Easy Recycled Tree Craft Ideas for Kids • Kids Activities Blog

Use recycled materials to make these tree craft ideas!

Our tree craft ideas are perfect for any season. They are a great way to talk to kids about how trees change with the seasons and are a wonderful recycled art and craft project for Earth Day.

tree art and craft for kids made out of paper bags and paint
Make paper trees out of paper bags and paint for every season.

Tree Craft Ideas

We are going to use cookie cutters as stencils to paint leaves on paper bag trees.

Cookie cutters are easy stencils that children can move around the paper after painting inside them. The cookie cutter can be turned over, turned diagonally, or just slid down the paper making this a great craft for preschoolers.

Related: 16 Nature Crafts for Kids

Some children jump right into painting and creating. Others prefer to have a little more structure to what they are painting and really like to know that it is going to look like the image they pictured in their minds. Cookie cutter stencils give those types of children the opportunity to relax and just enjoy the process. They open the door for them to take other risks like stencil placement and paint color.

You need cardboard or brown paper bags, paint, and cookie cutters to make these paper tree craft ideas.
Gather old paper bags, paint, and cookie cutters to make paper tree crafts.

Supplies needed to make recycled paper trees

  • Old paper bags or cardboard
  • Paint
  • Cookie cutters in leaf and flower shapes
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Cookie cutters of any shape and size make for easy stencils that could be used to decorate the tree. We happened to have fall leaf and flower cookie cutters of various sizes at our house.

Instructions for making recycled paper trees

step 1 for making a paper tree craft is to cut a tree trunk and the top of a tree out of a paper bag
Cut a tree trunk and the top of a tree out of a brown paper bag.

Step 1

Using a pencil, draw a tree trunk and the top of a tree onto a brown paper bag or piece of cardboard, and then cut them out.

step 2 for making tree craft ideas is to use leaf shaped cookie cutters to paint leaves on a paper tree
Use a leaf cookie cutter as a stencil for painting leaves on your paper tree.

Step 2

Place the leaf or flower cookie cutters onto the paper and then paint inside them like you are using a stencil.

By using a stencil to create the leaves and knowing what they would look like, we open the door to being willing to experiment with some of the other elements of painting.

fall leaves painted on a brown paper bag using a leaf cookie cutter as a stencil
Try mixing colors to paint leaves for different seasons.

Colors were also experimented with. Traditional fall colors of orange, red, and yellow can be added to an autumn tree. For spring, you can add colorful flowers to your tree too.

a paper bag spring tree craft with leaves and flowers painted using cookie cutters and paint
Glue the tree trunk onto the top of your tree.

Step 3

Use a glue stick to attach the tree trunk to the top of the tree.

Our finished tree craft ideas
tree craft ideas for preschoolers using a recycled paper bag, paint, and cookie cutters.
Tree craft ideas for every season.

Prep Time
5 minutes

Active Time
20 minutes

Total Time
25 minutes


Estimated Cost


  • Recycled brown paper bag or cardboard
  • Cookie cutters – leaf and flower shapes
  • Paint in assorted colors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick


  1. Sketch a tree trunk and the top of a tree onto a brown paper bag or piece of cardboard, and then cut them out.
  2. Place a leaf or flower cookie cutter onto the top of the tree and paint inside it. Continue moving the cookie cutter around the tree to paint leaves and flowers. Try mixing colors together too.
  3. Glue the tree trunk to the top of the tree.

More tree craft ideas from Kids Activities Blog

Have you made our recycled tree craft? Did you use an old cardboard box, paper, or something else?

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