Whether you are looking to make a tree as part of scenery for a play, a classroom project or a Halloween decoration or outside display, you can easily create your own at home with a little time. An easy way of building a tree is to use chicken wire, paper mache and paint. Building your own tree is inexpensive and easy to do; however, it is important to plan ahead since it will take time to dry.
Wear work gloves and use your hands to form the shape of a tree trunk using a large piece of chicken wire. If necessary, use pliers to bend the wire.
Use wire snips to cut smaller pieces of chicken wire. Use these strips to mould branches and roots. The number of roots and branches is up to you.
Use craft paper or newspaper to cover the entire tree, making sure to include the trunk, roots and limbs. Use masking tape to seal the seams in the paper. Cover all the chicken wire. This will make it easier to apply paper mache to the tree.
Mix together one part flour to five parts water in a large pot to make glue. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil then allow it to cool for 3 minutes. Allow the glue or paste to cool completely before using. Make more paste as you need it. If you prefer not to make your own paper mache glue you can use liquid starch which you can find at your local grocery store.
Tear more craft paper or newspaper into 1- to 2-inch strips. The number of strips you need will depend on the size of your tree.
Place the strips of paper into your prepared glue. Pull the strips between your fingers to wipe away excess glue.
Wrap the entire tree in the paper. Make sure the strips overlap. Use your fingers to smooth the edges of the strips together. Add additional layers of paper mache until your tree has the desired structure.
Allow the tree to dry completely. This process can take up to a full week depending on the number of layers you use.
Paint your finished tree using brown paint. You can add shadows and depth to the tree with black paint. If you want to seal the tree, you can use varnish.
You can leave the tree as is or if you want to add leaves, glue silk leaves to the branches. For a fuller tree, place one or more open umbrellas into the top of the tree and cover it with the leaves.
Tips and warnings
- You can leave the tree as is or if you want to add leaves, glue silk leaves to the branches. For a fuller tree, place one or more open umbrellas into the top of the tree and cover it with the leaves.
Things you need
- Work gloves
- Chicken wire
- Wire snips
- Craft paper
- Masking tape
- Large pot