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 Tree tutorial

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Philter4

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PostSubject: Tree tutorial   Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:30 pm

I have been asked to do a step by step tutorial on making trees and bushes for dioramas or just to add some interesting features to your animal figure displays. I will do this in several parts, part 1 is a list of materials that I use to make the dioramas but remember, THESE ARE MY TECHNIQUES, NOT THE ONLY TECHNIQUES. There are no right or wrong brands, no right or wrong ways to do any of this, do what you feel comfortable with, use materials you can get easily or have worked with and are comfortable with.

You will need some tools, here is a list of the tools I use, those marked with an asterisk * are tools I use with every tree so I recommend you have them, the others I use from often to rarely depending on it's use.

TOOLS:
Wire cutters *
Needle nose pliers*
Mini vice grips*
Stylus tools, 5 sizes
Paint brushes*, several different brush heads
Exacto knife*
Mini files, 3 grades
Mini jewellery toolset, eyeglass repair set, 5 piece set
Airbrush, mini kit*
Compressor
Mini compressor*
Haemostats, stainless and plastic
Tweesers*
Scissors* 2 sets, mini and full sized
Manual pasta roller

These tools are what I use to make most trees or landscaping scene. Some like the compressor I also use with all of my auto tools but I purchased an electric mini compressor from a hobby shop just for use with airbrushed that is fantastic. The pasta roller is used on hard clay, it makes preparing or mixing different clays so much easier that I highly recommend it but it is not necessary to have, you can mix with your hands.

Here is a supply list, these items you need, but brand is not important so if I use a brand name not available to you in some other countries just get a comparable brand.

SUPPLIES:
Oven bake clay
Air dry clay
Paper clay
Durham's Wood Putty
Flexible lead wire
Florists wire
Wooden dowels, various thicknesses
Acrylic paint, assorted colors
Spray paint, assorted colors with primers
Thick paper, colored for foliage or white if you want to custom paint it
Preserved and artificial foliage, I will have a whole section on this later in the tutorial

That is what you need to get started, I am going to start a tree today and I'll take lots of photos so the next part will have pictures to go along with the text.
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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:54 pm

Gosh ! How awfully, enormously kind of you to let us get a first intro to the magical world of making trees as great as yours sunny


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goatherder

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:56 am

I look forward to it.
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Philter4

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:33 pm

Now comes some of the fun stuff!!! First here are a few photos of some of the supplies, the first two photos are the wooden dowels and wire I use as the frames for supporting the trees.




I use the thick lead wire to add height and additional shape to the branches the green or silver (there is no difference other then color) florist wire to create the branches and detail down to the tips. The first step is to cut the florist wire to the length you need. Remember we will be twisting and bending the wire so cut it at least 3 inches longer then the height you want. I usually start with 100 pieces about double the length I want, for example if I am making a 12 inch (30 cm) tree I cut 100 pieces of wire 36 inches (about 95 cm) long.


Then I cut between 6 and 8 of the thick lead wire in 15 inch lengths. At this point your imagination or experiences comes into play. I have said this before and I'll say it again here: THESE ARE MY TECHNIQUES NOT THE ONLY TECHNIQUES, there are no right or wrong ways to do this, do what you feel comfortable with I start with trees I have seen in the wild, mostly while travelling but sometimes trees around my house have a shape I like or for my last forest dio, since I love the tropics if I see a tree here in the mountains I like I just use the shape and make a tropical species, or if I'm travelling I can see actual tropical species. I start drawing the trees I am thinking of making NOTE: the reason I have the wire cut first is I have space issues so my tree has to fit in a spot now that my dio is getting full, when I started I used to do the drawings first then the size was as big as I could make it. here are some of the ones I've done in the past.






For this tree we are just making a typical tree so I take my thick wire in sets of two and begin twisting the wire into the shapes of the trunk and branches. Start at least 1 inch above so you have some extre at the bottom for your base.


To this I add the florist wire, first fold a set in half and about 1-1.5 inches above the fold start twisting the sets of the florists wire. This loop at the bottom will be important as the base to help the tree stand up on its own once you are done. These sets of wire can be any number from two to twenty, there is no wrong number but the more you use the more branch tips you will have off of that particular arm.


Than start twisting all of these into your tree. Remember to leave the loose wire loops on the bottom to make a foot for your trees base.


