Making Aspen Trees




A nice grove of aspen trees is a new  project for a diorama. I have looked at commercial trees and what other people have done and decided to make some completely from scratch. I went to the lumber yard and bought some shim material. It’s nothing more that cedar shingles that are about nine inches in length. The butt ends are about 5/16 inches thick a perfect dimension to start with. A full size piece is at the left of the picture. Using a pocket knife and hammer I split them into four equal pieces at the butt end as seen at center. A table top belt sander is used to round them out. Aspen tree have some slight bends in then so sand appropriately to achieve this effect. They are seen at left.Pictured are four trees in different stages of construction. The branches are made from sections of Hemp twine as it’s a stiff material. I use cluster of the material to give them body and strength. It’s a “dua” that the branch material gets shorted at the top. I used white glue for this but Arline’s Tacky glue would work faster. You have to let the glue dry, because the trees need to be rotated so branches can be installed in a radial fashion. When all is dry, trim as necessary to give realistic shape. The trees were dipped in a gallon of white latex paint and allowed to dry. The proper color is a greenish white. For this, I put some of the latex paint in a bowl and added a tiny amount of green pigment (my part number 1460) Only paint the lower trunks. There are random blemishes on the bark, so dads of burnt amber paint was used for that. See the tree at far left.The branches need some foliage netting to support the flock. I used my green wool material #6. That tree is second to left. I wanted fall colors for these trees, so I used my Aspen/Birch Autumn Gold (part # 13) and my new orange flock (#20). Use hair spray to secure the flock and you have a finished tree as seen at left. The wool foliage netting with flock applied to it was an experiment gone wrong as of now. Since that time, I learned how to make clump foliage. I added the clump foliage to the tree and like the looks as it adds extra dimension to the foliage. The cost and time it takes to make clump foliage will prevent me from continuing  with more batches of product.

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