Friday, November 4, 2011

Making Trees

In my last post I was making Normandy type hedgerows out of foam rubber. The foliage used to decorate the mounds was made from painted ground up foam scraps. In fact, I had so much extra foliage that I decided to make trees with the stuff.

The illustrations above shows some of the supplies and tools needed for this project.  Here is a complete supply list:

1 - Cheap wire clothes hanger ( I get these with my laundered shirts from the cleaner)
1 - Computer CD (Finally, a use for that Peter Frampton boxed set I got for Chritmas)
2 to 4 - Brown pipe cleaners (this depends on the height of the trunk)
Mat Board
Tape (Pictured is a roll of floral wrapping tape, but masking tape will work fine)
Colored fiberfil (this is used for the bulk of the tree's foliage)
Colored ground foam (this is for the textured folige)
Paint - geen or brown
Hot glue and applicator
Spray adhesive
Wire cutters
Sissors (unless you are using a tearable tape)

Below are the steps for creating a tree:

1. Cut four equal lengths of wire from the hanger (they do not have to be exact).
2. Bend about 1/2 inch of the wire back against itself. (this is to keep you from impaling yourself on the tree should you step on it or fall on it)
3. Bend the other end to a 90 degree angle about an inch to 1.5 inches from the end.
4. Reprat steps 2 and 3 for the other three wires.

5. Bind the wires together along the long segment with the tape.
6. Position the bends about 90 degrees from each other. This forms the roots of the tree and keeps it from falling over.

7. Starting with the roots, wrap the wires with the pipe cleaner. I work from the end of one root, across to the opposite root. I cut off the excess pipe cleaner and use the remainder to wrap the trunk. The entire trunk does not need to be wrapped, it just needs enough wrapping so that the wires do not show under the folieage.

8. Cut a circle from the mat board to fill the hole in the CD.
9. Tape the mat board circle into place on what will be the underside of the base.
10. Using the hot glue, stick the tree trunk to the CD. (I really don't have a boxed set of Peter Framton CDs. I use leftover CDs from my work)

11. Take some of the fiberfil and stretch it out and mold it into "tree-like" shapes.
12. Apply hot glue to the upper part of the tree trunk and carefully (so as not to burn yourself) stick the fiberfil to the glue.
13. Spray the fiberfil with the spray adheasive.
14. Cover the fiberfil with the ground foam foliage.
15. Gently shake off the excess foliage. You can reapply the adheasive and foliage until you get the desired coverage.

16. Give the base a coat of green or brown paint (if I did own a boxed set of Peter Frampton CDs, I would use them for tree bases though).
17. Decorate the base with stones, twigs, and flocking. Do whatever you do to the bases of your soldiers.

If you have problems with excessive foliage loss, get a old spray bottle and fill it with watered down white glue. Spray the foliage with the thinned glue and let dry.

This completes the tree. It is now ready for the table, floor, or where ever you wargame.