How to Make a Palm Tree Out of PVC Pipe


For a tropical-themed party, school skit or community theater production, add a touch of the outdoors with palm trees. Assembled using paper for trunk and leaves, "prop" palm trees give your event the look and feel of the tropics. If you're making several palm trees, vary their heights for a more realistic effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Old bucket
  • Empty gallon-size tin can
  • Quick-set cement
  • 3 to 4 foot length of 3-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Brown paper lunch bags
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Green ridged bulletin board paper
  • Umbrella
  • Dark green or brown latex craft paint
  • Scissors
  • 1 to 2 yards of sand-colored fabric
  • Mix quick-set cement with water in an old bucket, following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Fill the gallon-size tin can to within 3 inches of the rim with cement mixture. Immediately insert bottom end of PVC pipe, centering it in the can. Hold the pipe vertical until the cement sets enough to hold the pipe up without leaning.

  • Cut off the bottom of the paper lunch bags. One at a time, thread them onto the PVC pipe from the top down. Squish the first one at the bottom, just above the set cement and secure it to the PVC pipe with hot glue. Continue with the remaining bags, squishing them as you go, to resemble the raised bark of palm tree trunks, until you reach the top of the PVC pipe.

  • Cut palm leaves from the green, ridged, bulletin board paper. Make each leaf large enough so that when it is attached to the center protruding spike of the open umbrella, it covers the fabric of the umbrella and hangs over the edge a little. Cut enough leaves to completely cover the umbrella.

  • Paint stems and veins on the palm fronds, using dark green or brown latex craft paint.

  • Clip the edges of the palm leaves with scissors. Make the clips about 2 to 3 inches deep into the edges of the palm leaves, to loosely resemble the look of real palm leaves.

  • Attach the palm leaves to the umbrella. Place the stem end of the leaves on or near the protruding center spike of the umbrella and attach with hot glue. Overlap the leaves as you attach them, to completely cover the fabric of the umbrella. Do not lay the leaves flat against the umbrella fabric; scrunch them a little to give the tree a more realistic look. Hold the scrunches in place with hot glue.

  • Insert the handle of the umbrella into the top of the PVC pipe.

  • Use the sand-colored fabric to camouflage the tin-can base of the palm tree. Wrap it around the tin can, bunching and scrunching it to resemble a hill of sand. Hold the fabric in place with hot glue. Allow the ends of the fabric to lay on the floor surrounding the tin can, to anchor the tree in a pool of fake sand.

Tips & Warnings

  • A small, self-mounted flag pole or microphone stand can be used in place of the cement-filled, tin can base. Simply slip the PVC pipe over the flag pole or stand and proceed with Step 3.

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  • Photo Credit Buena Vista Images/Lifesize/Getty Images
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