My mom gave me a giant box of popsicle/craft sticks a while back, so I have been trying to come up with crafts that use them ever sense. Last year I made a great giant snowflake for our door and some starburst ornaments, so this year I'm making Christmas trees.
You'll need 3 popsicle/craft sticks for each Christmas tree (and a 4th if you decide to use popsicle sticks for the trunk). I laid out 9 sticks on a paper plate to paint.
I painted them a shade of dark green with some craft paint and a foam brush. I thinned the paint by wetting the foam brush before loading it with paint and then painted both sides of the sticks. After they had dried, I touched up the edges of each one.
I also cut about an inch off of both ends of another three sticks (so 6 one inch pieces) and painted them brown. I tried to take a picture of this step, but they turned out blurry--so you'll have to use your imagination. I cut them with a pair of diagonal pliers, it didn't cut all the way through, but far enough that they could be broken off fairly cleanly. If someone knows of a better way to cut popsicle sticks without heavy equipment, let me know in the comments.
After all my painted sticks had dried, I laid them out into my triangle pattern and warmed up the glue gun. You could also use white glue (like elmers') or wood glue for this step, but the hot glue dries in seconds. If I were doing this project with kids, I'd probably just use the elmer's and some binder clips to hold the corners in place.
I made tiny dots in the corners of my popsicle sticks so that they wouldn't ooze all over the place and quickly placed the sticks.
Then I gathered a bunch of festive colored buttons. Most of the buttons I used were from an inexpensive bag of craft buttons I bought at Wal-mart (and used to make a button ornament a couple years ago). I did select a few (like the star buttons) from my stash of saved buttons.
Then I glued buttons randomly along the sticks as "ornaments." Be careful not to burn your fingers as you're placing the buttons (the glue likes to seep through the holes in the buttons). Apparently I also forgot to take a picture of applying the one inch trunk sticks to the tree. The trunk will magically appear in the later photos. I just lined up the 2 one inch sticks and glued them with my hot glue on to the center back of the bottom stick.
Then I cut some green cording and glued it to the back of the ornament. I put a dot of glue down and then set the knot into the glue, pushing down on it with a craft stick, then I added a bit more glue on top to secure it.
I continued the process with my other two sets of sticks and made myself a trio of cute Christmas trees.