We go through many paper towels at our house; too many paper towels. In an attempt to make a graphic representation (for myself more than anyone else) of our paper towel consumption I saved all of our used paper towel rolls for one week. UGH! I thought the least we could do was use the cardboard rolls for a purpose. We made tube trees with them, and they turned out to be a huge hit!
We used this amazing paper that I recently discovered. I am crazy about this paper!!! It is handmade, has the most beautiful feel and texture, and the best things about it are that it is completely green, and supports a great cause. It is called Mr. Ellie Pooh paper. It is made from 50% post consumer paper and 50% sanitized fiber from elephant dung. That’s right, elephant poo. This paper company is trying to save elephants. I found out that when trees in the elephant habitats are cut down, elephants are often left out in the open, and become very susceptible to hunters. This paper company is using the profits from sales of this paper to teach villagers in Sri Lanka (where many elephants are killed) to make the paper, and to begin to see the elephants as an asset. It is not ridiculously expensive, and it makes wonderful water color and craft paper!!! It takes watercolor just beautifully! Check it out!!! Lets save some trees, water, AND some elephants, and give unemployed people in Sri Lanka a trade they can use to support their families!!! http://www.mrelliepooh.com
To make your trees you will need:
Paint and brushes (we used different shades of brown and black), and we used both tempera and liquid watercolor paint
Construction paper (we used Mr. Ellie Pooh paper and painted it with watercolors)
Glue (I used hot glue, but you could use white or craft glue with equally good results.
1. Paint (we used tempera) your tubes to look like tree trunks (this will vary a bit depending on the age and skill of the painter)
2. We then used green liquid watercolor paint to paint our Mr. Ellie Pooh paper, which I think created amazing results, but unpainted or painted green construction paper would work just fine!
3. When all of the paint was dry, I used scissors to cut 1” slits in the top of the tube.
4. Then I folded the resulting tabs out. This becomes the seat of your leaves.
5. Make a playdough ball about the size of the palm of your hand, and then squish the ball slightly flat. It should be at least ½’ thick.Stick a tree trunk into the playdough to act as a stand.
6. Crumple green paper into a ball. If you want a larger tree, you can place a paper ball inside your green ball. We tried all sorts of ways to make our tree toppers.
7. Glue your green tree topper ball onto the top of your tree trunk, by putting glue on the tabs of the tube.
The kids really enjoyed making these trees, and have also enjoyed seeing the fruit of their labor on the table. They love to see their artwork displayed in many different ways. It also gave us a great opportunity to talk about paper, how to conserve it, and the resources it takes to make it. I hope it helps us all to remember to make the most of the paper we have, and to not waste this precious resource.