My oldest just graduated from 8th grade and is moving on to high school! I can’t believe it and I kind of want this growing up business to stop! Well – I’m actually ready for him to move onto the next stage because his 14 year old self has come with a bit of attitude and grumpiness. It’s to be expected I suppose, but I’m a little over this part. At our school it’s tradition for the 7th grade parents to plan and put on the 8th grade graduation dance. I did this last year and because I also have two 7th graders, I got to do it again! Lucky me! Someone else came up with the beach theme and asked me to make up some DIY palm trees. I absolute love how they turned out and figured it was worthy of a DIY blog post.
First things first – here are the supplies you’ll need for these DIY Palm Trees:
- large carpet rolls, which you can get free from most flooring places
- brown paper bags – I like the ones just bigger than lunch sacks, which I got from WINCO
- rubber bands – tan or green
- old or broken umbrellas
- green butcher paper
- hot glue
- side cutter pliers
- umbrella stand
Step 1. Deconstruct the umbrellas by cutting all the fabric off of the umbrella wires. Then use the side cutter pliers to cut off (about) every other umbrella wire. You will only want about 5 wires, to be the branches of the palm tree.
Step 2. Lay out the green butcher paper and place the center of the umbrella at the edge. Use one of the wires to determine how long to make the palm tree fronds. Trace the leaf shape around the wire, making it about 1 and a half times the length of the wire. I recommend folding the paper over a few times so you can get several fronds cut at once. You’ll need 5 per tree.
Step 3. Now it’s time to get the palm fronds looking good. Begin by folding each frond in half length-wise. Unfold it then fold it up accordion-style, about 1.5″ wide for each fold. Unfold the fronds and cut triangle wedges out of each side. How many and how big the wedges are is up to you. I did about 3-4 wedges on each side, and directly across from one another so each side was symmetrical.
Step 4. Using hot glue, attach the palm fronds to each umbrella wire. Use a good glob of hot glue at the center, then in a couple of spots down the length of the wire. For each remaining frond, use hot glue over the top of the previous fronds – in the center of the top. The umbrella wires are somewhat adjustable so you can move them to make it look symmetrical. The top part is done!
Step 5. To begin the palm tree trunks, you’ll want to make sure the carpet rolls are cut to a height you’re pleased with. This can be done with a hand saw or electric saw. Then you’ll set these aside and start with the brown paper bags by cutting the bottoms off of them – making them open on both ends.
Step 6. Once the bags are all cut and open on both ends, creating a cylinder, crumple them up. Slide the crumpled up bag over the carpet roll and secure in place with a rubber band. To make this process go faster you can pre-line the carpet roll with rubber bands, spaced about 8-10 inches apart. Then slide the next paper bag on and have it tuck under or over the previous back. Secure the two bags together with one rubber band. Just make sure you go over or under the same direction for every bag you add. Repeat until the carpet roll is completely covered with crumpled brown bags and secured with rubber bands.
Step 7. Place the umbrella inside one open end of the carpet roll. Your tree is now made, but it needs something to hold it up. Umbrella stands work great for this and it’s okay if they’re a little tippy – it gives them more character! Keith made up a few umbrella stands out of wood, because I could only round up a few umbrella stands. Either way works. You’re all done!
It’s fun to create varying heights of diy palm trees, and you can even have them criss cross each other. Providing it’s not a windy day, you can use these around the yard for a luau, or they make for awesome indoor decorations for any beach-themed party! To make them even more fun, you can string them with Christmas lights. They were a hit at the 8th grade graduation dance, and got tons of compliments. Easy peasy and quite an affordable project!