How to make small fake trees

Written by anne baley
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How to make small fake trees
Make an artificial pine tree for your train layout. (large pine tree image by Shannon Workman from

Model railroaders and diorama builders often have a need to create trees to add to their landscapes. Hobby stores sell small artificial trees, but the cost can be prohibitive. You can make your own trees to add to your railroad or to share with fellow modelers, in just a few minutes time. Handmade trees are very inexpensive and easy enough for novice modelers to create.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bottle brush
  • Metal snips
  • Newspaper
  • Sharp scissors
  • Spray paint
  • Model paint
  • Small paint brush

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  1. 1

    Purchase a set of various sizes of bottle brushes. These brushes can often be found at dollar stores and other discount stores.

  2. 2

    Cut off the handle of the bottle brush, snipping the metal stem 2 inches below the bottom of the bristles.

  3. 3

    Measure from the bottom of the bristles to the height you wish your finished tree to be. Cut off the top of the brush to achieve this final height.

  4. 4

    Cut the bristles of the brush at an angle, with the widest point being at the bottom row of bristles. Angle the scissors so that the top row of bristles form a point at the top of the tree. Begin by cutting the bristles into a cone shape, then cutting individual bristles and sets of bristles to make a more realistic tree shape.

  5. 5

    Lay the cut brush on newspaper and spray paint it with a variety of green spray paints. Use at least two colours to make the needles look more realistic. Let the tree dry completely. Paint the trunk with brown and black model paint to simulate bark on the pine tree.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray a small amount of flocking on the outside tips of the bristles to simulate snow for a winter scene.

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