Asked on Nov 07, 2017

Cut out Christmas trees- what can I use?

by Noelle
I’m making these cut out trees for my church for the Christmas season(on a larger scale). We are not a mega church, therefore my budget is small. Cardboard has proven to not hold up to the rigors of the season for us, but plywood sheets get speedy. Can anyone think of a material that would work AND be less expensive than plywood?
q cut out christmas trees
  24 answers
  • Trisha Trisha on Nov 07, 2017
    Foam core boards.. but not sure if that would be cost-effective either. Have you tried using furniture or appliance boxes? Those things are sometimes very, very thick and sturdy.

  • E s desanna E s desanna on Nov 07, 2017
    You could use 1/2" foamcore. It will cut cleanly with a utility knife; change the blade as soon as it starts to dull. Mail order art suppliers have a variety. If you can't find large enough sheets, perhaps rigid insulation board would work.

  • Kauai Breeze Kauai Breeze on Nov 07, 2017
    Sheets of styrofoam or compressed hardboard. If anyone plans on removing old wooden paneling that would be good too. If you aren't too hard on it, sheetrock would work and it's easy to paint.

  • William William on Nov 07, 2017
    Foam board from Dollar Tree.

  • Rhonda Rhonda on Nov 07, 2017
    I was thinking scrap wood or some cheap hard wood.

  • Jason Jason on Nov 08, 2017
    Corrugated Plastic - White - 8 mm

  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Nov 08, 2017
    Foam board should work fine.

  • Donna Lee Scott Thomas Donna Lee Scott Thomas on Nov 08, 2017
    Although you said that cardboard won’t hold up, Rustoleum has a product called NeverWet available at Home Depot. You could collect pizza box tops from the congregation, cut them into separate boughs (or have them cut them!), and stack them like shingles. The added thickness would make the cardboard sturdier. Then, painting with home exterior paint, and using NeverWet should work well to protect your tree from the elements. Or maybe you could protect it by covering with Saran Wrap, which could make it look like your tree has been in an ice storm! Just brainstorming. Good luck!

  • Cyn13875733 Cyn13875733 on Nov 08, 2017
    Very lightweight, but much stronger than cardboard.
    What about doing some in melamine for the kiddos? They could "decorate" the trees with Wet/dry erase markers. They could be erased and used again year after year?
    I love these trees and am considering making some myself. Have cats now, and traditional trees just aren't practical! :)

  • Lauren. Lauren. on Nov 08, 2017
    Home depot has styrofoam sheets in a few thicknesses and about $20 to$30 a sheet. ( Loews carries too but more expensive) the sheets are 6 ft. Long and can be cut with box/razor knife or serrated blade knife. Beautiful idea. I hope you all enjoy. You can maybe get more than 1 tree per sheet depending on size and style and how you lay out your patterns.

  • Lauren. Lauren. on Nov 08, 2017
    You can use an awl or slim screw driver or ice pick to poke holes in styrofoam to add lights (battery operated or if you have power source string lights from back of trees) this is best on thicker styrofoam not real thin. IF YOU'RE REALLY PATIENT/CRAFTY you can "whittle" layer fron back and place light Inside to give a snow covered look.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Nov 08, 2017
    Have you thought about asking for old artificial; Christmas trees and spray painting them. People are always are looking for ways to get rid of them.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Nov 08, 2017
    For the smaller size trees, you could use plastic corrugated board real estate signs, the reverse side. For larger trees, just duck tape two signs together. The reverse sides are almost always solid white, and offices usually have spare or disused ones that they should be willing to donate to a church project.

  • Margaret Scotland Margaret Scotland on Nov 09, 2017
    Maybe some old doors could be re-purposed.

  • Jacquelinn Kai Jacquelinn Kai on Nov 09, 2017
    Check the lumber isle at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s I found a rather sturdy btown board. It’s thin, flexible without snapping and can be cut like lumber without falling apart. I remember it as being a type of paneling and fairly affordable.

  • Lynnette Bowden Lynnette Bowden on Nov 10, 2017
    MDF and OSB boards are both cost effective sturdy options too

    • See 1 previous
    • Lynnette Bowden Lynnette Bowden on Nov 12, 2017
      I posted my answer in wrong box but was trying to let you know that u can weatherproof the mdf/osb boards with enamel based paint. I like the spray kind but depending on how many trees u have and their size, a roll on enamel may be more cost effective. There is also a product called dri-loc that is used to weatherproof basement and foundation walls and it can be painted over

  • Tracy Ohls-Foote Tracy Ohls-Foote on Nov 11, 2017
    Card board can be sturdy if you glue 2 larger sheet together .. my sons science class made a chair their teacher could seat in :)

  • SandyG SandyG on Nov 11, 2017
    Insulation foam sheets, 4x8- 1/2 inch thick. In my area they cost around $7.00 a sheet.

  • Geeswonderland Geeswonderland on Nov 11, 2017
    Paneling.. it's cheap and thin!!

  • Lynnette Bowden Lynnette Bowden on Nov 11, 2017
    u can use any enamel Based spray paint or if you prefer brush on just make sure you use enamel. You can also grab a quart of the dri-loc waterproofing used on basement/foundation walls

  • Dianna Hamilton Dianna Hamilton on Nov 12, 2017
    Maybe even asking the store you are buying your supplies from, if they could donate or give a discount on project for your local church.

  • Rus23465458 Rus23465458 on Nov 12, 2017
    Find your nearest Habit for Humanity ReSale shop. That’s my new favorite place to find lots of materials!

    • Jenni Finefrock Jenni Finefrock on Nov 14, 2017
      You can get doors there for as low as $10/each. They usually have hollow core ones to make it super easy.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Feb 11, 2022

    Try foam board. They sell some at Dollar General.

  • I would use a very thin plywood. It's less expensive but it has the strength and will stand up to the weather. Paneling sheets are another option. Foam board is not going to stand up to the elements if you put them outside.