Making my own trees

You always need trees and plenty of them. I have been reading up on more tree making techniques, after the Chinese eBay technique was wearing a bit thin. Looking at railway modelling books and the internet i have seen many ways of using wire to make trees and thought i would give it a go. Starting with anywhere from 15 to 30 pieces of wire up to 15 cm in length i just put some masking tape around the bottom of the whole bundle to create a trunk. Make sure the tape is good and tight to stop the wires from separating. Then its just a question of twisting a number of wires together (3 or more depending on how thick you want the branches to be and how many of them you want). You need to try and create as random a look as possible. I tried lots of different ways of twisting wires together before i got a look that i was happy with. There is a bunch of Youtube stuff out there on this subject, with some people using drills and other devices. I found it easy enough by hand to create some good looking results. I then covered as much of the wire with masking tape nice and tightly, except for the end bits which if only 1 wire thick do not matter. The great thing is wire and masking tape cost very little and you can churn out some really good looking trees for a small outlay. Chinese eBay trees are nice and cheap too but these home made ones look far more natural (in my opinion).

After the tape i give the trees a good coat of a paint thickening medium, but could use PVA glue or filler or something similar. When thats dry i painted them with a mixture of raw umber, burnt umber and white. Tree trunks are a brown grey sort of colour. I did some highlights in a light grey and light brown too to pick out the gnarly details. For the foliage i had sourced some rubberized horsehair from the UK and used that with bits of coconut fibre. The coconut fibre is dirt cheap from Bunnings, while the rubberized horsehair is expensive, so i wanted to stretch the use of the horsehair. I am thinking maybe i could soak coconut fibre in PVA glue and compress it and make my own rubberized fibre. Once the foliage is glued to the wire armatures i used three different kinds of flock sprinkled over PVA glue. Other people use spray adhesive for this step but i found just brushing PVA glue onto the foliage and then sprinkling works well.

All the trees were mounted into MDF bases which are decorated and flocked. You can see with the bigger tree the wires at the base of the trunk can be splayed out and twisted to make big roots. Next up i need to make an apple orchard for my Normandy battlefields….. Tiny apples out of modelling clay. Golden Delicious anyone??

9 thoughts on “Making my own trees

  1. True, you can never have too many trees and the ones you made looks very nice! How about some Desert Rat/Afrika Korps palm trees? 🙂


  2. True, you can never have too many trees and the ones you made looks very nice! How about some Desert Rat/Afrika Korps palm trees? 🙂

    I thought I’d ask: I’m thinking to spreading my wings a little and making a bit of modest scatter terrain, but I want the base to be made out of something that isn’t going to warp, especially at the edges like I see a lot of terrain does at game stores I go to. Any suggestions on that front?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great, thanks for the tip. I’ll give it a try. Sorry for the double post. Please delete the other one if you’d like.


    1. Chiming in here: Even with 3mm MDF I had some warping, however, since I cover the MDF first in Shellac the warping due to moisture is zero. Mechanical stress can still warp the MDF, so while it is drying put something heavy on top. I believe if you go thicker, say 5mm, warping is not really a problem any more. That said, a coat with shellac will also protect from environmental humidity and thus prevent warping in the long run (say, if you store your stuff in a cellar).

      Liked by 2 people

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