This past weekend we had our church family camp, and the theme was about us being a church family. They wanted to create a 3 dimensional tree where each leaf would house a picture of a family that was on the retreat. They asked me to create it. We started brainstorming ideas. All I had seen done in the past was a paper mache or twisted paper version. However, after a quick brainstorming, we came up with swimming noodles and duct tape. I was suppose to set it up before the retreat, and I had a sinking feeling the night before. I thought it just wasn’t going to work. I hadn’t thought it through enough and suddenly realized I needed a base to keep it standing straight. Also, since we were navigating new waters, I was just unsure of the concept. Well, it worked, and it was actually really cool. I was super stoked about the results.
The first need was the base. My husband took a flatter piece of wood, approximately 36 x 28 inches. He then drilled a dowel to the center of the board going straight up. He also attached little pieces of wood around the dowel to create more stability. I should have taken a picture. If you need more information than that, let me know.
The next step was to duct tape the swimming noodles together. The center noodle had the dowel going up it. We also had the outer 5 noodles go a bit lower than the center noodle so that we could attach the upper limbs to the taller center stalk. We wrapped the brown duct tape around and around the structure. We Then wrapped noodles individually to create the branches. With the branches, we would take the ends and tear them down a little so they would branch out more into smaller branches.
I started to make leaves out of green duct tape, but they were too heavy. So, I ended up just cutting out a bunch of leaves out of paper. I would fold floral wire over a few times to make them a bit stronger and tape it to the leaf. Then, I would take brown duct tape and tape the leaf “stem” (floral wire) to the branch. Again, I should have taken a picture, but if you want me to describe it more, let me know. It was nice to have the leaves on floral wire because they could bend into leafy shapes and have stability.
The final step was to add everyone’s picture to the tree. A tree like this would be great for a retreat, classroom, or on-stage production.
This tree only lasted a week before it was completely droopy, so I would try to find better solutions to making it more stable.
Note from a Meaningful Mama reader: I have had one in my classroom for years now and this idea might help. For the base attach a heavy empty carpet roll you can get easily at any carpet store when they throw them out to a piece of wood securely. This will never droop! Using beige brown heavy roll paper start twisting it and attach to this centre cylinder and just keep twisting and building up to make branches however you like. I have it against a bulletin board and staple the twisted limbs occasionally to the board for support and even the ceiling tips if ou want to go that high. It gets dusty as the years go by though. Then you can attach your leaves, butterflies, birds, owls the sky is the limit! I just love it!
Thanks so much for your input!