Secrets of Making a Miniature Tree(

How to make a miniature model tree.

What makes a tree a tree? That’s  the question we have to ask ourselves first.
For many of us trees are a common sight but how many of us  have a visual memory of how many main branches the tree in front or behind our house have?

The point I am trying to put across is that  in order to create something on nature, it does not hurt to pay a closer attention to the trees around your home  and do some study. With a basic knowledge of how a tree really looks like, it will definitely benefit the modeller and pave the way to making realistic looking miniature trees.

The topic of tree-making have been covered in many terrain modelling books and articles. In this article I shall write about making a miniature fantasy tree.  I call it fantasy tree because you won’t find one like it in nature. You can also call it a hybrid tree if you want- a mix between  different species of trees.  

Making Your Own Unique Tree

Over here in the tropics, there are thousands of  species of trees to choose from but the fantasy tree I chose to make was a mix between a bonsai(the trunk), a rain tree(the foliage) both  found near my home.  The goal  for making the  tree was to support my 28mm Legolas miniature that is mounted on a  small square base and therefore every step of the process was planned specifically to that  objective.

Get Inspired

The key to making a good model is to get inspired and excited first.  Snap photos of interesting looking trees,  study them and choose the things you like about them. This will generate the interest and give you an idea on what to make and what to achieve.

Image via Wikipedia


Simplify your miniature tree if it is your first one.  It is easy to get carried away by making too many branches than you can handle.

As I mentioned earlier, it will greatly help if you have good reference  of the type of tree you want to make.  Next, it is imperative that you consider the scale of the miniature tree you are trying to make beforehand. Once you have a mental picture of what you want,  choose the materials that you need according to your requirement.

If you are making a large scale tree(54mm or bigger), you will need a bigger gauge wire for the wire frame while a small or medium gauge wire will suffice for smaller scale(like in the video ). Always keep in mind that the bigger the gauge of the wire, the harder it is to twist your wires together to form the wire frame.

Wire Frame

The length of wire you cut is the full height from the roots to the  highest  branch of the tree.  The total number of wires you add up together also represents the total number of branches and roots of the tree(if you have 18 wires, you will have a tree with 18 branches and 18 roots).

Materials for Bark

There are many different types of materials that you can use for making miniature tree bark. The items you can use are:

  • Epoxy putty
  • Miliput
  • General Purpose putty
  • Wood filler
  • Polyfilla

Remember that when you apply bark material onto the wire frame,  it will make the trunk and branches thicker so you need to visualise beforehand  the thickness of the tree trunk and branches.

To simulate leaves on the tree, you can use Dried Moss or Scatter from Woodland Scenic.  It will be less tricky if you apply mounting spray or hairspray to stick your leaves to the branches(as compared to PVA glue). To simulate fallen leaves at the base of the tree, crush a dried leaf into tiny pieces. Apply some PVA glue onto  the base of the tree and scatter them over the area that you want the fallen leaves to be.

It is always great to experiment with different kinds of materials and see what works best for you. 

Have fun trying! For more tips on miniature modelling and painting please visit:

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Published in: Gardening


RSSComments: 5  |  Post a Comment
  1. Good idea! I’ll try on this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re just so talented, what a blessing to have such a creative side where you work with your hands making delicate items that are breath taking. Do you make items on the side per request for a fee?

  3. wow, you really an artist, good in so many artwork.
    I hereby give you my recognition, with rubber stamped “Excellent”.

  4. so nice! my bfriend makes models like this one! i have to show him ur work! :)

  5. Nice idea!

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