Christmas Tree paper chain along edge of open shelves in a kitchen.

Trimming Open Shelves for the Holidays

How to make a Christmas tree paper chain to trim open shelves in kitchens or on bookshelves. These easy to make chains can be made with any paper and are a budget friendly way to decorate a home for Christmas.

Christmas is just not Christmas to me without seeing the house decorated using twinkle lights on the tree and a glittered decoration or two… or three…. somewhere in the house.

Pine-tree-Paper-Chain-decorated-kitchen-shelves

This year I made glittered paper snowflakes from doilies for my Christmas tree. For my kitchen, I made paper Christmas tree chains to trim the open shelves that showcase my collection of white dishes and pitchers.

One of the reasons I like paper crafting Christmas decorations is that they are unique and come January, no big bin is needed to store them for next year.

To keep the project simple and in line with my natural, green and silver theme, I made the paper chains by cutting strips from brown paper bags I had on hand. I wanted to use Kraft paper, but didn’t have any and didn’t want to drive 45 minutes to the crafts store and back to get some.

They came out fine, but when I make these again, I would suggest using a thinner paper, like newspaper, this French Script paper, sheet music or gift wrap as it would lay flatter along the shelf.

Kitchen open shelving Christmas decorating idea

I like that I didn’t have to buy anything and when the holidays are over, I can place these in an envelope to use again next year… maybe as a tree garland.

Rudolph dish towel hanging on towel bar in kitchen

I did buy one new thing to decorate the kitchen this year with my granddaughter, Zoe in mind… this cute Rudolph dish towel. I found it at HomeGoods earlier this year.

Christmas-decorated-open-kitchen-shelves

I made my paper chain 2-1/2″ high. Any longer would interfere with access to my dishes. If you want to make it larger, simply enlarge the free printable pattern using your printer controls.

Natural Christmas decorating idea for white kitchens.

On the shelves, I added a few silver ball ornaments and sprigs of greenery. I keep the ornaments from rolling off by placing a round key ring under them. You can see how in a photo in this post.

This counter is a workhorse in my small kitchen so I have to keep it clear as it acts as a buffet table as well as a meal prep area. The greenery in the pitcher was clipped from trees in my yard.

How to Make a Christmas Tree Paper Chain

Close up image of a paper chain of pine trees decorating the edge of kitchen shelves for the holidays.

supplies needed:

  • Paper – I used brown paper bags, but you can use any paper from newspaper to gift wrap.
  • Print out of: Tree Pattern
  • Small pair of sharp scissors or a kraft knife
  • Pencil
  • Clear tape
  • Glue
  • Optional: Spray glue and glitter

Download: Paper Chain Pine Tree pattern

Time needed: 1 hour.

To make the Christmas tree chain shelf trim/garland, first measure how long you will need it. I had to join sections together with glue to get the lengths I needed for each shelf as the brown paper I used from bags was not very long.

The time it takes to make the chain depends on how long you make it. It is the perfect project for doing while watching a holiday movie.

  1. Print Tree Template

    Print the tree template linked in the supplies needed list and then cut it out along the lines making sure not to cut the dotted lines off.

    Tree pattern to trace to make a paper chain Christmas tree

  2. Cut a Strip from Paper

    Cut strips of paper that are 2-1/2″ x length you need.

    If you are using short strips, you can make the pine tree chain any length you need by gluing shorter strips together.

  3. Trace the design on Paper

    Place the left edge of the template at the left edge of the paper strip and trace around template.

    How to trace a template of a Christmas tree pattern on to a strip of paper.

  4. Start to Accordion Fold Paper

    Make the first fold of the paper on the right edge of the drawn tree.

    How to start folding a template of a Christmas tree pattern on to a strip of paper.

  5. Continue Accordion Folding

    Continue folding the paper strip, accordion-style, for the length of the strip. Trim off any excess flaps of paper when you reach the end.
    How to fold paper to make a paper chain of a Christmas tree.

  6. Cut Along Marked Lines

    Cut along the marked lines of the pattern tracing, through all layers using a sharp pair of small scissors or a craft knife. Make sure not to cut the folded edges where there are dotted lines on the tree pattern. These sections are how the chain of trees will stay in one long cut-out strip.

    How to make a Christmas tree cut-out paper chain.

  7. Unfold

    Once you have the pattern cut out, carefully unfold the chain. If you need more lengths, repeat the steps to create more chains and use glue to attach them together.

    Christmas Tree paper chain made using a brown paper bag unfolded to reveal Christmas tree shaped design.

  8. Optional: Add Glitter

    If you want to add glitter to the paper chain, protect your work surface with a drop cloth or flattened cardboard box. Lay out the paper chains on this protected surface.

    Lay out a long piece of foil into a baking tray. This will be used to add the glitter to each paper chain section without making a mess.

    Spray, spray glue over the chain and then move it over to foil lined pan. Sprinkle glitter over the paper chain to cover. Lift the chain and gently shake off excess glitter. Put aside.

    To save glitter, fold the piece of foil in half so all the unused glitter falls into the fold. Pour it back into the glitter container. Repeat for each section of paper chain.

  9. Attach To Shelf

    I tried using Glue Dots to attach the Christmas tree chain to the edge of my kitchen shelves, but they didn’t stick to the painted surface. Simple rolls of clear tape worked. I made a few tape rolls and placed them behind a few trees in each strip.

Kitchen decorated for Christmas. Open shelfs trimmed with a cutout paper chain of pine tree shapes.

I have a few more decorating snippets around the house to show you in my next few posts and then Christmas will be here. 🙂

How are your holiday preparations going?

Christmas Tree paper chain along edge of open shelves in a kitchen.
Close up of pine tree cut-out paper chain.

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