Saturday 21 July 2018


This is a tutorial on "How to make Trees"
I equate adding trees to a gaming table like adding candles on a birthday cake,it just doesn't look complete without the trees.
Hope this tutorial is helpful.

The following images show examples of a number of different completed trees,they range in height from  22 cm to 9 cm and I use them for 28mm scale models but are suitable for other scales.

Tree in Autumn

Tree in early Autumn 

6 bare winter trees

Purchase  wire from the hardware store, the wire I used is 0.09mm thick.
Using wire cutter, cut 8 x 44 cm lengths of wire.
Note: the height of the trees can be varied by adjusting the lengths of the wire.  

Bend the wire in half.

Place a old paint brush in the middle of the wire and start twisting the wire 4 or 5 times.
"As a side note they are many great videos that people have shared that run thru this bending process.

Pull out the brush and separate the wire into 4 equal sections.

Grab 2 sections of wire and twist together about 4 or 5 times,  do the same to the other 2 sections of wire, this will create 4 section each with 4 wires.

Separate each section of 4 wires in half and start to twist each section of wires.  

Now you will be left with each wire extension only having 2 wires on each section. Continue to twist each of the 2 wires a numbers of times.

With the help of pliers pull out each loop section at the base of the wire tree, so that they lie flat on the mat.  

using wire cutters cut each loop in the middle.

Twist each of the wires together.

 Alternately you can use the same method of wire bending for the upper portion of the tree to create a more detailed root system. "your choice''
Once you get the hang of twisting the wire, you will find it does not take long to complete a tree and the added bonus  its a good stress release.

The tree supporting itself on the mat.

I use large mud guard washers for the base of the tree, these are much thinner and wider that standard washers. 

Superglue the tree onto the washer and leave to set.

Using Acrylic gap sealant  coat the entire tree and base using a cheap paint brush.

The Gap filler has a short setting time so only pour out small portions at a time.

Using the paint brush apply the gap filler and apply a thin coat of filler on all the metal surfaces.

Helpful hint, is to frequently wash your brush to avoid the filler setting on the bristles.

First thin coat completed, allow to dry.

Apply another thin coat of Acrylic gap filler and allow to set.

Next step is to reproduce the finer branches. 

This is done with the use of Rubberized  Horsehair and a glue gun.

(I recommend using Rubberized Horsehair as apposed to using Coco fiber as it is more robust.) 

Using a hot glue gun apply glue along the branch.

Pull off a piece of Horsehair and place in on-top of the glue.

Continue this process till you are happy with the amount of fine branches on the tree.

Hint: you don't need to go crazy and cover all the branches with the fiber, space out the fiber.
Also make sure you place some fiber on the end tips of the branches. 

You can also use scissors to trim stray hairs.

Again......Don't be afraid to leave spaces, remember less is more.

Undercoat with Rustoleum black primer.

Allow to dry and paint the large branches,roots and base with the following colours listed below.
When painting the trees at this stage, it will get a bit fiddly as you progress up into the thinner branches with the fiber, it does not have to be perfect as a lot of the surface will be covered by flock. 

Image of a deciduous  tree.
The paints I used are Vallejo Model colour flat earth,Grey Green and Vallejo game colour Stone wall grey.

Now there is no set method or order of colours to apply, so you can experiment.


  1. use the Stone wall grey to wet brush (dry brushing but with more paint on the brush) the whole tree allowing the black primer .
  2. highlight most areas with the Grey green 
  3. limited highlight of certain areas with flat earth.
Its up to you if you want the tree to look more greyish use the Stone wall grey as the base colour, or if a browner colour is desired use the flat earth as a base coat. 

This is a tree in winter (no leaves will be added) with a more greyish look.

Prepare a area with your PVA glue, brush, coarse flock and plastic container to catch any excess flock

Using a large flat brush I apply the PVA glue onto the fine brushes of the tree. 

I don't use a spray can adhesive as I want to be able to control the areas, I want to attach flock on the branches.

Apply the coarse flock onto the tree, till the whole tree is covered with flock.

I then shake off the excess.
You can use different colours of flock as well,darker flock   as a  base,  lighter coloured flock as a highlight.

