Christmas Tree Decorating in Miniature: DIY Origami Stars and Pinecones

Who loves a Charlie Brown Christmas tree? Although I love the glitz, shimmer and sparkle of a tree done up to the nines, there’s something about a simple tree that gets me every time. I’ll also admit that I ascribe to the Scandinavian design aesthetic, so modern simplicity is kind of my jam. Which explains my soft spot for the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

While scouting a few ideas for outdoor Christmas decorating at my favorite greenhouse, I saw a petite little live tree that made my heart go pitter patter. At three feet tall, it’s sweet, small and easy to maneuver. It will also be easy to plant when the holiday season is over. (That’s me being unrealistically optimistic about how frozen the ground will be here in New Hampshire come January.) The decision was made in a flash — no 7-foot cut tree for us this year. We went mini.

The best part of a small tree? You can scale back on decorations. All of my existing ornaments and garlands were too big for this mini tree, so I went back to the drawing board. A handful of copy paper, a roll of baker’s twine and a few leftover mini pinecones from another project seemed like a good place to start. The result is a very sweet, natural and simple tree. Our daughter loves it because it’s just her size. Our pets haven’t messed with it AT ALL (a Christmas miracle unto itself). It may be the most perfect tree ever. 

As for my super easy DIY garlands — don’t be intimidated by the origami stars. I promise you, they are simple to make. A perfect activity for a relaxed evening of Christmas movie watching. No place on your tree for a star garland? This garland also looks pretty spectacular in red hanging from our mantle. Give it a shot. It’s soothing. Think of it as knitting for paper folding nerds like me.

 Click on the images below to bring up a photo gallery and see the how-to photos in larger format.


Step 1

 Open Galleryorigami starsI start off by cutting strips of regular copy paper lengthwise, so that they’re 1/2 inch by 11 inches. Then the first step in folding is to create a small loop at one end.

Step 2

 Open Galleryorigami starsFeed the short end through the loop, as if you were going to tie a knot.

Step 3

 Open Galleryorigami starsGently tighten the knot, making sure that the short end stays pretty short.

Step 4

 Open Galleryorigami starsTurn the paper so the short end is at the bottom.

Step 5

 Open Galleryorigami starsFold the short end up and over the crossed paper.

Step 6

 Open Galleryorigami starsNow tuck the short end under the top layer of the crossed paper.

Step 7

 Open Galleryorigami starsNow you have a pentagon with a tail. Which is cool in its own right, but we’ve got plans for this little sucker, so let’s move along, shall we?

Step 8

 Open Galleryorigami starsFold the tail so that it wraps over where you just tucked in the short end, allowing the paper to fold to follow the shape of the pentagon.

Step 9

 Open Galleryorigami starsContinue to fold and wrap the tail around the pentagon. When you come to the end of the tail, tuck it into the fold in the same way that you tucked the short end in Step 6.

Step 10

 Open Galleryorigami starsThis is where your pentagon becomes a star. Use your fingernail to make an indent in the middle of one of the flat edges of the pentagon, and then continue around, indenting each side.

Step 11

 Open Galleryorigami starsOh, heeeeeeeey. Origami star. Pretty cute, right?

Step 12

 Open Galleryorigami starsTo make your stars into a garland, pierce the star through one of the indents so that the needle comes out of the top point. (This ensures the thread won’t pull the indent out and collapse the star.)

Step 13

 Open Gallerypinecone garlandThe mini pinecone garland is even easier. Grab some mini pinecones and some cute baker’s twine in festive colors.

Step 14

 Open Gallerypinecone garlandWrap the twine underneath the pinecone scale so that the twine overlaps and gently pull taut. I found that I didn’t need to tie a knot — the scales held the twine like Velcro.

Step 15

 Open Gallerypinecone garlandAll that’s left is to string your garlands on your tree. Simple, easy, cute and inexpensive. The mini tree has my vote, hands down. Long live the Charlie Brown Christmas tree!

About Ellen Foord 


A tight budget has never stopped Ellen Foord from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every day as one of life's smaller celebrations. A freelance writer and ...

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