November 21, 2011

Christmas Countdown Tree

 This post was originally shared at Under the Table and Dreaming 
as part of the Styrofoam Brand Foam Handmade Holidays series.
I was provided with the Styrofoam materials 
in exchange for creating and sharing this project.

One thing I've learned having young children 
is that they LOVE to count down to special occasions.  
Whether it's a holiday, birthday or special trip, 
they will constantly be asking "How many more days?"  
So when I was invited to create a holiday craft using 
STYROFOAM Brand Foam, I knew just what I wanted to make ~ 
 a special Christmas Countdown Tree for our mantle.

Here's what you'll need:

  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam:
    • One 18"x12"x1" white block
    • Twenty-four 1" balls
    • One 4x1/2" white star
  • Green fabric ( I used three fat quarters )
  • Brown fabric ( just a little bit )
  • toothpicks or sharp pencil
  • acrylic paints
  • Extra long ball head pins ( 1 3/4" long )

Here's what to do:

1.  Start with your white block of STYROFOAM Brand Foam, your green fabric and a toothpick.

2.  Lightly sketch a tree shape on the white block of STYROFOAM Brand Foam and cut it out with a sharp knife.

3.  Now take your green fabric and cut it into squares (approx. 1 1/2").  I used pinking sheers to make them a bit more pine-needle like, but I don't think it's really necessary.  (It's also not necessary to iron your fabric or be precise when cutting your squares!)

4.  Now, let's turn this all into a cool looking tree!  Take a square of fabric and pinch it onto the end of your toothpick (or sharp pencil, etc.).  Then use the toothpick to push the fabric into the STYROFOAM Brand Foam tree shape ~ no glue needed!

5.  You'll want your pieces pretty close together so they completely cover the tree shape.

6.  I just have to share how much my girls (ages 6 and 9) LOVED helping with this step.  All I had to do was start the bottom few rows, take a second to show them how to do it, then step back while they finished the rest of the tree!

7.  When the front and sides of your tree are completely covered in fabric, cut a few strips of brown fabric for the trunk.  (mine were approx 1/2" wide) and wrap them around the trunk of the tree.  Just use the toothpick to press in the ends of the fabric to attach it.

8.  At this point, your tree looks pretty good.  The texture of the ruffled pieces of fabric actually resembles the needles of a Christmas tree.  You could easily keep your tree looking just like this and  it would be lovely.  However, with three kids, I knew I wanted to make mine a little bit more colorful and interactive.

9.  To make ornaments, you'll need your 1" balls and 4 1/2" star of STYROFOAM Brand Foam.  Using acrylic paints, paint each shape with the colors of your choice.  I found that it was super easy to paint the shapes using a foam brush and dabbing the paint on.

10.  I debated the various ways to attach the colorful ornaments and star to the tree.  In the end, I found that using extra long ( 1 3/4" ) ball head pins worked great.  They're long enough to go through the 1" ball and then stick into the tree without going through the back.  It's also easy to remove the balls later.

11.  When the month of December starts, we'll take turns adding one of the 24 ornaments each day and then top our tree with the star on Christmas morning. 


I'm so pleased with the way our Christmas Countdown Tree turned out and I can't wait for December 1st so we can begin using it.  I also learned two things working with STYROFOAM Brand Foam... 

1. My girls and I loved the texture we created by pushing fabric into the foam.  Without a doubt, we'll be using this technique on other projects ~ I'm thinking wreaths and even cutting sheets to make their initials.  

2.  I was surprised how easy it was to paint the pieces STYROFOAM Brand Foam.  I know I'll be purchasing all sorts of different shapes and sizes now and painting them to fit my project needs.

Stop by Stephanie Lynn's spectacular blog to see the rest of the projects created for this series!


Sharing our tree at: 


  1. I love this! Especially how you squished the fabric up to add texture to the tree. Great job!!

  2. Nicely done. Excellent tutorial with great photo step by step.

  3. What a cute idea!

    I'd love for you to link up and share:

  4. Okay this is seriously BRILLIANT and I am definitely making one with my kids. Thank you so much for posting such a detailed tutorial!!!

  5. That is gorgeous ! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  6. Adorable. My daughter would love doing this. Thanks for sharing!

  7. looove this! Great idea! I made a digital Christmas countdown, and you can share your wishes too!

  8. Thanks for linking up to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at -- you were featured today!!

  9. Love this tree and a simple and fun way to countdown to Christmas.

  10. What a great looks fab and so lovely to see the tree getting it's decorations throughout the month of december. I love this idea!

  11. I just made this with my girls. I always leave A LOT of room for "interpretation" when they make anything; but this time, it turned out just the way I wanted. It is very cute. Thanks for the easy project with easy to follow and understand instructions for a budding craftswoman.

  12. Adorable!!! I love the styroform balls!!

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  13. Cute, cute, cute! I love your tutorial and it turned out so beautiful! I'd love for you to link it up at TGIF!
    Beth =-)

  14. This is precious and would keep my girls entertained for at least a little while, love it!!!!

  15. what a great idea!! love it and so will my kids!!!

    Would love it if you could share this on my link party at

    Natasha xxx

  16. This looks like so much fun! Cool idea! New follower here. Would love it if you would stop by and share this at my link party going on right now :)

    Have a great week!!

  17. Such a clever idea! And your cute little girls look like they are having so much fun. :)
    I see that everyone's asking, but I'd love it if you'd link it up at Creations by Kara.

  18. i've done something like that with my niece - we took a map paper, made a cones and wrapped it in a green tinsel, it looked like a real christmas tree!

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