Turning old books into Christmas trees

Tree made from an old diary, with buttons, rolled paper beads and origami star.

I saw these being made at a Woodland Festival and couldn’t wait to have a go when I got home! We’ll be making these to display in our house this Christmas, and maybe as gifts for family and friends too.

You need an old magazine, catalogue or book that you’ve finished reading and don’t mind repurposing. Rip the covers and any stiff end pages off, leaving the regular pages still joined together on the flexible spine. To get a completely circular ‘tree’ you need about 150 pages, although more looks great too. I used an old diary which had a beautiful plant illustration for each week for one example – and I’m really pleased with the pattern of the end result.

Next, start folding the pages. Fold the top right corner of the page down to the spine of the book. Then fold that triangle over again, to make a shape similar to a man’s tie. Then fold the bottom edge of the page up and tuck it inside the folds.

The second fold, tie-shaped. Next fold up the bottom point so it matches the bottom edge of the book/magazine.

Keep all the folds crisp and tight. As you go along you’ll see how the folds begin to form a cone shape at the top; try to keep the edges tight to the spine by pressing the book open as you go, so that your cone has a tight middle.

When you’ve finished, you should have a circular tree that will stand flat on its base. (My first attempt was with a magazine; it had 80 pages, so only made half a tree. But this could be useful if you want it to stand on a narrow shelf, or hang against a wall.) You could put the tree on top of a candle holder or similar if you want it to look as though it’s in a pot.

As for decorating your tree, the only limit is your imagination! I made an origami star for the top of the tree, then played around with strings of buttons, scraps of ribbon and rolled paper beads; you could add paint, glitter, baubles… whatever you’ve got in the craft cupboard.

My mini-forest of Christmas trees!

About Susan

I'm a busy mum of three who always has projects on the go and sometimes finishes them... I'm interested in greener parenting, reusing, repurposing and recycling fabric and veggie gardening and foraging. I blog about birth and breastfeeding at


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