The Magical Forest

Looking to decorate your classroom or home with an adorable winter project?  I have 2 projects that are very easy, low cost and make a big impact.  

Consider creating ……



If you have been following me you know I love the outdoors, landscapes and our National Parks here in the United States. I love bringing that outdoor inspiration inside my classroom. 

Painted Paper Trees Mural

Here is what you will need :

A roll of craft paper 18″ tall

Previously painted paper

Scissors, pencils, glue

White oil pastels and white tempera paint with No. 6 paintbrush

First item my little artists created were painted paper trees. They folded a 9″ x 6″ inch piece of previously painted paper in half. Being sure to start in the corner of the folded paper, they drew half a triangle using pencil. Once the paper is open it will be symmetrical. Students added lines with white oil pastels and white tempera paint to give a more graphic look. 


Students created paint paper earlier in the year and we stored it until we needed some vibrant construction paper for projects.  Want to know how to create painted paper? Check out this blog post on Creating Painted Papers 101.

Trees were then laid out on inexpensive brown craft paper, overlapped and glued down creating a realistic landscape image.


Some simple painted clouds, and a circle sun tucked under some trees at the horizon, were added to complete the mural.



Processed with MOLDIV

In my classroom students often create items that are grouped with other students to create a large collaborative mural. This is a common creative process in our art room and the students love seeing the displayed pieces. They often point and comment on how neat it is to see their individual items displayed as an entire group.  


Cardboard Pattern Trees


Here is what you will need:

Thin cardboard sheets in various sizes

Tempera paint in shades of blues and greens

Small strips of painted paper for tree trunk

Pencil, glue, scissors

Flat paintbrush


Step One: With pencil, draw out a simple shape for your desired tree. Add a fun pattern to your tree. and a strip of painted paper for the trunk. 



Next, with your tempera paint fill in shapes and patterns on your tree. 


Have fun with your colors and designs!


When your trees are dry, cut around the shape leaving a little border of the cardboard. Grab some modeling clay and stand your tree in the clay. I used modeling clay because it will not mark up my counters and doesn’t dry out.



FYI: Be careful where you place your forest, don’t place it on a table where the clay could leave a stain or mark. 


Set up, sit back and enjoy a cup of cocoa while admiring your delightful forest.

Keep on creating!

Laura 🙂

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  • Reply
    August 8, 2017 at 3:03 am

    Is there a printer friendly version of this?

    • Reply
      August 8, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Hi Myda, not at this time. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Hi very nice picture.! we are organizing a kids event and would love to use that pic as a background, is that okay with you?
    I am from Switzerland btw 🙂

    • Reply
      September 2, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Hi Debi,
      Thanks for asking. Yes you may use it for your event. Please email me a photo of it in your event, so excited to see! 🙂

      • Reply
        September 12, 2017 at 8:13 am

        Hi thanks you very much.! Yes please have a look
        /Users/deboraroesti/Desktop/KidsAktiv/Flyer/KidsAktiv Flyer 2017 druck.pdf

      • Reply
        September 12, 2017 at 8:15 am

        Hi thanks you very much.! Yes please have a look http://www.tokjo.ch/kidsaktiv/. We are very happy and grateful for your artwork.

  • Reply
    Stacey Peters
    November 28, 2017 at 9:55 pm


    Hi! This is Stacey from Expressive Monkey. Your lessons are just beautiful! I’ve enjoyed looking at your blog and pinning things to my Pinterest board. I want to make my own patterned trees, just for fun! 🙂 BTW I sent you a Facebook message this evening.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Hi there! Every thing is beautiful! I would like to do these projects with a couple of my art classes. Can you tell me where you find the thin cardboard sheets for your trees?

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Kristine,
      I found them in the Blick Art Catalog. 14 ply 22 x 28 inch piece of chipboard. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristine Drucker
    October 30, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I tried this with my 3rd graders and it turned out SO WELL!! The students got to work on collaboration while still having individual creativity. They loved the activity and now we have some beautiful art displayed in the class. I loved the painted paper (and so did my students) we will for sure be using that idea – and the whole forest – in future activities and future classrooms.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      Ainsley, Thank you! So happy to hear you had so much fun!!! xox Laura

  • Reply
    Sara Mincy
    February 13, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    these are just gorgeous! I love your art projects! Sooo inspiring ?

    • Reply
      February 14, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Thank you so much!!!

  • Reply
    Emma Lane
    February 1, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Laura – I am a pre-service teacher who has chosen to teach this Art project as part of an assessment. What age group does it suit the most? I would be thinking grade 3-5?

    • Reply
      February 15, 2022 at 7:43 pm

      3-5th would be a good age.

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