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Making a Jesse Tree

There are a variety of ways to make a Jesse Tree.

1. Choose a tree branch without leaves, two to three feet high, that has a main branch with lots of smaller branches attached to it. Place the branch in a bucket of dirt or rocks and cover the bucket with green fabric, felt, or paper.

2. Cut a tree with branches from brown felt. Glue it to a piece of green felt, 24" x 36". Glue on small wooden pegs to hang the ornaments. Or attach Velcro® to the backs of the ornaments for attaching to the felt Jesse Tree.

3. Make a mobile using a tree branch. Use fishing line to hang the branch from the ceiling. You'll need to make sure the symbols are balanced when you hang them on the branch so that the branch will remain level.

Other Jesse Tree resources online: a plan for an intergenerational event for celebrating the beginning of Advent, Family Devotions, and Advent Devotionals.

Making Jesse Tree Ornaments

There are several ways that you can make the Jesse Tree ornaments. Below you'll find simple to more detailed ideas for Jesse Tree ornaments. For using any of the following ideas, print or download the symbol patterns available online or select the specific symbol pattern you want from the list below (they are all JPG images).

1. The simplest way to make the symbols is to use markers or crayons to decorate the printed symbols, then cut them out. Using the patterns, cut shapes from colored construction paper or posterboard. You'll need one shape for each symbol. Glue one symbol on each shape. Punch a hole in the top of the completed ornament and add a fishing line or yarn tie for hanging on the Jesse Tree. Or attach Velcro® to the back of each ornament for hanging on the felt Jesse Tree.

2. Trace the symbol patterns on various colors of construction paper, cut out, glue each one on a shape cut from posterboard, punch a hole in the top, and add a fishing line or yarn tie for hanging on the Jesse Tree.

3. Make the symbols dimensional or textured. Following are some ideas to help you get started. Use your imagination and creativity to think of others. Glue the completed symbols on the shapes that have been cut from construction paper or poster board. Punch a hole at the top of the ornament and add a fishing line or yarn tie for hanging on the Jesse Tree.

  • Apple and Snake 
    Make the apple, stem, and leaf from felt; a Gummi Worm© or rubber worm wrapped around the apple makes a great snake.
  • Ark and Rainbow 
    Fill in the rainbow with wide, colored pipe cleaners. Make the ark from felt.
  • City 
    Make the city from felt or fast-drying clay.
  • Coat 
    Fill in the stripes on the coat with fabric or felt strips.
  • Crown 
    Make the crown from construction paper and decorate with beads and sequins.
  • Fire and Altar 
    Aquarium rocks are small enough to build the altar. Add red/orange felt or foil-wrap flames.
  • Fish 
    Cut the fish from felt, make an origami fish, or purchase a miniature rubber/plastic whale.
  • Grain 
    Purchase artificial wheat for this symbol.
  • Heart 
    Cut the heart from felt or construction paper or red foil wrapping paper.
  • Ladder 
    Dowel sticks or straws make a simple ladder.
  • Lamb and Wolf 
    Cover the wolf and lamb with felt, fake fur, or cotton balls. Add wiggle eyes to each of them.
  • Ram 
    Cover the ram's body with cotton balls or fake fur. Add a felt head and ears and a snail shell for the ram's horn.
  • Rope 
    Tie knots at the end of a piece of colored cord or braid three pieces of thick yarn together and tie a knot at each end.
  • Rose
    Cut petals from tissue paper. Pinch the petals together at the bottom and use tape to hold the petals together. Add a stem and leaf made from felt or construction paper. Or purchase a miniature silk rose.
  • Shell 
    Use a shell that is shaped like the pattern.
  • Star 
    Cut from felt or make an origami star.
  • Stump with Branch 
    Use a piece of tree bark for the stump and branch and glue a tiny plastic leaf to the end of the branch.
  • Tablets 
    Shape the tablets from gray clay (fast drying) and use a sharp-pointed dowel stick to write the Roman numerals on the clay.
  • Tent and Camel 
    Cut a tent from canvas scraps. Add a miniature plastic camel.
  • Tools 
    Miniature tools work well for this symbol or make them from balsa wood.
  • World
    Fill in the water areas with blue clay and the land areas with brown clay (use fast-drying clay).
  • Other symbol patterns:
  • All the symbols (PDF)

Suggested Supply List

Some things you may want to have on hand include:

  • scissors (include left-handed)
  • hole punchers
  • wire cutters
  • markers, thin & thick (include grey)
  • crayons
  • glitter crayons
  • glitter glue
  • tacky glue
  • glue sticks
  • construction paper
  • felt
  • gold cord (ties for hanging ornaments)
  • fun foam (red and grey for heart, apples, tablets of fire)
  • eyes (for fish)
  • grey stiffened felt (for tablets of stone)
  • red cord (for scarlet rope)
  • brown canvas (for tent and ark)
  • fake lamb's wool, quilt batting, cotton balls (for ram and lamb or clouds)
  • rubber snakes (use with apple)
  • blue, red, green yellow pipe cleaners (for rainbow)
  • piece of tree bark (for stump of Jesse)
  • rocks (for altar)
  • sequins (for crown)
  • dried wheat or sorgo (for grain)
  • tooth picks (for tent poles)
  • straws (for ladder)
  • glue guns (for adults)