How to Create a Tree Sculpture

Written by sylvia branch
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How to Create a Tree Sculpture
Telephone wire can make a colourful tree sculpture. (telephone cable 2 image by Vonora from

Tree sculptures can decorate a foyer or other part of your home year-round. You can also customise a tree sculpture for a holiday or special event. A black tree might be decorated with small seasonally themed beads and stretched cotton batting to look like cobwebs for a Halloween decoration. A tree sculpture can also become a wedding, birthday or anniversary gift by turning it into a wish tree. String coloured glass beads on the ends of the branches and hang small cards with special wishes for the recipient from the branches.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • 2 wood blocks
  • 2" finishing nails
  • Glue (optional)
  • Sand (optional)
  • Beads (optional)

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  1. 1

    Create a jig for your tree sculpture project by hammering three nails into a block of wood. The nails should be positioned in a triangle shape. The distance between the nails will determine the height of your tree. A 10-inch span between two nails with the third nail positioned 2 inches out from the centre will make a tree sculpture approximately 8 inches tall.

  2. 2

    Wrap wire loosely around the jig you created with the nails and block of wood. The jig will allow you to duplicate the tree sculpture. Wrap approximately 40 times around. Cut the wire from the spool with wire cutters. Remove it from the jig.

  3. 3

    Twist the wire loop several times to form the trunk. Use pliers if the wire is hard to twist. Reserve the bottom quarter for roots and one-half of the top for the branches.

  4. 4

    Separate the roots and branches by twisting several strands together where they meet the trunk. Leave the tops of the branches untwisted for now. Create some branches and roots larger than others. Twist tightly to make a clear distinction between the trunk, roots and branches.

  5. 5

    Work on individual branches. Twist and separate sections, leaving a V-shape at the end of each. Do the same with the roots, although the ends of the roots can be twisted to a point.

  6. 6

    Pound a nail into a second wood block that will serve as the base of the sculpture. Choose a piece of wood slightly smaller than the span of the roots. You can paint, or stain the wood to get the look you desire. Poke the trunk into the nail. If the nail does not go through, you can place the tree next to the nail and then wrap wire around to secure it and obscure the nail from view.

  7. 7

    Cover the block of wood with glue. Cover with sand or moss if desired. The roots can be pulled up to spread the sand under. If you are applying moss, leave some of the roots underneath for a more realistic look.

  8. 8

    Add beads by stringing a single bead on the end of a branch. It is best to place the bead through two end wires. Once in place, twist the end wires a few times and then flair out to make a V-shape. You can thread two or more beads on the ends of the branches if desired.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint the finished tree sculpture with spray paint for a different look.
  • Experiment with different varieties of trees. You can make bonsai trees and attach them to a large rock with epoxy glue, or sculpt an oak tree. A sculpture of a fruit tree can be built from wire with the appropriate coloured beads attached to the branches: red for an apple tree, orange beads for an orange tree, etc.
  • Be careful when working with bare wire. The ends are sharp. Use your pliers to twist the wire or wear a thin pair of gloves to protect your hands.

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