Hey guys! I’m back and I come baring another fun cotton project! A DIY cotton tree!

Before we get started, if you missed my DIY Cotton Wreath, click here! You’re going to need it in a bit!

Today I’m going to show you how I made this super cute cotton tree for less than $5. It would have been free had I not ran out of glue sticks!

diy cotton tree

How cute is that cotton tree?!

I recently bought a new microwave and if you’re like me, you save a million boxes because you never know what size you’re going to need when you start wrapping gifts. (Hopefully that isn’t just me, anyway!)

So I started going through boxes and saw that the microwave box had some Styrofoam inside and a light bulb went off. I can make something out of this!

I decided to make a tree-form out of this Styrofoam because I’ve just been itching to find a new way to use the cotton I showed y’all to make here. If you buy cone shaped foam in stores it can cost up to $12 each depending on the size you want and look — you can just make your own for free!

Okay, let’s go.

Cotton Tree Tutorial

Materials Needed:

  • Styrofoam
  • Glue Gun
  • Glue Sticks
  • Pine Cones
  • Cotton Balls
  • Knife or Box Cutter

If you need cotton balls, I suggest these. Great price for the amount you get! Click here for the Cotton Balls.

And if you’re in the market for a new hot glue gun, this is the one I use. I have had it for YEARS and haven’t had any problems. Very inexpensive and it heats up so fast! And compact to boot. Click here for the Hot Glue Gun.

Gather your materials!

Let me warn you, though — this will be messy. But like I’ve told you before, messes can be cleaned up so just keep going.

Decide what size you want your tree to be. Keep in mind the cotton will make the final product look bigger because of the fluff so I suggest making the form a little smaller than what you really want. You can always build up the size.

Start by gluing the two side legs together at the top. Make sure you glue this well. (Also, notice the mess? It will be everywhere but it’s nothing a broom can’t handle!)

Very important tip: Make every “leg” the same size. I promise you’ll notice if you don’t.

Once your three legs are glued together, you’ll notice there are gaps between them. If the gap is a decent size (like mine were) you’ll want to cut some extra pieces of Styrofoam and fill them in. This doesn’t have to be perfect. You just want the cotton to have something to be glued onto.

Note: I only made three legs because I planned on having mine with the back sitting against something. If you’re putting this on a table where you can see all sides, you’ll need to go ahead and add four legs.

Just glue it and stick it in! Nothing too complicated.

If you have corner pieces of Styrofoam, those work great for the bottom. You don’t have to fill in every single gap, just enough to make sure the cotton bolls can stick to something.

See, it isn’t perfect. But that doesn’t matter because you’re going to cover it all up.

If you missed the tutorial on how to make realistic cotton bolls out of pine cone scales and cotton balls, just click here and you’ll be all caught up and ready to go!

From here, just start gluing on your cotton bolls. Any way you’d like — there’s no wrong way to do this. Start at the top, start at the bottom, start on the sides or smack dab in the middle — just start somewhere!

Once you have the majority of your tree form covered, if you see small spots that need to be filled but your cotton bolls are too big, just get a cotton ball and pull on it a little so it isn’t too round and just stick it in the bald spots.

That’s it!

DIY Cotton Tree

I initially had it sitting on another table but decided it didn’t fit in there. (I still wanted to use the picture below, though!)

cotton tree

If you’re like me and you want your cotton tree to really look authentic, dirty it up! I didn’t want mine to look too clean or manufactured — I wanted some character. All you have to do is take a pine cone scale, pull it apart and just stick the pieces around your tree. There’s no wrong way to do this — just add it where you see fit. I even took the dirt/grit from where I had pulled the pine cone apart and sprinkled it on like I was salting some food.

cotton tree

I’m loving all the “natural” decorations I’ve incorporated into my home this year. It adds a whole new feel to Christmas. Being able to look around and see the pretty things you’ve made (and mostly for free!) that you’ll be able to use time and time again just feels really, really good. I hope you try the same this year!

If you make this tree and want to use it again next year, I suggest finding a box you can store it in by itself. Anything and everything will stick to the cotton and considering it’s made from foam, it would be really easy to squish and lose it’s form.

I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did! Let me know if you give it a try.

Before you go, head over to the Joyful & Jittery Facebook page and give it a like! I’d love to have you over there.


Leave a Reply