Making Trees with Wire

Part Two : Stem and Branches

To create the top half of the tree, gently twist the 18 (in case you use 9 wires) or 24 (12 wires) to make a stem. You do this for a few centimeters, until the height where you want to make the lowest branch. At that place you take four strands and separate those from the rest of the bunch. Those need not be four strands that were already sitting together. You get the best result when you take two strands from each side of the bunch.

Twist these four strands together to make a branch. You make that a few centimeters long.

After twisting a branch for a few centimeters, take two strands apart and twist those again. Twist the other two strands together also. Make sure there's a balanced distance between the heighth of the first branch, the length of the first branch to the first "split" and the rest of the branch.

Now continue twisting the stem unto the stage where you want to make a second branch.

There you repeat the process with four strands of wire, etc.

Adding Extra Branches

When you make a big tree in this way, and you use relatively thin strands, it may look a bit thin. You can make your tree more bushy by adding extra wires. For this, you can use the same thickness of wire or a thinner wire. Don't use very thin wire : it is important that your tree structure remains quite strong and does not bend too much. Too much flexibility will make your tree vulnerable to damage after you started to cover the metal wiring with plaster or other material (see further).

Wind the extra wire up the stem of your tree, up to the place where you want to add and extra branch. You can use one strand or wire for this, or two. To make the branch, make a loop. Make it about twice as long as you want the branch to be. Then keep winding the rest of the wire up the tree, and cut it at a convenient location (the last part where you cut it can serve as a small branch).

Start winding the loop (branch up to a stage where you want a side branch. If you use two strands here, you can split one off to make the branch. If you use only one strand, twist it in half so you end up with two loops. Split one off as a side branch.

Continue the same process till the loop has ended in several side branches and even smaller branches. You will end up with small loops where the branches have to be, like you did when making the roots.

Cut these loops in half (somewhere between three and five O'clock), so you make each loop into two small branch endings.

You can repeat this process with more strands of wire (blue in the figure) until your tree looks good.

When the whole tree is finished, start shaping it up. Twist and turn the branches till they look natural. When branches split in two, this is often horizontally, not so much vertically. This depends on the type of tree you try to make.

About the Author

About Jan (GeneralFailure)

I live in Belgium, Europe. Though modeling was big on my list of hobbies, I spent all my time refurbishing the home we bought a few years ago. I promised I'd be back some day. That day can't be far off, now.


Is Jan still a member here? I can't access his profile to see an email or send him a private message. Thanks Pat
MAR 19, 2009 - 09:46 AM
Belg1960 Short answer (from memory) is that Jan left a few years ago and used to drop in occasionally. I have used his technique and I think it makes fantastic trees - I used magic sculpt instead of grout - which made the tree more expensive but then my excuse is that I was getting a feel for the putty. I think there is a photo somewhere in my gallery. From memory I used copper telephone wire and the height of the tree is effected by how many twists and how "tight" they are, as well as the size of the initial loops. What you may be able to do with the one that you have started is to twist in some additional strands of wire - just overlap and twist for a couple of inches so it has some strength when covered with the trunk material. I did something similar to that when I came up short on a couple of branches. Brian
MAR 20, 2009 - 02:32 AM
Yep, the pics are gone, but step by step is very useful, I'll have to try this method. Thanks for sharing it. milvehfan
MAR 20, 2009 - 02:53 AM
There is a link at the top of the page to the whole how to with pictures of this thread. Pat
MAR 20, 2009 - 06:37 AM
Hi Jan, I must be the only unlucky person on this site, all I see are 2 boxes (1 inside the the other) with a red cross inside, no pix whatsoever, could you please, or someone help as this this tree making seems so good, but I'd like to view it. Thank you.
MAR 20, 2009 - 11:32 AM
Alec and anyone else here is the link to the article with pictures, LINK Pat
MAR 20, 2009 - 11:18 PM
On YouTube there's this kind of spacey guy who makes absolutely great diorama objects and has very good videos showing how he does it. He has a 7 or more part tree making video and he goes through several types of scratch builds based on dowels and twisted wire as well as from other materials. He shows how to build evergreens, palm trees, bushes, shrubs and more. He has dozens of videos on every conceivable thing you could ever want in a diorama or vignette. I believe he may be more into sword and sorcery fantasy type stuff, but everything he does is capable of military diorama use. I think he's really worth checking out. He goes by the name of the Kamloopian and I posted about him in another thread. I really think he's worth mentioning again. Here's a link to one of his tree making videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8U177-hOrM&feature=channel
MAR 21, 2009 - 06:16 AM
Belg 1960 thank you for that.
MAR 21, 2009 - 07:07 PM
Oh yes, I'm still very much alive and kicking. 4 years ago I shelved my modeling gear to thoroughly renovate the large house we hought, an old nunnery. Only two more rooms to go and all is done. I already refurbished a large attic room into a modelers's paradise / computer game room. More details to make you all drool about that later I hope to finish all work by x-mas and start modeling again about that time. The good news: you can all perfectly master without me. I see great things on this website. Look forward to joining again Uncle Jan
JUN 09, 2009 - 09:33 AM
Welcome back, Jan!
JUN 09, 2009 - 11:00 AM