I saw a few of these online, and I just had to have one for my first classroom! To encourage the idea that reading is fun, the library area is now decorated with a beach theme and called "Reading Paradise". Still have a few weeks until the start of school to add more, but I couldn't wait that long to share :)
Carpet tube (garbage from my new classroom rug)
Leftover wood scraps
Small brown lunch bags, with bottom cut out (I used about 35)
Large ugly, old umbrella (doesn't matter the color because you can cover it up)
On sale fabric of your choice (I went with the cheapest)
Construction paper to make a pattern
1- Cut the umbrella to about halfway down the arms. This gives the droopy effect for the leaves.
2- Create a construction paper leaf to make a pattern. I made mine long enough that it would hang over the end of the umbrella arm. I also had an umbrella that had a really long metal top, so i just cut really small holes to hold each leaf instead of using any type of glue. Really easy.
3- Cut out your shape. I didn't waste time tracing because the leaves don't have to be exact. The I cut small slits equal, close enough, distance apart from each other. Repeat until you one leaf for each umbrella arm and go ahead and put them on the umbrella. **Notice the dog feet, he laid completely in the way, but still a cute attempt to help.
4- Use the box cutter to carefully make the carpet tube the size you want. Don't forget the umbrella adds height.
5- Use scrap wood to make a base... I was really lucky and my uncle had the exact size plywood and I think 2x4 to make mine. All we did was take two 3 inch screws through the bottom of the plywood to make sure the "trunk holder"(2x4 but depends on the carpet tube size) was sturdy. I also made sure the 2x4 was long so I felt it was not moving even if a five year old hangs on the trunk. I did 18 inches because that is what he had, but as long as a foot I'd think it would be okay.
6-Slide the carpet tube onto the "trunk holder". This was such a tight fit that he, my handy dandy uncle, had to sand the edges down a little to get it to work. Again the tight fit makes it sturdy and safe!
7- Slide the crumpled brown bag rings on the tube.
8- I used a book shelf to hold my base down. It will help hold the tree steady if any kiddos run into it.
9- Stick the umbrella in!
10- Use the fabric scraps to cover up any part of the umbrella that showed.
That's it.... seriously cost a total of $15 at most, but I was lucky and had family to help :)