Using the back of a paint brush I separate and free up the flock so that its not a big mass, you want to create spaces between the branches and the flock.

Image shows the separation.

Coat the base with PVA glue.

Apply some bits of flock that were used on the tree to the base.

Complete the coverage of the base with fine flock to match your gaming mat. 

Completed tree.
Allow the PVA glue to set and knock on the underside of the base a couple of times to separate any loose flock material.

I apply a generous coat of this product to fix the flock on the branches as opposed to spraing the flock with watered down PVA glue. 
I recommend making one of these model holders as it makes life easier while modelling the trees. clink on the link for more info: Modelling tip #1
Here is where I store my trees, there a number of trees missing as they are on the gaming table.

Here are two of my gaming tables that where fought over by the US and Germans, the inclusion of trees do help add realism to the tables. 

Cheers John 


  1. Yet another wonderful tutorial John. Truly amazing work and your step by step guides give us all some hope. May I ask please where you source your rubberised horse hair in Australia?

    1. Thanks Carlo for your comments when you come to Sydney I can get you some.
      cheers John

  2. Excellent work as always and a very useful tutorial. Thank you.

    1. ευχαριστώ Ioannis,
      Γεια σου Γιάννης

  3. Excellent work John thanks for sharing. Carlo you can use flower pot liners from your local plant nursery instead of rubberised horse hair.

  4. Great How To! Your trees definitely look the part. Never thought about using acrylic filler for the bark. Will have to try it out asap.
    Unfortunately it’s somewhat difficult to get hold of rubberized horsehair over here in Germany.

    1. Thank you Moiterei, yes it is difficult to find the Rubberized horsehair, I stumbled on it accidentally at a recycle garbage outlet.
      Might be worth a try if there is a similar place in Germany.
      cheers John

  5. Rubberized horsehair and expanded PCV (ePCV) seem to be the new miracle materials for modellers. Have finally found a source for the latter but still looking for the horsehair. Apparently works great for hedges too.

    1. Yes Contrarius,Rubberized Horsehair is a excellent material for hedges, finding where to purchase it is a bit of a hassle.
      I am in the process of putting together a "how to make hedges" tutorial.
      cheers John

    2. Very much look fwd to it!

  6. Excellent tutorial! They look great.

  7. Simply exquisite! Wonderful tutorial John.

  8. As an alternative to rubberized horsehair, I use air filters for home HVAC systems. A big sheet can be bought for < $2 US at any decent hardware store.

    1. Thanks for the "heads up" on the air filter material Galvanized Yankee
      cheers John

  9. Your scratch building amazes me John and yet another superb tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    1. No problem Pat and thanks for the comments
      cheers JOhn

  10. Excellent tutorial as usual. I am going to use the tree armatures made by Woodland scenics. 28 3-5" trees for USD$16. They come in smaller sizes as well and saves all that wire wrapping (I'm lazy).

    1. Thanks Dick for your comments,The woodland scenics is a good option as well.
      cheer John

  11. Using the filler on the wire is inspired. I was going to try Milliput but filler is a much better option! Thanks for the great tutorial!

    1. Thank you Azza for your comments,its a lot cheaper and easier to use, the Caulking as opposed to the Milliput which is more expensive.
      cheers John

  12. great work John,

    you inspire us all


  13. Hi John, I love your work. Silver Whistle and yourself are my inspiration. Can you tell me how you made your flocking mix; its most unusual?

    1. Sorry for this late reply, Blogger no longer notifies me if I receive a comment on my Blog but thanks Ranulf for your comments,yes Pat of Silver Whistle is very inspiring.
      The flock on the trees is just Woodland Scenics, usually coarse tuff. The Base is a combination of laying woodland scenics Earthblend and a mix of what ever I have, which can be fibres, fine turf and cutting up cocoa fibre into small strips. cheers John

  14. Thanks for this Tutorial John. I decided to have a crack at wire trees the other day as I thought it might be relaxing. Really enjoyed it but ended up with a load of armatures and no idea how to hide the wire and make a wooden effect. Milliput ruins my hands so this is a much better way of doing it.

    Appreciate the time you have taken to make it.