Things You\’ll Need
Roll of brown packing paper
Pile of old newspapers
Brown, black, yellow, orange tempera paint
Craft paint brushes
Brown packing paper can be made into a life-size tree trunk.
If you need to make a tree trunk to use as a prop or decoration, you can make your own at home using brown packing paper. Brown packing paper is an ideal material for constructing tree trunks for a stage design, or props for a haunted house.
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Determine how large you want the tree trunk to be. For a life-size tree trunk that will sit on a stage, 5 feet is a good medium-size trunk. Consider the size of your actors also. If they are children, the tree will look larger next to them. If the tree trunk if for an interactive design, such as a haunted house or fantasy display, it will need to be the full 5 feet or more. The width of the trunk should be adequate for it to stand on its own.
Lay out the brown packing paper and measure for desired tree trunk size. For a 5-foot tree, measure and cut 5 feet of paper. Connect the two long sides with staples at the top and bottom, and secure the seam with masking tape. For a taller tree, create another tube and add it to the end of this one with masking tape and staples. For a wider tree, and one that may be able to better stand on its own, make several shorter trunk sections by connecting the short ends of the brown packing paper.
Stand the trunk on its end, and tightly pack it with crumpled newspaper. The newspaper will offer stability and heft to your tree trunk. Use several strips of masking tape across the bottom opening of your tree trunk to secure the newspaper filling.
Cut a long section of brown packing paper off of the roll, then tear or cut it into narrow strips. Crumple the strips to soften the look of the paper, and staple them to the tree trunk from the top. Fold the top bit of the crumpled strip over the top of the trunk, fix it with a few staples, then staple again at the bottom. Add at least one layer of crumpled strips to give the tree trunk texture, and to hide the masking tape seams.
Add more color and texture to the packing paper tree trunk with tempera paint. Use several colors to highlight sections and give dimension to the trunk. Periodically step to the back of the room to get perspective on how your tree trunk looks from the audience perspective.
To secure the tree trunk in place on stage, affix the top or bottom to the floor or wall using a staple gun. Add branches and leaves in a similar way, using narrow pieces of twisted packing paper stapled to the top and sides of the trunk.