Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tutorial - Trees


Most articles about making deciduous trees involve the purchase of "Rubberized horse hair", which is very hard to get a hold of, or lichen plopped onto a twig, or Steel wool stuck on a twig and covered in glue, flocking and hair spray, and they all produce OK or even great looking trees, but they are either really expensive, time consuming and/or fragile. My trees were inspired by an article for making hedges with scouring pads and thought why not make a tree similar way. 
   So I went out and picked up some scouring pads (the thin ones I saw used in the hedge article) and made a tree and it looked looked like feces, so I binned it, sometime later I saw some of the thicker pads (they are actually BBQ Scrubbers) and was re-inspired. I started with green but they looked really, really Bright green so I toned them down with some black spray paint, but it required a lot of spraying, so now, I start with black and lighten with dry-brushing.


Paper/cloth wrapper floral wire (1-2mm thick)
1” thick scouring pads (black preferred) mine were for cleaning a BBQ
1.5” metal washer (for base) Minimum ---the trees are inherently top heavy
Hot glue gun with glue sticks
Various shades of green and brown paint
Spackle, plaster, drywall compound (whatever its called where you're from)
Flocking or sand
White glue
Paint brush(es)
Wire cutter
Masking tape
  • Cut the Scouring pads into small circular and or oblong bits about 1-2” long (use the scissors, the scouring pads will dull them quickly, so don’t use a pair you or some else cares about) keep the smaller bits they will also be useful. If you cant find black scouring pads you will have to paint them to make them black, I recommend spray paint.
  • Cover the washer in masking tape.
  • Cut floral wire in to 4” & 5” Pieces (with the wire cutters).

Form tree armature:
   Take 6 Pieces of cut floral wire and masking tape them into a bundle leaving ½ to ¾ ” clear at one end and 2”-3" on the other end clear, bend the short end of the bundle out, to form feet.
Bend half of the wires out where the tape ends on the longer end, then bend the remaining wire about an inch above that bend
Bend the long straight branches into U or 7 shapes.

Affix tree armature to the masking tape covered washer with hot Glue
Texture Tree Armature:
   Cover the roots of the tree armature in spackle, let dry.
   Mix white glue and water in 50/50 mix.
   Cover the spackle and the masking tape that covers the trunk of the tree with the water/glue mixture, then sprinkle sand over the white glue/water mix, when it dries tap off the excess sand and cover it again in the white glue/water mix, when it is dry the second time, paint the trunk and branches a dark brown and dry-brush a lighter brown, and the base a Dark green with a dry brush of lighter green(s).
Add Foliage:
   Take the larger bits of scouring pads and hot glue them to the branches (use hot glue) and each other, until you cover all the branches, use the smaller bits   (leftovers from the initial scouring pad trimming) to add variety, be careful to not make the tree to top heavy. When you get a look you are happy with, let the glue harden 
(which has already probably happened). Pick off some of the strings of glue and trim the pads a bit with scissors to give a more natural look.

Get your paints ready, and dry-brush a light brown and various shades of green.

Place 1/72nd scale figures around and Voila!
 They are so sturdy I store and transport them in a plastic bag.

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