6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (2024)

With each passing day we are coming closer and closer to the start of the Advent season. One of the best ways to celebrate Advent and prepare for Jesus’s birth is to read and reflect upon the story of Jesus with a Jesse Tree. Traditionally used in medieval times to help teach the Bible to those who couldn’t read, Jesse Trees are a fun, interactive way to teach your children the story of Christ.

Jesse Trees usually have 24 ornaments to represent the 24 days of December before Christ’s birth. Each ornament has a special symbol that pairs with a suggested scripture reading, starting with creation and leading all the way up to Jesus’ birth. As a family, you will read from the Bible and hang the associated ornament on the tree each night to count down the days.

Some families choose to purchase a Jesse Tree and ornaments, but making your own Jesse Tree as a family can be a fun way to kick off the Advent season. To help inspire your own Jesse Tree creations, we gathered six easy DIY Jesse Tree tutorials from Catholic craft experts.

1. Felt Jesse Trees and Ornaments

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (1)

If you don’t have room in your home for a physical tree, you can easily create an image of one using layers of colored felt.

Jessica Gordon of Shower of Roses has a great tutorial and picture guide for creating your own felt Jesse Tree. First, cut a large rectangle of felt to serve as your background. Then, using green and brown felt, cut the shape of a Christmas tree and glue (or sew) it onto your background. You’ll want the tree to take up most of the background space as it will need to house all 24 ornaments.

For the ornaments, Jessica’s examples are inspired by coloring pictures she found. If you need inspiration, consider using Catholic Culture’s reading and symbol suggestions. Then take several colors of felt to cut and piece together your symbols and glue them onto a circular background to create your ornaments.

Once the ornaments are complete, hang your tree on a wall in your home and stow your ornaments nearby so you can easily tack them onto the tree each night after a scripture reading.

In addition to Jessica’s detailed and easy-to-follow instructions in her Jesse Tree tutorial, other crafters loffer their own guides, as well. Check them out below:

(Image credit: Shower of Roses)

2. Printable Jesse Tree Ornaments

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (2)

If you you’re not one for sewing or fabric, a printable Jesse Tree is one of the easiest options.

Using cardstock or scrapbook paper as a backdrop for your Jesse Tree, shape and cut a Christmas tree from green colored paper and paste it onto a background. Another option is to purchase a mini Christmas tree or use a tree branch from your backyard to hang your paper ornaments onto.

As for decorating your tree, Lacy Rabideau from Catholic Icing offersfree printable ornaments that are both cute and creative. You can either print the ornaments in color, or color them as a family with markers. If you selected 3D printable ornaments, make sure you color them in before you start folding the shapes.

With the ornaments finished, it’s time to find a place in your home to hang or set your tree.

(Image Credit: Catholic Icing)

3. Painted Jesse Tree Ornaments

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (3)

If you want to make your Jesse Tree ornaments a little more artistic than felt cut outs or printed paper, you can easily paint them as a family following Australian Catholic Mums’ excellent tutorial.

For starters, make sure you have a tree or branch to hang or pin your ornaments onto. With that out of the way, you’re going to need paint, paint brushes, wooden disks, varnish, and string.

The first step to create your ornaments will be to punch a hole into the top of each wooden disk (each disk will be an ornament). This will help you hang or attach your ornaments to the tree. Then, start painting your ornaments with the appropriate symbols. To protect your ornaments, make sure to finish them off with a varnish.

Once you’re happy with your ornaments, thread them with string and store them near your Jesse Tree for easy hanging.

(Image Credit: Australian Catholic Mums)

4. Iron-On Jesse Tree Ornaments

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (4)

Another way to easily create beautiful Jesse Tree ornaments is to iron the symbols on using printouts and special adhesive.

Crafty Catholic mom, Kendra Tierney offers two fun and easy tutorials on how to create the best iron-on Jesse Tree ornaments on her blog Catholic All Year. To start, printout the 24 symbols you want to use for your ornaments. Because you will be ironing them on, make sure you print them in the correct color and size.

After printing, cut 24 felt circles of the same size and iron on special HeatnBond fabric adhesive to the felt. Once the adhesive is on, pin the printout onto the felt circle and trim your printed design with a pair of scissors. With the design arranged and cut, it’s time to fuse it all together with the press of a hot iron. To avoid burning the felt or melting your design, only use the iron for a couple of seconds, Kendra says.

You can either use the ornament as is, or you can choose to give it some dimension. To do this, place another felt circle underneath the ornament, add a bit of stuffing in between the circles, and sew the edges together.

(Image Credit: Catholic All Year)

5. Clay Jesse Tree Ornaments

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (5)

As Théa Rosenburg of Little Book Big Story points out, clay Jesse Tree ornaments are both timeless and fun-to-make.

To begin, Théa suggests using air-dry clay, toothpicks, a set of permanent markers, and string or ribbon. Using air-dry clay, mold your ornament by creating a circular medallion. Before it dries, poke a hole in the top of your medallion with a toothpick so your string or ribbon will fit for threading.

Once the ornament has dried, draw on the symbol using permanent markers. For the best drawings, try practicing ahead of time and use thin-tipped markers. After you’ve finished, you’re ready to thread the ornaments with string or ribbon and store them near your Jesse Tree.

(Image Credit: Little Book Big Story)

6. Clothespin Jesse Tree

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll | Leaflet Missal (6)

To get a little more creative, try using clothespins and a clothesline to create a unique Jesse Tree for your home using Pamela Donnis’ fantastic tutorial.

