How to Make Large Palm Trees From Bulletin Board Paper

palm tree image by Maria Bell from

Things You'll Need

  • Bulletin board paper, green and brown
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Stapler

Teachers need not purchase all bulletin board decorations from teacher supply stores; many visuals can be made with few supplies or skills needed. Bulletin boards decorated with palm trees can provide a tropical vibe or help teach students the differences between tree types. The exact height of the palm tree will depend on the desired height and base width. Keep in mind that the tree trunk is wider at the base than it is on top.

Palm trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
palm tree image by Xavier MARCHANT from

Divide the total desired height of the palm tree by 12 to give you the height of the total number of tree trunk segments. For example, if the total desired tree height is 4 feet tall, each tree trunk segment would be 4 inches tall (48 inches divided by 12 equals 4 inches).

Cut the brown bulletin board paper in a rectangle to the desired total height and widest width of the bottom portion of the palm tree.

Cut the brown rectangle paper into segments of the desired height, and then number the back of the segments 1 through 12. Segment number 12 will be the bottommost and widest segment of the tree; segment number 1 will be the top segment and the least wide.

Progressively trim each segment smaller than the previous segment. For example, trim 1/4 inch off of segment 11, 1/2 inch off of segment 10 and 3/4 inch off of segment 9. Set aside.

Print, enlarge and trace a picture of a leaf or free-hand sketch a leaf shape onto the green bulletin board paper that is one-third to one-half the total height of the palm tree. Create at least five leaves for each palm tree. Cut the leaves out when you are satisfied with the overall look and shape.

The layered tree trunk segments will look like this.
Palm Tree Trank image by Snow Queen from

Secure segment 12 to the bottom of the board at the desired location with the stapler; only staple the piece near the top of the segment piece. Overlap segment 11 over segment 12 by about 1 inch; only staple near the top of the segment piece. Continue overlapping the pieces, either straight up and down or curving to one side, working your way up to the top of the tree.

Palm leaves should spread out from the top of the tree like a waterfall.
palmes image by arabesque from

Staple the palm leaves to the tree in a slightly layered pattern; place about half of the leaves on each side of the tree, slightly angled downward and outward. Refer to example photos or images of palm trees for proper leaf placement.


  • For a more realistic looking palm tree, trim the brown rectangle pieces into a trapezoid shape with the two sides cut at the same angle.

    View photos or clip-art pictures of different palm trees to determine the type of palm leaves you wish to create (see Resources for ideas).

    Odd numbers of leaves tend to look better than even numbers, and broad leaves are simpler to sketch and cut out than thinner leaves. The more palm leaves the tree has, the fuller the tree will look.

    Consider decorating the palm tree by adding fruit, such as coconuts, to the tree.

    Add to the durability of the palm tree visual by laminating the individual pieces before securing to the bulletin board.


  • Bulletin board paper, also known as butcher paper, may be too flimsy to reuse from year-to-year. Consider forming the palm tree from sturdier materials such as poster board or construction paper.