Fake decorative trees add colour and life to a room without the care requirements of real trees. Beyond needing to be dusted every once in a while, fake trees remain green and lush in dark, cold rooms with no watering. Creating your own fake trees gives you the opportunity to customise the size, shape and colouring to your tastes. You may add flowers or simply stick with leaves. You may also forego a realistic look for a metallic, bare-wire tree with gemstone chips acting as the leaves. Whatever your choices, you can whip up one of these versatile trees in an afternoon.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 24-gauge craft wire
- Wire nips
- Gallon bucket
- Stir stick
- Small terracotta tray
- Masking tape
- Wood filler
- Acrylic paint
- Stiff bristle brush
- Polyfiber fill
Nip about 15 pieces of craft wire about 4 inches long. This should create a 15-inch-high tree. Gather the pieces together and fold them in half. Pinch the wires together about 5 inches above the fold to create a loop. Twist the wires together about three turns.
Separate the loops below the twist into bundles of three and four. Twist the bundles together for about five or six turns, separate the bundles into groups of one or two, and twist out to the end. This creates your root system; make it as twisted and gnarled as you can.
Twist the wires together above the twist for about five more turns, creating a trunk about 5 inches long. Separate the wires into groups of three, four and five, and twist them together for several turns. Separate the wires again into groups of two and three, and continue twisting. Bend and twist the branches so they look natural.
Mix about a pint of plaster powder with about 1 ½ cups water to make a thick mixture. Cover the drain hole in your terracotta tray with masking tape, and pour the plaster into the tray to about ½ inch from the top. Allow the plaster to harden for half the time the packaging recommends.
Place your tree on top of the partially hardened plaster. Poke the tips of the roots into the plaster, pushing down on the tree gently to anchor it. Allow the plaster to cure completely.
Squeeze dime-sized dollops of wood filler onto the roots of your tree. Smooth the filler over the wires with your fingers, creating a wood-coloured coating over your tree. Continue working up to where the branches split into single wires. Allow the fill to harden overnight.
Apply brown acrylic paint to your tree with a stiff-bristle brush, using a different shade of brown. Allow the paint to dry for several minutes, then brush at it sharply with up-and-down strokes to give the tree the illusion of bark texture.
Gently pull apart a little polyfiber fill and lay it over the bare wires at the tops of the branches. Add just enough to cover the wires, but allow the branches to show for a natural look. Use just green for leaves, or add a little pink, yellow or white for flowers.
Spray the polyfiber leaves with aerosol hairspray to hold them in place. Also spray the plaster with hairspray, and press polyfiber fill on top to create grass before displaying your decorative tree.
Tips and warnings
- To create a Japanese money tree or decorative gemstone tree, stop at Step 5 and slip money tree coin beads or gemstone chips of your choice onto the single wires. Use plenty of beads to give your tree a full look.
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