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How To Make Paper Logs

How To Make Paper Logs

When we started working on the Forest Story, we knew it was going to be one of our feature tables at market-- the rich inspiration and sheer abundance of the woods gave the design team ample opportunity for crafting a show-stopping display. Along with our paper mushrooms, these paper logs were a crowd favorite; no one could believe we made them! These darling stumps are a great addition to your fall decor, and are easy enough to make, you’ll have a hard time not making an entire forest!

Getting Started

How To Make Paper Logs

Trees come in many shapes and sizes, so your crafted logs can be made in whatever size best fits your space or intended use. For our market display, we knew we needed to fill the firebox of an antique mantle, so we started by measuring the space to fill. Once we had those measurements, we used painters tape to mark off the same size rectangle in our studio –– this allowed us to place logs as we crafted them and test how they looked as a group and see what sizes would work best in the display.

How To Make Paper Logs

The next step is to gather your materials, as follows:

Cardboard

Dark brown paint

Offwhite paint

Rag

Pencil

Hot glue gun & sticks

Scissors or a boxcutter

Paintbrushes (various sizes)

How much cardboard you’ll need is dependent on the space you need to fill. We ship and receive so much at H&C Headquarters, we recycled boxes from work to make all of our logs. Alternatively, you can buy single side corrugated cardboard to make the sides of your logs if you can’t find a box big enough for your needs. However, you will still need some scrap cardboard to make the tops and bottoms of your logs.

How To Make Paper Logs

Timber Time!

Gather your cardboard and prepare it for crafting: flatten any boxes, remove packing tape, etc. Determine what your longest pieces are –– these will be your sides. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Remove the top layer of your cardboard to reveal the corrugation. Soak a rag or tea towel in water, then wipe down an area of your box until it’s fully saturated (it’s easier to work in small pieces, approximately 5” square, at a time). 

How To Make Paper Logs

Wait a few seconds, then carefully peel up the top layer of cardboard. Repeat until you have fully stripped the box, then set aside.

How To Make Paper Logs

Next, draw two equal sized circles on your cardboard in pencil. We traced various objects around the office for our logs: plates, rolls of tape, ribbon spools. Cut out your circles to make the top and bottom of your log. Ideally, one side will be plain-- this will be the top piece.

How To Make Paper Logs

Embellish your top piece with extra pieces of cardboard to give it a rugged, “just cut” look. Trace and cut another matching circle, then cut approximately in half with a curve that mimics the side. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Trace and cut a match for your new piece, then cut this in half with another curve. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Layer your pieces with the largest, full circle on the bottom, then the two smaller cuts on top, lining up your edges. Attach with glue and allow to set.

How To Make Paper Logs

Determine how tall you’d like your log to be, and cut one of your stripped pieces to that height –– be sure the corrugation is running vertically up the height of your log! Roll this piece into a tight tube to prepare it for shaping; this will make it more flexible. Unroll, then wrap around one of your circles to create the sides. Mark the end (with a slight overlap), then cut to size.

How To Make Paper Logs

Assemble your log by drawing a thick line of hot glue along the inside edge (flat side) of your side piece, then placing your top circle (embellished side up!) on the hot glue and wrapping to form a cylinder. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Continue gluing, waiting for it to set, until you’ve fully attached the circle to the side piece. Repeat with the other circle to form the bottom of your log.

How To Make Paper Logs

Rip or cut irregular shapes from the scraps of your stripped cardboard. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Attach these pieces with more hot glue at random (or to cover blemishes!) on the sides of your log to give the “bark” more texture.

How To Make Paper Logs

Using a wide brush, paint a light coat of dark brown on the sides of your log. It does not have to be perfect! We used a coarse brush to add even more texture to this layer, and the corrugation allows a great variance in the paint to make the “bark” more realistic. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Use a small brush with the off-white paint to paint concentric circles on the top of your log to give the appearance of tree rings. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Once everything is dry, admire your creations, then style with dried moss and paper mushrooms to create a woodland wonderland!

How To Make Paper Logs

PS: to add a branch, repeat these steps, just making a mini log! You only need to attach the top circle to your side piece, since the “bottom” will be joined to your log. 

How To Make Paper Logs

Cut across the bottom of your branch at an angle, then glue to the side of your log to attach.

How To Make Paper Logs

PPS: Need a cheat sheet? Print off our printable quick guide for an easy reference while making your forest.


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