These button and cardboard Christmas trees are a great Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers to make, and a fun preschool painting technique too!
When it comes to art techniques for kids, I love to think outside of the box, and get the hooligans creating in fun and unusual ways. Today we’re painting with pony beads – a simple but very fun art process to make adorable ornaments for the Christmas Tree. I love that this is an ornament that LOOKS like a miniature Christmas tree itself.
In the past, we’ve used golf balls for this painting process but because our button trees are quite small, and golf balls are not, I looked for a substitute. You could use marbles for this process, but we didn’t have any, so I figured pony beads would be the next best thing. They worked well!
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- cereal box
- paint (green, brown and whatever other colours you want to decorate your tree with)
- colourful buttons
- jumbo craft sticks
- hole punch
- thread or cord or yarn for hanging
- cardboard box
- pony beads
Making our Cardboard and Button Tree Ornaments:
To start, I gave each of the hooligans a panel from a cereal box, and they painted it with several shades of green acrylic paint. We could’ve just used one shade of green, but it’s way more fun to mix and swirl a few colours together, and using a few shades adds interest and dimension to whatever you’re painting.
After they’d painted their cardboard panels, I sped up the drying process with the help of a hair-dryer.
The girls then chose the colours they wanted to decorate their trees with. One went with bright colours, the other chose metallic reds and golds.
Painting with pony beads:
One at a time, we popped their green panels into a cardboard box, squeezed in a few drops of each paint colour, and tossed in a few pony beads.
Then the hooligans shook and bounced their beads around the box, splattering the coloured paint around.
Next, I drew a triangle on the back of each painting, and the girls cut out their “trees”. Older children will be able to do this by themselves, while younger ones will need some assistance. Help only as much as necessary. An important part of the process is giving your child the opportunity to develop his or her fine-motor skills. The hooligans get lots of scissor practice here, and Miss 3 required no help at all, following those lines like a pro. Miss 2 is beginning to master skill of cutting paper, but the cardboard was challenging, so I kind of put my hand over hers, and (a little awkwardly) helped her cut through the cardboard.
With their trees cut out, they got down to decorating with their buttons.
Squeezing glue from a bottle is great for building hand muscles and co-ordination, but to be honest, most of those bottles are hard even for ME to squeeze, so I like to pour a bit of glue into a small paper or plastic ketchup cup, (ahem, yes, I have been known to pocket a few of those every time I find myself at a fast-food restaurant. Coffee stir sticks are another favourite of mine, but I digress… ) and they dip in with a paint brush.
Each girl got a handful of buttons to glue all over their Christmas trees.
To finish, they each painted a craft stick and stuck it to the back of their tree.
Aren’t these trees sweet? They remind me of something you’d see in Whoville!
And there you have it! Super-cute, super-easy Button Christmas Tree Ornaments. I hope you’ll give these a go at your house this Christmas!
Looking for more easy and affordable Christmas crafts for kids? See all of our holiday projects and activities on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.