View Full Version : Up A Tree...

07-04-2012, 05:40 PM
Anyone know where I can get fake trees or tree bark? I need 8-10 decent size trees for one of our scenes. Any help is appreciated.


Allen H
07-04-2012, 06:07 PM
different sizes require different construction techniques, what size trunk do you want? 24"? 12"?

The Wilmont Estate
07-04-2012, 06:32 PM
Allen is gonna come back with some ridiculously simple way of building a tree that no ever thought of. After you hear how to do it your mind will be blown.

07-05-2012, 05:28 AM
Alan is great but John at xtremecreators makes the best trees by far....They are simple and as durable as you get. I have a couple of them.

Check him out!


07-06-2012, 09:33 PM
John did an awesome set of trees for a carwash and another where some of the limbs move back and forth on top.

I believe we are all still awaiting a tutorial on some of those techniques.....

Allen H
07-06-2012, 10:10 PM
If it is the same as I recall, then John posted a tutorial once, then took it down.
What I remember of it is this
he cut the tree shape out of plywood branches and all
he then had a flat "tree"
then he too burlap and throughoughly soaked it in a bucket of water (I added fabric stiffener to my water when I did it)
When the burlap came out he pleated it- this part of the process sucks but it makes the bark look of the tree and is worth it, be uneven and organic with the pleats
twist the pleated burlap so it looks like a thick rope, and tie it with strings.
With the burlap in the pleated folds, twisted and tied- (about 2-3" wide) weigh it down for a few days while it dries.
untie then carefully unroll it, spray a few coats of crystal clear or polyurethane to help it hold stiffness.
when it is dry lay your "tree" down and staple the burlap to one edge long ways
use balloons to "stuff" the tree to shape and wrap the burlap over the balloons to the other side.
To stiffen the tree paint it with fiberglass resin, no matte or cloth needed it soaks into the burlap
The back is flat, but you could repeat the process on the other side.
That is a very good technique and one of the ones I like to use, I will try to do a video on it soon
Allen H

Allen H
07-06-2012, 10:25 PM
Here is the thread that has the pictures and used to have the instructions.

07-06-2012, 10:59 PM
My turn :)

OK, I'm not as awesome but it also depends on where these tings are going. I have made tree's out of big kentwood water bottles duck taped together and then covered in plastic and fabric coverings. When you layer correctly and give proper lighting you don't have to go crazy with detail. I leave that to the customer. Now would I put my kentwood bottle tree right up front and personal, hell's no!! I make it more of a backdrop with lots of foliage. An I do not buy a lot of actual fake leaves, I use a lot of fabric and then add leaves as filler.

07-07-2012, 01:23 PM
Sorry I didn't post back...we lost our power...AGAIN! First without power for 8 days after that last storm, now again for a day! :mad: To bad I can't use real trees...there are thousands of them laying everywhere after that hit we took! Anyway, Allen, I spoke to John about making me some...awaiting on a price. Wish I wasn't so freaking pressed for time but I just have way too many other projects I'm building & tic, tic, tic...it's a fleeting! I wanted trunks various sizes, from 8" - 18" & a few could be half sided & a few both sides. Anyone build any that look similar to John's in those pics?...I think they are great. If anyone has built them & they look similar to Johns & are interested in building some for cash...let me know!:) We can attach the foliage & trim them out here if you would want to just build the trunks...also we would like a few logs in this style as well. Any takers want to earn some cash?

Gore Galore
07-07-2012, 02:01 PM
What about starting with various sized Sonatubes from a concrete supplier. Install plywood bases in them at top and bottom at angles so you can change the angle of the trees. Glue to the floor. Grid work the tops from tree to tree. Then having a professional spray foamer come in a shoot the trees. They can build up to create texture. It is super fast to do the trunks then you add your own limbs. I have done complete forests this way on several occasions.

07-07-2012, 02:30 PM
Kevin, that's a great idea...why didn't I think of that? lol I have a spray foam contractor coming in anyway to do our cave! It'll be fast & cost effective. Thanks for the tip!


Jim Warfield
07-07-2012, 02:49 PM
Maybe half a yard of concrete in a hole for the base, stick 3/4 inch re-bar into the cement while it's still wet, then allow to harden/
Now with a pipe wrech and maybe a pipe slid over the pipe wrech for leverage, bend the re-bar how you want it to be(A "Tree" is a personal vision often times)
Weld steel to the rebar. covering the spaces between the bars, adding more rebar to extend limbs, switch to smaller rebar as you go further skyward.
This "Tree" won't blow over in any wind. Keep it painted so rust doesn't get a foothold.
Real birds with their nests will move right in to this sky-scraper condo, they know a good thing when they see one.
My "Tree" has no problem holding other very heavy objects up for all to see, indefinately...I have had a steel sculpture up there for years titled:"Just me & the Wife out for a Sunday drive".
the image is a smiling Knight in straddle on the back of a dragon. The knight doesn't seem to care that the dragon ripped his one arm off, the dragon has several small birds pulling his flesh from him in long strings (Jerky?)
Most of the other growing trees in my yard weren't there 25 years ago when I bought this place, now they are 45 feet tall!
"All things come to he who waits."

07-07-2012, 03:12 PM
Hey Leonard,

Jim has the right idea except you need more concrete (maybe 100 bags or so) lol...and a crane (very important)!

Here's a few pictures of a work in progress. It's a giant dead cypress stump we are building for our swamp. It's 18' tall and 20' round at the base...still needs finish coat, painting, moss, etc, but coming along.

13th Gate


Gore Galore
07-07-2012, 04:25 PM
Very Nice!

If you go to this page you can see another tree we did. We cut a large stump in half front to back. and secured in the corner of a room and then did the rest with 2x4 structure and covered with chickenwire and also sprayfoam. I designed it to look like a tree creature. This served as a centerpiece of the room. And it wasn't so difficult to do.


07-07-2012, 04:56 PM
Hey Jim, thats a good idea as well...I'm a metal fabricator so bending & welding rebar will be no problem. May I'll "frame it" that way than let my spray foam guy cover it! Cool, thanks.

Dewayne, that's a killer cypress tree you got there...is is gunite, fiberglass or what? Great job tho!

Kevin, I looked @ those pics on there...you've got some impressive trees as well!

You guys gave me some great ideas to start with...now I gotta get back out to the shop & start welding! Got the frame of my elevator all done, I'll post some pics soon. Thanks to you all for the help!


Jim Warfield
07-08-2012, 08:24 AM
Anything like a crane here. In 25 years the property is now covered, hidden by numerous trees and vines which would make using anything like a crane very difficult.
The growth might be adding to the "Look", or obscuring a ticket's selling point? The verdict is still "out" on this.
I trim for hours every week all summer long with a small limb-trimming extending tool made by Fiskars that cost about $80 several years ago, one of those tools that I don't know what I would be doing if I didn't own it.