Tuesday, January 05, 2016

DIY Palm Trees


With Gathering in the Desert fast approaching I needed to get on the ball to have a few more Palm trees for the tables. I have a few from Pegasus hobbies, but these are a bit expensive. So I remembered years ago doing a few Palm trees when I did model railroading. Back then I used feathers and pine tree branchs, but those were a pain and fell apart. I then saw an article on the web about using wire and self sticking labels. While this will work, it still was a bit high on the price. So I thought why not use floral wire and masking tape? I did a few years ago for my sons school project and thought I should see if I could do that again., so here is what I came up with.

Here is how I went about it, first I visited Michaels for floral wire, which is Panacea 22 gauge wire. Next I bought a roll of 1 1/2" masking tape.

I cut about 9-10 8" pieces of floral wire. The size is really up to you on how tall you want the trees to be. Then I cut about a 3" piece of tape and folded it over onto itself with the wire inside about an 1 1/2" inside the tape.

Do this to all your floral wire. I then cut out a leaf shape as seen below. The shape is up to you but I like the way this one looks.

I then cut the frowns into the leaf. I just cut until I hit the wire inside. Do this on all the leafs.

Now you will have all your leafs all cut out and ready to go.

Now I gather all the leaves up and twist them together, twisting them keeps them together along with the tape for the trunk.

I then cut about and 8-10" piece of tape of the roll and cut it into 1/8" strips. These are used for the trunk when you start wrapping it. I start at the top and work my way down.

I wrap on a angle and vary how much is showing. This represents the growth of the trunk. Keep wrapping until you get to the bottom.

Once wrapped, you can now start to unfurl the leaves, think of a Christmas tree. I generally put a bend in the leaves at this time.

And there you go, a masking colored tree. Next is painting. I had a buddy ask why not use green tape for the leaves? Well I like the fact that you can see the tape sometimes after painting and it looks like the leaves are starting to dry out and die like a real tree.

Painting is very simple on these trees, I used Rust Olleum Camo greens, one dark and one light.

I first spray the dark green on, covering the tops and bottoms of the leaves. Once this dries I then do a light spray of the lighter green from the top only. I generally hold the can further away so I "dust" the leaves. You can go a step further and dry brush some lighter colors if you want, but I like the effect that the two colors give the tree.

Next is painting the trunks, which is simple. I use Americana Mississippi Mud as the base. Paint the whole trunk this color.

Once this dries I then do a simple dry brush of Americana Fawn color to pull out the trunk detail. You can now see the trunk "growth" rings from the tape.

And that's it! The trees are now ready to "plant". 

So there you go, cheap and easy day Palm trees. Total cost is roughly $10.00 for the paint, wire and tape. Now these do take some time, about 5 minutes or so, but it's great if you have a couple of friends helping out and doing assembly line style.



Tomo said...

An excellent tutorial!

Tim Kulinski said...

Thank You

Robert Brightwell said...

Looking good! Just 90 more to go!

Dean Vuckovich said...

Those look cool Tim....

Tim Kulinski said...


A J said...

Nicely done! Thanks for the tutorial.

AHunt said...

Brilliant stuff Tim. Thanks for sharing that.