On Pamela’s blog, Keeping Life Creative, she suggests starting with colored construction paper and cutting 24 squares of several colors. This will serve as the background to your ornaments.

Then, printout 24 symbols for your ornaments. Make sure the printout is colorful and sized correctly as this will be the main part of your ornament. After printing, trim the paper to fit your colored squares and glue the designs onto the construction paper.

Once finished, hang a clothesline on your mantle, wall, or another space for the whole family to see. After you’ve finished reading scripture each night, use the clothespins to secure your ornaments to the clothesline creating a special Jesse “Tree” for your family.

(Image Credit: Keeping Life Creative)

Ready for More Advent Resources and Guides?

Find out everything you need to know about Advent with our Advent 101 guide. If you’re ready to kick off your Advent season with a Jesse Tree, check out our Jesse Tree Banner Kit.

6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family | Soul Scroll  | Leaflet Missal (2024)


What is the order of the Jesse Tree ornaments? ›

The Jesse Tree: 1st Week of Advent
  • Monday: Adam and Eve. Ornament: Tree with Fruit or Apple. Adam and Eve and the First Sin. ...
  • Tuesday: Noah. Ornament: Rainbow or Ark. Noah and the Flood. ...
  • Wednesday: Abraham. Ornament: Field of Stars. Abraham and the Covenant. ...
  • Thursday: Isaac. Ornament: Ram. ...
  • Friday: Jacob. Ornament: Ladder.

What are the 25 Jesse Tree ornaments? ›

Jesse Tree Symbols and Decorations
Bible Story:Where it is in the Bible:Symbol:
ZechariahLuke 1:57-80A pencil and tablet
JosephMatthew 1:19-25A carpenter's hammer
The ShepherdsLuke 2:8-20A fluffy sheep!
The Wisem*nMatthew 2:1-12A gold star or the three gifts or three crowns
21 more rows

Is the Jesse Tree a Catholic tradition? ›

The Jesse Tree is a beautiful Advent Devotional that many Catholic Families use during the season of Advent.

What is Jesus family tree? ›

“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of ...

What is a Jesse Tree for kids? ›

Jesse Trees have three main parts: A tree, symbolic ornaments, and passages or scripture readings to go along with them. Our Jesse Tree readings come from our children's book, Bible Character's for Advent. They are designed to lead children through the entire story of the Bible during Advent in a simple and fun way.

When you hang a symbol on the Jesse Tree what should you do? ›

Before a symbol is hung on the tree, a Bible passage or a story from a story Bible is read. This is the story of God's family, the story of the Christian family. As we read his Word, we remember that Jesus came for his family.

What day do you start the Jesse Tree? ›

A Jesse Tree is a special way to observe the advent season, telling the story of God's great plan of redemption from Creation through the birth of Christ. It usually begins on December 1st, with a Scripture reading or story each day and a corresponding ornament to hang on a special Jesse Tree.

Are all Jesse Tree ornaments the same? ›

Jesse Tree symbols can vary depending on the guide you're using. We believe that the best symbols do two things. 1) They tell the story of the Bible in a clear way, and 2) they regularly refer back to Jesus. We've also added a Magnetic Jesse Tree Set this year, with ornaments that feature the actual Bible Characters!

Is the Jesse Tree Jesus family tree? ›

Because Jesus Christ belonged to one of the family branches descended from King David, it became customary for medieval artists to visually depict Jesus' genealogy, or family tree, as beginning with Jesse—the Jesse tree—in such works as the stained-glass windows known as Jesse windows.

What is the Catholic meaning of a Jesse Tree? ›

www.catholicinspired.com. What is a Jesse Tree? A Jesse Tree represents the family tree of Jesus Christ. Each ornament represents a story from the Bible that tells about God's people before Jesus was born. Each Story shows God's salvation plan and tell how He guided humanity to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.

What do the symbols mean on the Jesse Tree? ›

The symbols represent the ancestral characters depicted in the Jewish scriptures and the gospels. The 'tree' is a common symbol throughout scripture, most memorably featured in the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus used images of trees, vines and branches to explain the power and life of God.

How is Jesus linked to the Jesse Tree? ›

The Tree of Jesse originates in a passage in the biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus. The various figures depicted in the lineage of Jesus are drawn from those names listed in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.

Do Protestants use Jesse Tree? ›

While some Protestant churches during the Reformation moved away from any visual representations, others retained the tradition of the Jesse Tree. Most people who enjoy the Jesse Tree tradition with their families today focus on God's thread of redemption through the Old Testament, leading up to the birth of Christ.

Why do Catholics leave their tree up? ›

Roman Catholics

However, Roman Catholic families can choose to keep their tree up until 2nd February, according to the traditions of Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

How many ornaments are on a Jesse Tree? ›

With an Advent Jesse Tree, there are 25 ornaments, each being a symbol that represents a different Bible story (which is recapped in a devotional book you can read each night). For example, day one is about creation and the corresponding ornament has a symbol of Earth.

What is a Jesse Tree made of? ›

A Jesse Tree is either a real tree or a representation of one, decorated with symbols which mark the journey from the creation of the world to the birth of Christ. The symbols represent the ancestral characters depicted in the Jewish scriptures and the gospels.

How many symbols does a Jesse Tree have? ›

Jesse Tree Symbols

Decide how many you will need – if you plan to do one symbol each day of December, you'll need 24. If you only expect to do this once a week, choose four symbols. It's entirely up to you! The list is not exhaustive – there are many other great prophets and ancestors in the Jewish story.

What does the Jesse Tree symbolize? ›

The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, shown in a branching tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David. It is the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy.

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