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1306-2 Japan
Bonsai Tree

Designed by Kristin Ball

Bonsai is the term for all miniature trees in containers in pots. The word originated in China but has become a prevalent Japanese activity. The trimming of the miniature plants is an art form in Japan.

Age Range: 7 to 12

Grade Range: 1 to 6

Skill Level: Moderate

Appropriate for These Special Events:
Every Day and Rainy Days

Supports Subject Area(s) of:
Social Studies
Language Arts – e.g. step by step instructions
Visual Arts
Math – e.g. measuring

Time Needed for Project:
1 hour


Main supplies:

  • Elmer’s® Washable Clear School Glue
  • Activa® Scenic Sand – White
  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam - 1”thick
  • Chenille stems – brown (11)
  • Tissue paper – light, medium, dark green
  • Small container
  • Small pebbles

Basic Supplies:

  • Serrated plastic knife
  • Disposable cup or bowl


  1. Use serrated knife to cut Styrofoam sheet to fit inside container.  Apply glue to bottom and sides of container then press foam into place.  Let dry.
  2. To create tree, start by layering 10 chenille stems together.  Start twisting stems together about 3” or so from end, twisting for about 4”creating trunk of tree.  To create branches, pull two stems and twist together then pull out three and twist together.  Repeat with remainder of stems. 
  3. To create single branches, divide each section and twist or bend as shown.  Branches can be bent back on themselves if they are too long.  Bend and twist branches to finish tree.
  4. Use scissors to cut remaining chenille stem into 2” sections then bend each in half. Attach to the tree branches.
  5. Pour about ½ cup of Scenic sand into cup.  Pour clear glue into cup then mix with knife, adding more glue as needed till mixture is a smooth consistency.  Use knife to “frost” top of foam in container working mixture to edges. 
  6. To insert tree, bend ½” on each root then press each through sand into foam.  Small folded pieces can be pushed over roots to hold in place if needed. 
  7. Glue small pebbles where shown.  Add glue to rock then press in place.
  8. Tear tissue into 1” or pieces.  Crumple a tissue piece, add a dot of glue then press onto a branch.  Repeat step with all colors created sections of leaves on each branch as shown.  Let dry.


Sponsored by ACTIVA

Sponsored by Elmer’s® Products, Inc.

Sponsored by FloraCraft

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company

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