I get the opportunity to teach you how to make a fake palm tree. I was asked to decorate for our Vacation Bible School, which was to be set in Athens. Therefore, part of the set design was to be palm trees. Luckily, our MOPS group had already made some palm trees for their Hawaiian themed auction, so I was able to use all the ideas and some of the materials they had to move forward with this project. Due to this, there are a couple steps where I won’t have a picture as part of the tutorial. However, contact me if you have any questions. I am always wiling to help.
If you are looking for tree ideas, and this doesn’t quite fit the style, come see how I made a 3D tree out of pool noodles.
The first thing you will need to do is visit a carpet store and ask for their carpet rolls (no carpet on the roll, of course). This will become the trunk of your palm trees. I don’t have a picture of the next phase, but you will add brown paper – comes on a roll. I think the best place to find it would be a hardware store. You will wrap it around and scrunch it to give the look of the palm tree base.
To get the carpet roll to stand, we put them on microphone stands.
You will want to collect a bunch of old umbrellas. They can be broken. I liked have a variety of sizes as I wanted a variety of sizes of palm trees. Just throw the need out there on Facebook, and I’m sure there will be people who have some they’d be willing to donate.
You will stick these umbrellas into the top of the tree. They become your branches.
I made two different looks of palm tress based on the materials I had on hand. We had a bunch of fake palm-like branches. You will want to use wire clippers to cut these apart so you have individual strands.
I used basic scotch tape to tape these onto each of the umbrella arms. I worked from the bottom up, using 3-4 individually cut branches for each palm branch. This was my favorite look and what I used for the stage since it looked more realistic.
For the paper palm leaves, I found a bunch of these straws at the church. I used that and green butcher paper.
I cut out the shape of a palm leaf to the desired size and taped it to the individual arms of the umbrella. Then, I taped on the straws to act as both the veins and the support to help prevent the leaves from falling limp.
This is the final result of the stage for VBS. I wish I had brought my camera rather than just my phone. Sorry for the lack of quality in the pictures. The background cloth we bought from the VBS distributor. We also purchased the paper pillars from them. Those we attached to a carpet roll on a microphone stand and used fake plants from around the church to disguise the base. The fake palm trees I made and other fake plants were on the outer edge to cover other parts of the stage.
The fake palm trees with the paper leaves were used in the entrance area to help set some of the tone for the Athens feel.
Oh my goodness! I love all of the details for this Palm Tree. The straws are the perfect veins! Thanks for sharing Jodi! You rock. Pinning 🙂
I have to decorate for Weird Animals VBS in 2014. It’s a jungle theme. This is the best Palm Tree tutorial I’ve seen to Date. The use of the umbrella for the leaves is brilliant. You have just saved me a ton of time. Bless you!
I’m so glad this was helpful. Love, of course, that it is going toward VBS too. Thanks for taking your time to decorate for these kiddos. I’m assuming it is for the summer. You are on top of it!
Love how you used an umbrella for the leaves! Where did you get the green butcher paper?
Thanks so much. Our church actually just had a big roll of butcher paper. It was one of the jumbo rolls you find at schools. I wonder if you could use free wrapping paper or large construction paper. I hope you find something great that works.
The tree is fabulous! What did you use for a stand? I see a 3 pronged stand. Where would I get it?
Thank you for your help. I am a mother, helping to decorate my daughter’s school library.
We used a microphone stand from our church. It worked really well. I wonder if your school has one or you could find an inexpensive one somewhere. Good luck!
Thank you for the help. I really appreciate you getting back to me so swiftly. So many sites that are online
never actually respond, or if they do they may be forever getting back to you.
The microphone stand sounds great!!! Again, thank you and I love your site.
have a glorious day!!
Sincerely, B. Grant
Thank you so much. I’ve written people long responses, and I rarely have someone come back to thank me. Thank you for that. 🙂 Have fun!
How did you get the brown paper to stick to the trees?
