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Altered Book Christmas Trees

I (Jenn) love trying new crafts. We have created a variety of projects this year from old books. After the adult services department had an extremely successful program making book pumpkins earlier this fall, I thought it might be fun to try something for Christmas. I found quite a few different ways to make these trees, but I’ve included my version below.

We had quite a few families attend our event. They were planning to have a family forest of trees!


Required Materials: old book (any size)

Optional materials: binder clips or paper clips, glue, glitter, paint, scissors or x-acto

Choose a book that can be altered or torn apart. Either hardback or paperback can be used. It is also possible to consider comic books, magazines or other books with lots of colorful pages.

[Note: Shop at the next Friends of the Library book sale in the spring! I pulled a variety of book choices from their shelves.]


photo collage of book tree folding steps

Carefully remove the book cover. Consider keeping hardcovers to use in future projects.

  1. Fold the top right corner down and inward as close to the spine/binding as possible and crease.
  2. Fold the bottom right corner up and crease. You may not want to fold all the way to the middle. (Try step 3 and see what your finished edge looks like. Once you find the perfect place, you may want to lightly mark the outside edge of the book in pencil so you know how far up you fold the rest of the pages.)
  3. Fold the entire page once more from right to left, as close to the binding as possible and crease. If the bottom isn’t a straight edge, go back to step 2 and refold your smaller bottom triangle.
  4. Repeat folds with each page. If the finished pages get in the way, don’t be afraid to crack the binding or pull them out of your way with a binder clip.
  5. When finished, you may need to secure the front and back page together with a glue.
  6. You may choose to add paint or glitter to the edges of your finished tree. Or add a topper.


You can download a printable copy of the instructions here. If you need more inspiration for turning old books into new works of art, check out these books in the craft section of the Library collection.

Happy holiday crafting!

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