2009

    Whoops, sorry guys. This was my first post and I didn't realize the most recent was at the top! So, did anyone get their tree to go all the way around? Duid my magazine just not have enough pages?

  • ScrapbookAnnie 3 Dec, 2009

    Go to the link in Post 4 above. There are pictures of the folds there.

  • wannabe2009 3 Dec, 2009

    I am confused about steps 2 and 3 and just what is the "gutter?" Do you have any visuals?? Thank you!

  • Adrienne456 3 Dec, 2009

    Thank you micwein! I was folding it all wrong-the visuals were necessary : )

  • ScrapbookAnnie 3 Dec, 2009

    Check the link posted in #4 above. That shows a visual of the folds. I got all the folds right, but mine doesn't make a full circle. Wonder if I need to put two magazines together?

  • auntieem2 3 Dec, 2009

    Looked simple when I was watching. I also need visuals of the folding directions

  • lkasdf90834759832475kqh 3 Dec, 2009

    I don't understand the last sentence of step number 3.

  • deej1103 3 Dec, 2009

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • deej1103 3 Dec, 2009

    yes please someone help - i have it all folded but doesnt look right and what is the gutter????

  • mlbyorkies 3 Dec, 2009

    I am stuck at the 2nd fold because I am not sure what is meant by the term gutter. I agree that step by step visuals would be very helpful, especially for the less crafty types such as myself.

  • beesinthehouse 3 Dec, 2009

    I all so love this idea, but I don't understand how to do some of the folds. Please help! Thanks.Sonia miami

  • Dawnlea 3 Dec, 2009

    It was the second and third folds that I didn't understand. it states to fold to the "gutter"-what is that. As someone else commented a visual would be helpful as I really liked the end result.

  • AprilDwn88 3 Dec, 2009

    I love the trees but it nearly broke my heart to see you using the Everyday Food Magazines. I cherish my collection. I have every issue except the first one. It wasn't available in my area.

  • ELW821 3 Dec, 2009

    I love this idea, but I don't understand how to do some of the folds. Please help! Thanks.

  • pstimler 3 Dec, 2009

    I got home just in time to see the finsihed product. they're wonderful, but I can't figure out the folding directions. A visual would be very helpful

  • KsMartha 3 Dec, 2009

    We used to make these from Reader's Digests about 40 yrs. ago. Fun to see this again.