Tree sculptor Sal Villano makes his popular bead and wire tree sculptures using glass fringe beads and brass wire. You can create similar tree sculptures at home using 26-gauge wire and glass beads. These trees also make excellent scenery for dioramas, according to the Armorama website. Add loops to the end of the branches to create creative, photo holders. Overall, making wire and bead trees is an excellent introduction to the art of wire sculpting.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Copper or brass wire, 26-gauge
- Wire cutters
- Green glass fringe beads
- Yellow glass fringe beads
- Clear glass fringe beads
- Small plastic food container (optional)
- Plaster (optional)
- Scissors (optional)
Cut 12 strands of wire about 6 to 10 inches in length. Hold the strands together, keeping the ends even, and bend in the middle to create a horseshoe shape. Place three fingers in the middle of the bended end and twist loose ends around your finger to create a loop.
Separate the looped base into three or four loops and twist to create the tree's roots. Continue to separate the loops into individual wires, twisting as you go, to create a more complex root system.
Twist the strands of wire together above the root system, to create the tree's trunk. Twist strands together for several inches to form a thicker, taller trunk. At a height appropriate for the lowest tree branch, separate four pieces of wire from the bunch.
Twist the four pieces together for a short distance to form a branch. About halfway to the ends of the wires, separate the section of four wires into two sections, each two wires thick. Twist these wires together to form two smaller branches. About 1 inch from the end, separate the individual wires to create thin twigs. Bend the branch and twig structure at an angle that resembles a live tree branch.
Continue the process of forming branches at various heights until all of the wires are twisted. Bend the branches until they fan out in a manner similar to natural trees.
String green, yellow and clear beads onto the tree's branches. Secure beads at various lengths around the tree's crown by twisting the wires into a small knot on either side of the bead. Some artists find it easier to string beads as they form the wire branches, so experiment to find the process that works best for you.
Create an optional plaster base for the tree by cutting the top off of a small plastic food container. Fill the container with plaster. Place the tree on top of the container and bend some roots so that they are secured inside the plaster. Allow the plaster to set completely before cutting away the plastic food container.
Bend roots to make a base for trees not secured in plaster. Fan out the roots so that the trees stands upright. To create an optional picture holder, twist two small loops of wire the same size, leaving a piece of wire loose at the end. Twist the loose wire to the end of the tree branches, to secure the loops side by side. Slide picture in between the loops.
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