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Festive Tree of Life returns: make your own sciencey Xmas decoration

27 Nov, 2012

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Ever played with plasticene as a child? If your answer is yes, then maybe you could help us.

Last year, we started a new tradition – to make festive trees adorned with decorations inspired by science rather than the usual baubles. We want to make a new tree for 2012. Back by popular demand, we’re sending out more packs of colourful modelling materials and threads so you can fashion your very own decorations to hang on your tree at home.

This year our theme is a bit different. We want to find out what science has inspired you over the past 12 months. Ideas may strike from your research, to what you’ve read in books or science stories in the media over the past year.

We have 40 packs available on a first-come-first serve basis. Contact Rachel Mason on to get yours. Kits allow you to make around five decorations.

We’ll again be running our Tree of Life competition to find the most visually striking and imaginative entries. All you have to do is submit a photo of your work to our pool of science-based decorations on Flickr. And if you see/make any other sciencey decorations not involving our packs, feel free to add those too (though those won’t be eligible for the competition of course).

Here’s a little demo video to help get you started.

If you’re stuck, have a look at our blog archive (or indeed elsewhere on the web) for stories or images. We’re thinking of making a decorative frog egg to celebrate Nobel Prize winner Sir John Gurdon, or maybe a mitochondrion carrying a rare genetic disease.

Your decoration won’t be alone either. The Francis Crick Institute are working with hundreds of schoolchildren to make and display their decorations on special ‘Trees of Life’ in London’s Euston Station from Wednesday. These will also be on our Flickr pool, or if you’re in the area why not pop by and see them for yourself?

Get your kit by emailing

Share pictures of your creations, or any other fun science decorations, on our Flickr pool.

This project is in collaboration with Dr Lizzie Burns, a science-based artist and visiting academic in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics in the University of Oxford.  Visit for more information about her artwork and workshops.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 27 Nov, 2012 1:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Cadmium Diamond Dreams and commented:
    This is brilliant.

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