How to make a dorm-style Christmas treeDecember 11th, 2009
December is a particularly hectic time for college students: in addition to all the normal holiday preparations and festivities, we have an extra hurdle: finals! For this reason, most of us can’t get out in time to get a Christmas tree, even a little one, before it’s time to go home for winter break. So, inspired by Pooh’s tree from Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too, I decided to bring a little holiday cheer to my dorm suite by making a wall-mounted paper tree. I think it worked out pretty well, and only took an afternoon to print and assemble. (Click images to enlarge.)
The first step is to print out your tree. I used The Rasterbator to transform my tree template into a huge, rasterized image of my tree in easily-printable PDF format. You can adjust the size of the image to fit your wall space; mine came out at 30 pages, measuring about 40″x60″. Make sure to follow the instructions on the website for best printed results.
Once you have printed out the tree, lay out the pages on the floor so you can see how they should be taped together. Trim away the white space from the each pages. Since very few printers can print all the way to the edge of the paper, all the pages will have some white space on the edges. The pages that have interior tree segments should be trimmed with care because the edges need to match up when you tape them together. The edge pages can be trimmed a little less tediously, because a little extra white space on the edge isn’t so noticeable once it’s on the wall.
Once each page is trimmed, the tree is ready to assemble. Piece the tree together upside down on the floor, then tape the edges together. I found that I had to use quite a bit of tape to get the edges to line up nicely and not show the wall through the final picture, but there’s probably a better way that I didn’t think of. Tape was easy to use, and I had it on hand. Either painter’s tape or scotch tape would be fine for this image because the whole thing is dark, but I’ve taped rasterbated images together with painter’s tape before and been sorry later because the blue tape showed through the white parts of the image.
Use painter’s tape to mount the assembled tree on the wall. I had to use painter’s tape because my dorm won’t let me use anything else on the walls, but other means of adhesion probably would have worked just as well. Make sure you mount it near an electrical outlet so you can plug in the lights. Next, using clear scotch tape, starting at the top, tape the Christmas tree lights on the tree, winding your way down until you get to the bottom. I liked the clear tape because it blends in pretty well, but I had to use a lot of it because it doesn’t stick terribly well. Make a paper star to tape on top and stick it up there.
I think the final result looks pretty nifty. We put ours about a foot above the floor and over a little bench so we could put presents underneath. It won’t fool anyone during the day, but at night with the colored lights on the effect is rather striking. It would also look pretty cool with paper ornaments taped on.
I say it’s a dorm-style tree, but it would be great for anyone living in an apartment, condo, or other small space. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than buying a real tree for me, because I have a quota with my college’s printing system that I haven’t maxed out yet. I’m not sure if printing 30 color pages would have been more expensive than a real tree if I had to pay for the ink myself. It’s certainly cheaper once you factor in the cost of ornaments.
If anyone else tries this out, I’d love to hear about it!