Poinsettia Christmas tree

  • Approximately 1’ tall
  • Materials used: Cardboard, homemade paper mach paste, computer paper, masking tape, balloons, tin foil, paper clay, sandpaper, primer, copper spray paint, acrylic paint (black, white, green, yellow), gloss top coat spray, nail polish remover, velvet scrapbooking paper (red, dark red, green), seed beads, hot glue, gold ribbon, floral wire
  • Work time: 1 week


The urn was made by constructing a base out of cardboard and a paper mache balloon. Initially I used Mod Podge to paper mache the balloon, but it wasn’t stiff enough. So I made my own paste from flour and water and that gave it the right consistency. I dropped it a couple times on the floor and it didn’t dent.

The base was then reinforced by covering it in homemade paper clay, recipe from Ultimate Paper Mache. The bumps (sorry, I don’t know the technical term for those raised parts) were formed by gluing tin foil to the base and covering that in store-bought paper clay. I tried to use the homemade kind, but I discovered it’s as not sandable. After I shaped it to my liking, which involved a lot of clay application followed by sanding over and over again, I then primed it, spray painted it in copper, then sponged on black acrylic paint over it. After the black paint dried, I used non-acetone nail polish remover to expose the copper paint on some of the raised areas. Lastly, I sealed it with a glossy spray. Here’s a progression gif.

I apologize for the awful quality of this gif. They always taught us in school that documentation is important, but I always get so wrapped up in working that I forget. So these were just taken with my iPhone in the worst lighting possible, since I tend to work from the hours of 10PM to 6AM.

The poinsettia were made by cutting out velvet scrapbooking paper using a template from Eri Doodle that I resized for my tree. Each flower was 3 sets of petals, as opposed to the 5 from the template. They were just too tiny to have more sets. I creased the petals down the middle then glued the sets one on top of the other.

The centers were created with seed beads I had lying around the house. Unfortunately, they were red so I had to paint them in white, then in a shade of green that was 1 part green to 2 parts yellow from those basic acrylic paint sets. When they were dried, I put a dot of hot glue at the center of the flowers and placed 3-4 beads on it. The beads were so small I had to pick them up with the tip of an x-acto knife.

I then stacked 3 paper mache balloons in varying sizes in the urn to form the tree base. I glued the finished flowers to that. And finally, I made the bow.  It was made from one long spool of ribbon that I looped and cinched at the center with floral ribbon. I gotta say, this was probably the har