How to Make a Fake Bonsai Tree

Updated February 21, 2017

A genuine bonsai tree is developed from seeds, cuttings or naturally small trees. Bonsai trees grow from 2 inches to more than 3 feet tall through the aggressive pruning of branches and roots, and the trees are wired to form pleasing shapes. Real bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years but require a great deal of maintenance. It is possible to achieve bonsai shapes using synthetic luna clay and florist wire to create a worry-free substitute. Creating the greenery may take some time and patience, but you will be rewarded with a creation everyone admires.

Place florist sponge in the bottom of a mica or other decorative stone pot.

Twist florist wire to form a miniature tree trunk and branches. Add smaller branches and twigs by twisting them onto your larger branches.

Cover the wire with luna clay until your tree form is filled out. Leave an uncovered portion at the base of the trunk to anchor your tree in the florist sponge. White coloured luna clay dries by itself and will not crack or break with repositioning. Allow the clay to dry.

Paint your tree form with oil paint using a small crafter's brush. Add detail using various colours as desired. Allow the paint to dry between successive coats.

Craft leaves or other greenery from luna clay. Paint the leaves to add realism.

Hot glue the leaves and greenery to the bonsai-like tree form. Allow the glue to dry.

Cover the florist sponge with decorative pebbles around the base of the tree trunk.


Florist wire, sponge and polished pebbles are available at florist shops. Luna clay can be purchased at a craft or hobby store. Luna clay leaves and branches may be repositioned, even after drying, by warming the clay with a hair dryer. Use a picture of a real bonzai tree from a book or the Internet as inspiration.


Take care when using a glue gun. Keep this tool out of the reach of small children and ensure that older children use hot glue under adult supervision.

Things You'll Need

  • Mica pot or other stoneware pot
  • Florist sponge
  • Florist wire
  • Luna clay
  • Oil paint
  • Craft brush
  • Glue gun
  • Smooth pebbles
  • Hair dryer
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About the Author

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.