DIY Miniature Christmas and Winter Trees

Make trees to add to dioramas and villages

Miniature trees can add a finishing touch to the landscape of your winter diorama. You don't have to shop for them as you can make your own at home. Learn how to make realistic evergreens, palm trees, or stylized white paper versions for backdrops for nativity scenes, train sets, or Christmas villages. Most of these miniature trees require very few materials and they can be used in stand-alone groups for holiday decorating. They are inexpensive, so you can create as many as you wish.

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    Realistic Miniature Evergreen or Christmas Tree

    miniature christmas tree
    Lesley Sheperd

    When your setting needs to evoke the north woods, a realistic evergreen tree is a popular choice. It adds a touch of green or you can further decorate it as a miniature Christmas tree for a doll's house Christmas display or the community tree in the square of a Christmas village or railroad diorama. The tree is made from a bottle brush and lycopodium moss. It can last for decades and become part of an heirloom set.

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    Three dolls house scale pine cones on a branch made from lycopodium moss.
    Dolls house scale tree cones made from paper and wire on a scale miniature tree branch made from lycopodium moss (princes pine). Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    If you want to make your tiny evergreen trees or greenery look even more realistic for your model display, add these easy-to-assemble cones to the trees. The cones are made from punched circles of paper, attached to wires so they can be easily positioned on the tree or greenery.

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    Scale miniature palm tree set behind a porcelain building in a Christmas Nativity set.
    Scale miniature palm tree made from fabric plant leaves and paper used for a miniature Christmas nativity scene. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Miniature palm trees have used including cake decorations for retirement or bon voyage parties, Christmas Nativity dioramas, and gaming terrains set in tropical climates. The trees can be made in any size you want. You can make them from painted paper, or use silk plant leaves you cut to suit your particular type of palm. The palm trunks are made by wrapping wire stems with dry brushed kraft paper.

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    Snowflake trees in a miniature Christmas village
    These miniature winter trees made from stacks of paper snowflakes are a great addition to a Christmas village or winter table setting. Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

    These are a great family project or a way to showcase a collection of snowflake styles. You can start with a single branched style of snowflake cut from a square of white printer paper. You can modify the technique to make trees of all types and colors of paper and snowflake designs. They are easy to make with simple materials so you can add as many as you wish to decorate your Christmas village or train diorama.

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  • 05 of 06
    Shaping the branches of a model tree so they spread out in three dimensions.
    The upper branching layers of a tree have a distinctive canopy shape which varies from species to species. The upper branches must be shaped as if they were growing towards the light. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    If you want bare branches for a fall or winter scene, you can make them easily from paper wrapped wire and acrylic paint. These trunks and branches can be used alone, or with moss, fibers, or punched paper or silk leaves to make a range of deciduous or evergreen trees in any model scale. They work well for model railroads and nativities, as well as dollhouse landscapes.

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    Ice covered tree in a quarter scale teacup scene.
    1:48 scale ice covered tree in a winter cabin scene in a teacup. The tree is made from dried weeds. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Icy branches can add just the touch you want to a winter scene. These work well for smaller scale villages, like a quarter scale log cabin in a teacup scene. You can easily make ice-covered trees using artist's medium and sections of dried weeds. Microbeads can use to give a tree the effect of having berries.