Monday, June 28, 2010

Easy Trees to Make Mark II

Been some time since my first tree making article and techniques have improved. So with that in mind I gathered the materials to make a new and improved easy tree.
So first the supplies to be used include Clump Foliage, 16D nail, thin plastic base painted a dark green color, some Ground Cover and Grass Material along with some thin twigs from a tree outside donated, white glue and a hot glue gun. I painted the nails a dark brown. Yes, I know most tree trunks actually look gray for the most part but I am a convert to the Hollywood approach, model what you see in the movies and people tend to like it better than having to explain why I did it the natural way.

Next I affix the nail to the base with the hot glue gun. Hot glue is Under the head and smashed against the base, held to cool solid. Then I put the tip of the gun against the trunk, apply a lot of glue and then slowly move it away from the trunk, weaving along a bit and drawing it out. This makes nice Roots for the tree and reinforces the adhesion of the nail to the base. The miniature is a 28mm figure, ACW I do believe, put in for scale reference.
Here I am slapping some paint on the dried hot glue, it takes only moments for it to cool completely. I do not have to be to careful about getting it on the base as I will be gluing the flock to the base right up to the roots, which covers the over paint nicely. I also painted up the base some so the colors are matching, though to tell, it  would be pretty difficult to the eye to tell them apart with out holding it up to the sunlight and looking closely under the tree.
Next I have taken one block of the Clump Foliage and torn it into 4 pieces, each one slightly smaller than the one before. I do not tear them into flat pancakes, rather irregular shapes as they will not be reassembled on the nail so they fill out more space more easily. I will use some small bits from another cube of foliage later to help fill in places that the eye determines needs some help.
First piece is stabbed onto the nail, the largest piece first. It is roughly centered in the widest area of the foliage clump. Do not worry about things sticking out at this point, trimming comes later on. I did not put any glue on the nail either at this point.
Moving along each clump gets stuck on top of the other. Turn the clumps so they are random yet spread coverage out in all directions.  The top most piece gets placed after a goodly bit of hot glue is applied to the last 1/2 inch of the nail head, all around the shaft. The last piece is pushed down and held for a few moments till the hot glue cools and takes hold. Do not rush the cool down time or the piece may still curl up and barely be hanging on. I used a nail with out a base to take pictures with, usually I only use the based nails to assemble trees. 

Here is the rough of the tree on its base, all its chunky bits sticking out all over, little or no rhyme or reason appearing to it. No worries, next is trimming and shaping.

If you want you can snip or use both hands to grip and pull off odd chunks that are not looking appropriate. Do not get overly concerned if you pull a bit off here or there that you realize really did look better. Hot Glue to the Rescue. Use a glob about the size of a pencil erasure to adhere the 2 sections back together.

Okay so here is something new. Taking small sticks from a tree outside, I broke off bits about 2 inches long. The one nearest the tree base has had hot glue smeared on about a 1/2 inch and then a piece of clump foliage stuck right on and cooled. These pieces are for the newer growth on the tree and can be stuck into depressions or where ever suits your artistic eye to add a bit more fill in. Leave some of the stick showing also. A few of the sticks can be lifted and stuck between overhanging pieces of clump foliage to make it look like branches pushed up into each other.

Fun time with PVA white glue. I used a squeeze bottle to lay some trails of glue, and then a old brush to spread it around under the canopy of the tree. Look down on your tree to make sure your getting it to the outer edges where the bulk of leaves and dead branches would fall.

Here is the Flock applied, pressed down and the excess tapped off. I found the really nice dead wood piece in the bottle of Flock material, which I had to open and pour about 1/4 of it into a small bowel and mix it up. Transport and shaking over time had moved the finer material to the bottom of the shaker bottle and the coarse dead wood material to the top of the shaker bottle.
Final step was to use the Grass Material around the edges of the dead wood Flock. Some trees I do darker dead wood flock with more tan colors for dead leaves, especially if the tree will be one of several on a larger joint base. Do remember to brush flock off the top of the major ground roots for a better visual effect.
 And here is the final shot of the new tree. Excluding the time to pose and take shots, probably spent about 5 minutes assembling the entire tree after the paint dried on the nails and gathered everything together. From that point assembling many trees is very easy.


  1. Great technique. I'll have to try it.

  2. Those trees are the best Alfrik! I still use the three you gave to me a few years back. Every time someone comments on them, and I tell them how you made them, they are gobsmacked! Now I can send them to your blog!

  3. Excellent article, will have to try it myself as I have a number of trees that could do with more substantial basing


  4. Do you have an idea of how many trees you can make with the shown pack of clump foliage?

  5. hmmm number of trees per bag, depends on how large your making them but its about one moderate size tree per clump, 6 clumps to the bag. The Trick to extend them is to tear them into round sections, not just nick the "cube" clump. Hot glue bits on here and there to give it a fuller look.