That is enough for now, but it should keep you busy if you are trying to make a tree along with me!



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widukind

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:49 pm

What a phantastic idea sunny sunny sunny

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Kikimalou
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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:58 pm

cheers thank you very much Phil Very Happy

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Roger
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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:16 am

That is surely a great contribution to our forum and it will be very helpful to current and future members for sure. Very Happy
Thanks for your initiative, Phil! cheers

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Philter4

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:51 pm

I have had a commission and some other things going on so I am a little delayed in this tutorial. I also realize I didn't show any show any photos oh the loops that make the tree stand up so here is a photo of the base of a ginkgo tree I'm working on, I will have a thread on it, over 2000 individually laser cut, hand painted leaves, each one glued to the branches one at a time! And I thought the magnolia tree was hard!!!

Anyway, here is the wire base, made by twisting the wires into loops and spread out like a fan.
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Saarlooswolfhound

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:28 am

This is an awesome tutorial! Thanks so much for posting this, although I would never have quite enough patience for diorama making like this, I see it as a very great art, and you do it so well. Thanks!
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Sergey

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:48 pm

Sad(o)): Sad(o)): Sad(o)): Sad(o)): Sad(o)): Sad(o)):

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:09 pm

Very interesting and workful! affraid
It will be great to see how it will develop! bounce Very Happy

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Philter4

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:37 am

I have just a little free time so I thought I would go through the next steps in making a tree. Now that you have a frame you are ready to add "wood", depending on how big your tree is will depend on what material you use. For small to medium trees an oven baked clay works well, for larger trees I use Durham's Wood Putty. Durham's is very heavy so sometImes I use paper mâché for the trunk to save on weight but for most trees I just use the wood putty.

I first mix it as a thick milkshake consistency, then turning the tree upside down I pour the mix down the wire frame until it gets to the tips of the branches. This may take several smaller mixes, the putty dries fairly quickly so remember to mix smaller amounts and let it dry between pours and make as many different batched as you have to to cover the branches reasonably well. You don't have to cover the whole tree this way, just give yourself a good base to work with. Once this is done I turn the tree over and start mixing the putty just a little thicker, then using latex gloves (everything you do with the putty should involve gloves and old clothes as it is messy and hard to clean up after it dries so work outside or cover your work area) cover the base and branches that are still exposed, getting all the way to the tips. Just as before, mix small amounts and let it dry in between.

If you are using clay, start at the bottom and work your way up to the tips, here is a series of photos showing the progress.




Then just paint in earth tone bark colors.


Again, this step will keep you going if your following along with your own tree, if not hopefully it will give you the inspiration to start a tree or even a diorama of your own.
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Roger
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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:42 pm

Great explanations. Surely easier to understand that to do. Very Happy Well, we can already try a deciduous tree. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:57 pm

This is SO fascinating Very Happy

Gosh, you surely are an artist, - it is enormously kind of you to let us see the process sunny

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Philter4

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:44 am

@Roger wrote:
Great explanations. Surely easier to understand that to do. Very Happy Well, we can already try a deciduous tree. Very Happy
Believe it or not Roger, it is so easy it is hard to tell you and make you believe! There are no tricks, almost no skill, nothing like Anna or Harriet, Silvia, Joan, and every other sculptor whose works grace these forums, if you make a mistake...OH wait, there are no mistakes because branches don't grow this way or that way, they grow any way they want!

@SUSANNE wrote:
This is SO fascinating Very Happy

Gosh, you surely are an artist, - it is enormously kind of you to let us see the process sunny

So many people have helped me when I was learning I am happy to give my process to anyone who wants to make a tree of their own.
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MartinH
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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:43 am

Wow! Your ideas and creativity still amazes me! Great work Phil Sad(o)): Sad(o)): Sad(o)):

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Ana

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:59 am

I like this tutorial a lot! I feel temted to try one day bounce Thank You for sharing Phil! I hope more collectors will try it too! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:04 am

The tutorial is awesome and Phil is an excellent teacher. He taught me so much in making my trees. I couldn't have done them so good without his help and tips. Once you get started you won't want to quit, trust me.
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JonasV

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:45 pm

Thanks for sharing this!  cheers cheers cheers 

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PostSubject: Re: Tree tutorial   Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:47 pm

Awesome finally I can make a Tree  bounce bounce bounce cheers Thanks a lot  Very Happy 

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