For anyone trying to entertain kiddos while simultaneously navigating your way through a hectic holiday schedule – this modern pine tree garland DIY is for you. This lovely project is one of my favorites because it’s super versatile, keeps the mess to a minimum and looks fantastically hip! By combining our tree template printable and some patterned or colored transparency sheets, you can create tons of interactive winter-themed activities for kids of all ages!
Older kids will have fun playing with pattern and color combinations to make their own modern pine tree garlands, while younger littles can explore colors, shapes and light with some simple stackable pattern plates you can put together in about 15 minutes. Our colorful pine tree garland is a tribute to the season that make a perfect handmade holiday decoration, but can brighten up a room all winter long!
To make your own pine tree garland you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- A few sheets of heavy cardstock (in any colors you want!)
- Our Pine Tree Templates and Patterns Printable PDF
- Printable inkjet transparency sheets (like these we found on Amazon)
- Scissors and/or an X-Acto knife
- A clear-drying glue stick or craft glue
- A hole punch
- A piece of ribbon, twine yarn or string
- Clear transparency sheets and permanent markers (to make your own pattern sheets)
- Plain colored transparency sheets
- Bells or other extras to add to your garland!
- A ruler (to help with straight-edge cutting)
Patterned Pine Tree Garland Instructions:
- Print our pint tree patterns and templates
Download and print our pine tree and pattern templates printable or draw your own tree shapes and patterns. Print or draw your tree templates out on heavy cardstock, and your selected patterns on inkjet transparency sheets. If you’d rather not use the inkjet transparency sheets, you can create your own by using permanent markers in different colors on clear transparency sheets.
- Cut out tree templates and trim transparency sheets
Cut along the outside of your tree templates, and cut the patterned transparency sheets along the dotted lines.
- Cut out centers of pine tree templates
Using an X-Acto knife or small scissors to cut out the inner pieces of the tree templates. If you’re making the pattern plates or want to make a see-through suncatcher garland, you’ll cut out both sides of the trees. If you’re making a garland to hang against a wall, you’ll only cut out one side (there are templates for both options included in the printable!)
- Pick your patterns!
For the pattern plates, I like to keep it simple for toddlers and only use one pattern sheet per plate.
Older kids can mix and match the patterns for their trees, layering as many as they want. You can also throw plain colored transparencies in the mix for some fun color layering! Cover each cutout side of your template with a layer of clear-drying glue and glue down the transparency sheet.
- Glue tree front and back together
Add another layer of glue around the edge of your tree template and fold your trees over so they meet at the edges.
- Trim edges
Cut around the edges to get rid of the extra transparency film. Voila! Your trees are finished! If you’re making pattern plates, this is all you need to do. Pass a set of these over to your toddlers and watch them shift them around to discover how different colors and patterns look overlapped.
- Use a hole punch and ribbon to combine your trees into a garland
To make a garland, create a whole forest full of trees, then simply use a hole punch (we used 1/8” punch for smaller holes, but you can use a standard) to create a hole at the top of each tree. Layout your garland and thread a ribbon or piece of twine through all the holes.
Other ideas for use:
- When your toddler is finished playing with their pattern plates, you can recycle them into a simple suncatcher mobile. Using a small hole punch, make a hole at the top and bottom of each tree. Tie the trees together in a horizontal line using a piece of ribbon or twine, then hang in a window. As the trees twist around, the colors and patterns will dance around the room!
- Because these are transparencies, kids can use dry-erase markers to draw on decorations or write a name or message with their trees.
- Make a simple holiday card by gluing a patterned tree onto a folded piece of cardstock.
For more holiday crafts & entertainment, visit our tutorial for easy bean bag holiday gnomes (the absolute cutest, and a free template is included!). Upcycle plastic packaging into yarn-wrapped snowflakes for a wonderful fine motor skill activity. Or surprise your kids with some early holiday magic using our free printable personalized Santagram.
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!
With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community.
When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.