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How to make a seasonal tree sculpture for fall science

Here at my lab in Alaska, fall is a short season that transitions from the long days of summer into the longest season - winter. Each autumn, Ulysses loves to create a fall tree sculpture. It's one of the last projects he completes before he settles in for his winter hibernation.

Today, I thought we'd share how you can make your very own fall tree sculpture. This project is more art than science, but it's still a fantastic one to weave into your fall science (or plant science) plans!

Let's dig in...

How to make a seasonal tree sculpture for fall science

What you will need

Here are the supplies you need to gather...

  • A small bit of air-dry clay for the base
  • Materials for the trunk and branches (brown pipe cleaners, cardboard, or brown paper bags)
  • Materials for the leaves (felt, tissue paper, or buttons in orange, red, and yellow)
  • Glue

You can also gather materials to recreate for other additions you see in fall trees, such as fruit, seedpods, or nests.

What to do

Once you have got everything together, here's how to put together your seasonal tree sculpture.

Step 1: Prepare the base

To begin, roll the air-dry clay into a ball and flatten it a bit on the bottom so that it will sit on a table or shelf.

Step 2: Form the tree.

Once you have your base in place use the pipe cleaners, sticks, or paper bag to twist and form into a trunk that you press firmly into the base. Then, use more of the same materials to form the branches of your tree sculpture.  

Step 3: Add the leaves.

If you are using felt or tissue paper, start this step by cutting out enough fall leaves for the tree. Then glue the felt leaves, paper leaves, or button leaves onto the tree sculpture.

Step 4: Decorate the tree.

Finally, if your students desire, have them use the additional materials to decorate the tree with fruit, seeds, or bird's nests! 

Wrapping it up

I hope you enjoy this project as much as Ulysses and I do! You can certainly change the colors and additions to make a tree for winter, spring, or summer.

If you create seasonal tree sculpture, let us know by sharing a picture and tagging us (@sassafrassci) on Instagram.

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