It’s not really stuck to the tube. It’s basically wrapped around and then the layers just sit rest on top of each other as they go up. I hope that helps.
What was the base of the tree made from to hold it up
We slipped the paper covered carpet roll over a microphone stand. I hope that helps! Sorry it took so long to respond.
Oh wow… Just what I needed. ?? My class have wished for a redecoration of their classroom, and would love a chill-out area. 3 palm trees would be perfect ??? ? Thanks for sharing ?
Yay! Another reader just commented on how she adapted it, and you might want to re-read the comments because I think it would be helpful. So glad this post helped, and I hope the chill-out area turns out fabulous!
I made the same kind of palm trees but about every 2 feet on the trunk, I cut a wedge out of the cardboard tube with a hand saw, bent the tube and duct taped it before I put the paper on the trunk. It gave it that realistic curve and looked great. I also highlighted the scrunched paper (used some old roll of table runner paper from church) with brown spray paint which really put the finishing touch on it.
That’s a great adaptation for this. What great additions. I really love that this was a helpful tutorial for you, and I’m also hoping that others will read your comments for further guidance. Thanks!
thanks for the plethoria of ideas! My pastor is meeting with the board of my church to see if a VBS is a go! I really feel led to do this thing! God has put a burden on my hard to facilitate this. Would you please pray that God touches the heart of the leaders to allow VBS this year? It’s an inner city church and they need this badly. thanks for praying! And again, thank you for sharing your creative mind!
I am praying for this right now. I’m hoping that, if it’s God’s will, doors will open, volunteers will surface and kids will come to hear truth. Thank you for asking me to join you in prayer!
what is vbs? this looks to be really helpful, the only thing that will be difficult will be the paper as i live in holland and we don’t have green butcher paper. i have a large roll of white paper which (as a last resort) i could paint green on both sides, but i’m hoping i finds something. i want to use the umbrella idea, but i want to add extra loose branches underneath that can be pulled off easily by the kids who are going to wave them for J. got any ideas? maybe tie them on with burlap- that would still be trunklike, but they could easily pull them loose… i’m still in the middle if i want to make a donkey – i have a barrel and black fur that i want to die gray. time is always a big factor. and a hubby who is annoyed by a cluttered house (what do u mean cluttered – creative!)
Yes – by cluttered we mean creative. I can relate. LOL. I’m so sorry it has taken me a couple days to respond. I love the burlap idea for attaching the loose ones to the trunk. I imagine you could also use twine. That could look really cool. I’m not sure what kind of materials you can find in Holland for the leaves. I imagine painting paper or cardboard might be the only solution. I do think of tissue paper, but I imagine those wouldn’t have the support you needed. I did find a tutorial here for that: http://shebakesandcreates.com/2013/08/13/make-your-own-palm-trees-with-pool-noodles/ I hope that is a little helpful. VBS is a Vacation Bible School. In the summer, many churches have a week long “camp” that lasts just a few hours each day. The kids come and learn Bible Lessons through songs, stories, activities and more. Blessings on all you are doing. It sounds fabulous.
I tried finding the cardboard rolls from either carpet or upholstery fabrics, BUT they no long give those out because they reuse them now as they have to purchase those rolls for their stores. Next idea was PVC pipe which I’ll try, or even a piece of 2×4 lumber.
Oh man. You’ll have to report back and let me know what you find and how it worked. Too bad the cardboard rolls aren’t an option in your area. I wonder if everyone is operating like that. Makes sense to re-use them. Best of luck!
You are a genius. These ideas must be Divinely inspired. Thanks!
Thanks so much! Glad it helped!
I found a 5 foot tube from a canvas place, bought a $5 fake Boston fern from Walmart and presto, instant palm tree!
Perfect! So fun! Glad it worked out.
the use of the umbrella is brilliant!! the whole thing is really great, thank you!!
Thanks. So glad it helped!