Kirigami Christmas Tree

3-D Kirigami Christmas Trees and Pop-Up Card

Kirigami, the art of paper cutting, is particularly suited for Christmas decorations. It can be used for greeting cards, package decorations, tree ornaments, table centerpieces, and a variety of other festive items. A Kirigami Christmas tree is relatively easy to make, especially the 3-dimensional models that stand upright.

3-Dimensional Kirigami Christmas Tree

A 3-dimensional Kirigami Christmas tree starts with some basic folds familiar to origami (paper folding) enthusiasts. For smaller trees, light to medium weight paper is suitable. You can make larger trees from heavier paper, such as square scrapbook paper, but you may need to score the folds to make the paper easier to handle.

Cut an optional star to place at the top of the tree; origami paper that is a different color on each side works well if you want to add a star. There is a step-by-step video for a similar Christmas tree with a star, but the tree in the video has a trunk.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Start with a square piece of paper and with the right side up valley fold the paper on each diagonal. Unfold it for the next step.
  2. Turn the paper over, and fold it in half horizontally. Turn it 90 degrees and fold it in half horizontally again.
  3. Holding the right side of the paper towards you, mountain fold the paper on the diagonal. Using the earlier folds, fold the sides inward on each side so that you have a diamond shape open at the bottom.
  4. On each of four sides, squash fold the diamond to give you a triangle with the opening at the bottom, with the back-side color showing below the triangle.
  5. Cut through all layers to remove paper below the triangle in the front side color.
  6. Cutting through all layers, cut two or more slits on each side of the triangle.
  7. Fold down paper from the slits on each flap of the triangle. You'll do this eight times.
  8. If you want to add a star at the top, very carefully make a slit slightly below the top of the tree and slanted toward the top of the tree. Cut almost all the way through, taking care not to cut the top off. Gently push the star open towards the top of the tree.
  9. Arrange the sides of the tree evenly around the center and place it in an upright position.

For a variation that requires cutting curved notches, instead of folding points in the side of the tree, see Christmas Kirigami by Joyce Hwang, which is available from used bookstores and may be available in your public library.

Christmas Tree Pop-Up

You can make a simple Christmas tree pop-up card with the following steps:

  1. Begin with two greeting card blanks of the same size; they can be the same or different colors. Either cut them from card stock or buy blank cards.
  2. On the card that will be on the inside, cut two slits approximately one-half inch from the middle of the card. This will make a horizontal or landscape card. The length of the slits will depend on the size of the card, but for most cards one-half to one inch slits usually work. Push the slits outward from the back of the card to make a little shelf.
  3. Cut a Christmas tree shape from card stock or stiff paper. The easiest way to cut the tree is to fold the paper in half and then cut a tree shape you have drawn. You can also cut the tree freehand. Leave the tree straight across the bottom.
  4. Place glue or glue dots on the "shelf" at the back of the inside of the card. Glue the Christmas tree cut out to the shelf.
  5. Glue the inside carefully to the outside card, taking care not get any glue behind the open space behind the shelf for the tree.
  6. When you open the card, the tree will pop up.

Follow LoveToKnow's tutorial slideshow How to Make Origami Trees to make a Christmas card that doesn't pop-up.


There are lots of ways to make Kirigami, or cut paper, Christmas trees. Search online for Kirigami or cut paper Christmas trees, or visit your local library for books on kirigami and paper cutting for more ideas.

Kirigami Christmas Tree