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Paper Tree

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This paper tree is based on a project I’m working on for an educational group. They very kindly gave me permission to post it on the website.

I’m making this quick project available as a free download for all members. Thanks for signing up, memberships are my main source of income and I literally couldn’t run the web site without you. Thank you.


The tree is based on a simple fractal design. Fractals are self repeating patterns like those found in crinkly coastlines, mountain profiles and of course trees.

In Illustrator I started off with a truck and added a couple of different size branches at slightly different angles. I then copied these branches, reduced their size and added them to the end of the first branches.

This process is repeated one more time, with the occasional mirror flip of the branches to add a bit of randomness.

Finally I used Illustrator’s excellent Pathfinder tool to merge all the shapes in to one outline. Quick and easy!


Here, the three parts that make up the tree are printed onto card, cut out and are ready to go. How you cut them out is up to you. I used my laser cutter because I’m making five hundred of them! A small forest of paper trees which I’m really looking forward to seeing completed. You can use scissors and a knife or a plotter cutter if you have access to one of those.


The vertical slot needs to be wide enough to accommodate thick card. If you have used thin card you may need to add a dab of glue under each tab to hold the pieces into place.


I cut out loads of leaves on suitably autumnal coloured card. Again, scissors work but if you can automate the process it will save you a fair bit of time. The leaves have slots in them to hold them to the tree trunk and branches. Spend a little relaxing time decorating your tree with leaves then perhaps top it off with a bluebird.

I’ve finished off the scene by scattering the remaining leaves around the base of the trunk.

There you have it, a paper tree. I hope it goes well for The Archive!

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