How to Make a Paper Palm Frond

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Paper palm fronds add a tropical flair to your party theme.
Paper palm fronds add a tropical flair to your party theme. (Image: green palm image by Anne-Catherine Scoffoni from Fotolia.com)

Palm fronds are a dramatic way to add a tropical touch to an indoor party or get-together. Real palm fronds are not available in many areas, and are expensive to buy in others. Bring an outdoor summer feel to your celebration by making lightweight paper palm fronds for your next tropical or luau-themed party. Basic materials and simple construction make this a project children can participate in with proper adult supervision. Place several fronds with several silk hibiscus flowers in glass vases on tables for a festive tropical floral decoration.

Things You'll Need

  • Green medium-weight construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Thin bamboo garden stake
  • Green spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Pruning shears

Cut a large rectangle out of the construction paper. Cut the paper at least 5 inches shorter than your bamboo stake. Fold the paper in half vertically. Measure the folded paper and make a mark at the halfway point with a pencil on the open side of the fold.

Using the ruler to draw a straight line, draw a line from each bottom folded edge up to the halfway mark on the open edge. Drawing freehand, draw a curved line slightly outside the straight line from each folded edge to the middle mark.

Cut along the curved line from one folded end to the middle mark and up to the other folded end. Open the paper and lay it flat. It should look like an elongated leaf shape with points on each end, longer than it is wide. Use this first leaf shape as a template if you are making more than one frond.

Lay the bamboo stake on the newspaper. Shake the paint can according to the label instructions. Using long sweeping motions, lightly spray the stake with paint. Allow to dry. Turn the stake over and repeat on the other side. If necessary, apply a second light coat of paint. Let dry. Try blending two different shades of green paint for a natural mottled effect.

Plug the heat gun in and insert a glue stick. When the glue is hot, apply a thin bead of glue down the center fold from top to bottom. Position the stake so that one end meets the point at the end of the leaf with the other end overhanging the leaf. Press into the hot glue to secure it.

Cut frond slits into the leaf. Begin at the top pointed end and make cuts from the leaf edge toward the stake, leaving a 1 1/2 inch strip next to the stake uncut. Angle the cuts slightly downward toward the stem end for the most natural look. Vary the widths between slits but make sure they are far enough apart so that the fronds don't tear off.

Cut the overhanging piece of bamboo stem to the desired length with the pruning shears.

Tips & Warnings

  • Insert several paper palm fronds into a clay pot with soil for a quick tropical party decoration.
  • Vary the lengths of the bamboo stakes when grouping them together.
  • Use caution when operating a glue gun around children.

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