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Mexico 2000

Making Trees

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I thought some of you might like to see how to make track side trees.


I recently learned this method from an old gentleman who has been modelling for 50 years.


Step 1


Get some single strand sisal twine (the old rope style). It is available in brown or green, and is found in hardware stores.


Now get some 0.9mm wire.


Cut the twine into 50-60mm lenths and unwind the twist so it lays flat.


Cut a length of wire about 500mm.




Step 2


Use a hot glue gun to coat a section of the wire and lay the flattened twine on the wire. Then lay the wire back over the twine to sandwich it between the wire forming a loop at the top.




Step 3


Place the tail of the wire in a vice, using a battery drill, place a hook in the drill, put the hook through the loop in the wire and while pulling on the drill slowly spin up the wire.




It should look something like this.




Now cut it roughly to shape and cut the loop off the top.


Step 4


Spray the twine with spray glue and sprinkle with sawdust (pine is best). You can repeat this step to build up your tree if you want more bulk.




Step 5


Spray your tree the desired colour. You can use hints of yellow and/or red to create an autumn tree or brown for a dead one.




Here's some I did yesterday.




You can even make several smaller ones to make a big tree




You will probably have a couple of disasters before you get the hang of it but it's worth the effort.


Enough material for about 100 trees will cost about $30.




Garry :huh:







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I only just spent $18 on trees today :huh: (should have been put towards a car, lol) Seeing just how easy this is, I will be experimenting for sure. You could double the amount of twine for really thick trees, the sky is the limit for sizes and shapes. :D


Thanks Garry , as a huge fan of building your own scenery, I really appreciate you sharing this technique on Auslot. :):D


Cheers Manic ;)

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Thanks for sharing Garry, I did a similar thing with the sawdust and spray paint on my own trees, but used Coles brand scouring pads, ripped up as the 'starter' on a bamboo stick.....

Find me at Card Guys for custom trading cards

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This is a very good method (Typically called the Bottle Brush Tree) and can be done with several mediums......the sisal twine is good as is other varieties of natural rope fiber.

Another is Broom Grass.


The only thing I would consider trying that is different from what was suggested above is to Paint BEFORE adding the colored sawdust or fine ground foam.

Once Dry spray with a spray adhesive or a Cheap Hairspray and sprinkle on the ground foam


If you need tree's fast but still want a good looking variety you can purchase and Improve Box Stock Tree's.


HEKI makes a Bottle Brush variety of tree thats a good place to start.The smaller landscape type pines are about 20.00 for 100 trees in the 2-4" range



All you need is the Box of Heki tree's (or similar), A Pliers, A Hammer, 2 shades of ground foam (1 for a Balsam Pine and 1 for a Spruce type Pine, 3M super 77 Spray adhesive (or a cheap hairspray) A Piece of styrofoam to put finished trees on, an ice cream pail lid to sprinkle foam over.



Hold tree by base with pliers....Spray with adhesive and sprinkle with ground foam........Now tap the pliers with your hammer. This will knock off whatever is not stuck. Stick into styrofoam and go on to the next.



With 2 types of ground foam you'll end up with nice variations:




These look very good up close

From this



to this, and all for around 30.00 and in 2 hours time.


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For a Larger variety of tree I use a bit different Method. A freind of mine did a really nice tutorial on this method and I certainly cant improve on his Clinic one bit.............BUT, I can share it :unsure:

Tall Tree's Clinic - Rick Ludlow (OregonOn30)


The system I use is the very simple Malcolm Furlow approach, which is a balsa trunk, Caspia branches and green ground foam from WS.


I taper a 1/2" balsa stick about 2 ft. long (O scale) to a fairly fine tip using my dremel disk sander. I then hand sand to a smooth shape and use either a stiff barbeque wire brush to apply a grain. If I want a redwood tree, I use either a hacksaw blade or Sawzall blade to really put the deep grain in it.



I stain the trunk with alcohol/India ink and maybe a thin wash of brown acrylic paint.

Then, I spray a clump of caspia earth brown and cut off the branches of caspia at different sizes. I use a pushpin to poke holes in the trunk starting at the top.

As I move down the trunk gluing in branches, I go from small branches at the top (sticking straight up or diagonally) and increase the size as I move down the tree trunk and continue to increase the angle of the branches downward as I glue them in.

When I am nearly 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the trunk I stick in some oddball stick like branches at odd angles (deadwood).





When the branches are in, I spray a small section of branches at a time with hairspray or clear fixative of some sort and immediately drop the foam onto the branches. I repeat until it looks full enough. Then, continue on until the branches are covered.

Once it looks OK, I give it a final over spray to make sure the foam is stuck on well. Not very exciting or innovative, but it works for me.




There you go, Museum Quality Model trees............These take some time but are well worth it for front of the layout top quality tree's Like White Pine, Sequia , Redwood, Red or Norway Pine and even Douglas Fir tree's......Mix in a few smaller variety tree's that appear to be struggling near the base of these giants for a very realistic scene.

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A quick & Easy Deciduous tree method.


Start with a natural Weed called Yarrow......



It grows along country roads in the ditches and along hillsides.

Pick when Dry..........Last years crop can be picked NOW!!!


Trim them up and Add to this armature some Polyfibre teased out very fine (much finer than this picture shows)



Once you have added the polyfibre spray paint the armature a dark brown or a grey brown etc.

NOTE - For birch trees use White and Paint the Yarrow Armature first then add your polyfibre & paint a reddish brown near the tops for the fine branches. Use a permanent marker to add black spots to the trunk of the tree up into the main branches.


Choose a leaf color that represents your tree. Spray adhesive works well here. Spray and sprinkle on ground foam or Leaf material. (i was out of scenic express leaf material so used ground foam from Woodland scenics on these. I will add leaf scatter over these when it arrives)



Be sure to spray and sprinkle from the underside also.

Heavyier tree's should be background and the lighter airy tree's used near the forground. These will actually be background trees. a MUCH Airier tree will be in front mixed with Pines for the scene these are being made for.


Good Luck........... Practice makes Perfect!! :unsure:

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