Idea 38: Pipe Cleaner Tree

crafty time tree.pierik.19.21 Idea 38

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Pipe cleaner tree

Save a bit of that Styrofoam and cardboard and try making this tree!

Ages: All. Materials: Long pipe cleaners, masking tape, glue, Styrofoam, cardboard, sand, cotton balls or other foliage, paint. Tools: Scissors, paintbrushes. Difficulty: easy. Cost: low. Time: one or more hours of fun!

1. Twist

Joggle several pipe cleaners to slightly different lengths. Twist them all together at the trunk, working to fewer for branches and roots.

2. Wrap

Now let’s make the bark of the tree. Wind strips of masking tape around the trunk and roots. A slight overlap is good and single layer is enough. Add knots and texture with your thumbnails.

3. Base

Break a roughly palm-sized hill of Styrofoam apart with your fingers, to the size desired. Wrap the roots over the top. Trace and cut cardboard and glue down. Brush glue over the top and dust with sand. Let dry. Paint the trunk, branches and roots brown, the base black, then greens. Let dry.

4. Foliage

Soak cotton balls in watered-down green paint, squeeze excess liquid. Let dry. Add glue to top of branches, pull cotton balls to desired shapes, glue on, paint with glue to strengthen. Let dry. Touch up paint to accent light and shadows.

5. Scenic tree

This inviting tree adds natural shape and color to any diorama. It’s also fairly durable for kids to play with.

What would you like to see next in Crafty Time? Visit for more photos and project ideas.  Please email your photos and feedback to or call 360-426-4412. Visit our office to see the display!

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