How to Make a Christmas Tree Out of Styrofoam Balls and Toothpicks

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Making tabletop Christmas trees from Styrofoam balls and toothpicks is one of those DIY crafts that requires zero natural artistic talent. All you need are some simple craft supplies and about 10 minutes of free time to create funky little trees that will be part of your Christmas decorations for many years to come.


It's quick and simple to make a basic tree with white or green balls of polystyrene foam, aka Styrofoam.

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Green foam balls are often sold as "floral foam" and can be found on Amazon or with the floral arranging supplies in arts and crafts stores.

Painting the trees or covering them with fake snow and other decorations can also be an easy way to customize them—especially if you don't like the look of plain green or white Styrofoam.

While you may be able to make a sturdy DIY Christmas tree with nothing but foam balls and toothpicks, using a cone as the core of your tree is the best bet for building a tree that lasts. Styrofoam cones come in a variety of heights, so you can use them to make anything from 6-in. tall centerpieces to 2-foot tall Christmas tree crafts.


Things You'll Need

  • Foam cone

  • Foam balls

  • Toothpicks

  • White glue (optional)

  • Dowels (optional)

  • Acrylic paint (optional)

  • Paintbrushes (optional)

  • Fake snow (optional)

How to Make a DIY Styrofoam Christmas Tree

1. Paint the foam balls first

This step is optional—but if you want to paint the foam a different color, it's best to do that before assembling the tree. You won't be able to get into all the nooks and crannies with a paintbrush once the tree is together, and using spray paint is never a good idea for Styrofoam. (It'll cause the surface of the foam to dissolve.)


The best way to paint Styrofoam is with acrylic paint. Stick a dowel into each ball so you can paint the entire surface without touching it. Stand each dowel in a glass to allow the painted foam to dry. Think about whether you want to paint one ball gold or cover it with sequins to use as a tree topper.


Make sure to paint the foam cone too.


If you're willing to take on a more labor-intensive holiday craft, consider decoupaging the Styrofoam balls with pieces of red, green or metallic tissue paper. All the layers of color will give your cone Christmas tree even more visual interest than you'll get from painting all the balls the same color.

2. Lay out the first layer

With the cone shape sitting on a tabletop, arrange a ring of foam balls around it. This will help you gauge how many balls you can fit into the bottommost layer of the tree and whether you need to leave a little room between each pair so the spacing is even.


3. Attach the first ball

Press a toothpick into one of the cones so half the toothpick sticks out. Set the ball on the table next to the cone and push it into the foam. If necessary, make a "pilot hole" in the cone so the exposed half of the toothpick slides into the cone (as opposed to the entire toothpick getting pushed into the ball).



Optionally for extra security, put a drop of glue next to the toothpick before attaching the ball to the cone.

4. Continue building the foam tree

Add a second ball to the tree. This time, stick two toothpicks in the ball: one that will slide into the cone, and one that will slide into the ball that's already on the tree. If you're using glue, add a drop to each place where the ball will touch another piece of foam. Continue until the entire first layer is complete.


Lay out a second layer of balls on top of the first to check for spacing, then repeat the process. This time, each ball should be connected to the cone, the balls on either side of it and and the ball below it.

Continue until the entire foam cone is covered.


Styrofoam is flammable, so never set up foam trees near candles or other heat sources.

5. Add the final touches

Once your basic foam tree is complete, you can either incorporate it into your home decor as-is, or add more decorative elements. These are a few ways to amp up a foam tree.

  • Add another layer of smaller foam balls! Use more toothpicks to attach them to any place where a gap reveals the foam cone beneath. They'll add more fullness to the tree.
  • Spritz the tree with a spray adhesive that's safe for use on foam materials. Sprinkle artificial snow powder all over the foam. (Mix the snow powder with Epsom salts and/or silver glitter for even more snow-like sparkle.)
  • Create miniature ornaments like tiny paper snowflakes to hang from the tree.
  • Drape narrow foil garland and miniature strands of faux Christmas lights around the tree.

And that's it! Making Styrofoam Christmas trees is one of those holiday craft projects that's fun to customize and nearly impossible to mess up beyond repair. Even if your finished tree doesn't look perfect, you can always dust it with another layer of fake snow!



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