I had hinted a few times at an upcoming video regarding building trees. I did record the footage for the walk-through... mostly. My memory card had filled up while shooting without me realizing it, so I had to do my best to explain the part that was missed. (This is the 2nd time that has happened.) Shortly after I had the recording done, my real world working situation became very complicated so this video had to go on the back burner. Once I finally regained my free time, I started editing & compiling the video clips using some better software than I had in the past to help fix some of the audio issues viewers were complaining about. Well, I had it nearly ready to go & the file has either become corrupted or my laptop just isn’t powerful enough to open it anymore. Either way everything I had done is frozen in the land of cyber things. I’m starting to think the terra-gods are trying to tell me something. There’s been a lot of hurdles for one damned video. I do not want to re-edit the whole thing again (the condensed version was 45 mins long) and I didn’t much care for the video quality anyway. So, I’m just turning this into an article/review so I can move on to a new, better video.

So basically this all started because I found this walk through on the Lead Adventures forum from a Dr. Mathias. http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=41545.0

I tend to shy away from making my own trees but this method looked relatively easy without sacrificing quality. I followed the tutorial pretty closely except I changed the canopy process a little, which is what I’d like to focus on for this article. (Forgive the images, they are stills taken from the defunked video.)
Picture

Dr. Mathias had set up foam craft balls on the lids of paint cans and attached cheese cloth over the top of that as the base for the foliage.

Picture

My theory was that I could create a similar foam structure and wrap it with cling wrap to reuse it. So I cut a base out of cardboard from a cereal box and attached on pieces of the craft foam balls with hot glue.

The little foam craft balls from Hobby Lobby were $3.25 for a pack of the smaller size and $4.50 for the larger ones.  Your could probably make 2-3 trees with a pack of each, but with the ability to remove the foliage layer you could an unlimited number.

Picture

I wrapped the structure in cling wrap & taped it to a paint bottle with a drip tray to contain some of the up-coming mess. I do think the cling wrap makes me lose some detail in between the lumps, but not enough to make me stop.

Picture
Another modification I made to Dr. Mathias’s directions was to eliminate the cheese cloth. If I already have toilet paper on hand to work the bark texture on the trunk, I might as well use it for the canopy layer as well. Taking a PVA/water mixture that was heavier on the glue, I brushed pieces of toilet paper onto the wrapped foam structure. The glue also had some green paint added to it to save a step later. The toilet paper was applied in 2-3 layers to help give the canopy layer some stability.


Picture
Once dry, you can either coat it again to add the flocking while it’s still on the foam or peel the canopy off to free your mold to make another one. You may notice the toilet paper start becoming flexible again when you’re coating it with glue to add the flock, but if you added enough initial layers of toilet paper, it should retain it’s shape.


Picture

The rest of the assembly was back to what Dr. Mathias had suggested, with some extra moss added to the base. I just wanted to share this great technique to make a lot of jungle trees quickly. The idea for a removable top for storage or travel was pretty clever as well. Hopefully it brings some inspiration to some of you and sorry for ditching the video idea. There will be others, I promise!