How to make an indoor tree with a dead tree branch

Written by sharon sweeny
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Used in interior spaces where growing a real tree would be impractical or impossible, artificial trees are sometimes made using a real branch as a stand-in for a real tree trunk and its canopy of branches. Depending on the variety of tree used for the fake trunk and the type of silk leaves used, you can make a virtual mixed woodland forest of mock trees for indoors.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large dead tree branch
  • Saw
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Plastic nursery pot 12 to 18 inches in diameter
  • Small carpenter's level
  • Silk leaves
  • Decorative ceramic pot slightly larger in diameter than the plastic nursery pot
  • Sheet moss

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  1. 1

    Choose a branch with a thick base and a large number of side branches growing off of it. Cut the branch off at its base with a saw, so the branch ends up about 12 inches longer than the height of the tree you will create.

  2. 2

    Mix plaster of Paris following label directions. Fill the pot for the artificial tree with the mixture to within 3 inches of the top. Immediately insert the base of the branch chosen for the tree trunk. Push it all the way to the bottom of the pot.

  3. 3

    Hold the branch so it is straight up and down, using a small level laid against the trunk to ensure it is not leaning. Keep hold of the branch until the plaster of Paris hardens enough to hold the branch upright without leaning.

  4. 4

    Attach silk leaves to the branches using a hot glue gun. Glue on some leaves individually and some in clusters. Put the smallest leaves near the ends of the branches, to mimic new growth.

  5. 5

    Insert the plastic nursery pot into the decorative pot. Cover the plaster of Paris "soil" with sheet moss to hide it and create the illusion of a live ground cover. Completely cover the plaster of Paris, the nursery pot and any gap between it and the decorative pot with the moss.

Tips and warnings

  • Strip the bark off of the artificial branch and spray paint it a greyish-white colour to mimic the bark of a birch tree.

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