6.22.2006

Easy Treesy

And now onto the trees, here's a quick little How I Made Mine, my easy messy magic :) tree factory.... Wanted something simple for my woods, no foliage or branches, something majestic, that feels old and towering.

I start out with a 10 ft. length of 2" PVC pipe, which I lay out horizontally and brace to prevent rolling. Then I cut 3 ft. strips of wire form/mesh, about 3" wide, and lay the strips on top of the pipe, bending them as much as possible to fit the shape of the pipe. Don't have it grip too tight, might be hard to get off later.


Then I cut strips out of an old flannel, not too fuzzy. We have a few bags of old clothes by the door waiting to be taken to Goodwill, so I've been lucky lately when it comes to fabric. The flannel strips I make slightly larger than the mesh, about 4" wide, so that there is extra space for bunching up.

I make the trees about 3 ft. tall, so I can fit three at once on the 10ft PVC. I mix up a batch of plaster slightly thinner than it should normally be, then dunk a strip of the shirt into the mix. Get it good and wet, nice and messy, really let it soak up the plaster...then I lay it out on top of a strip of the mesh, on top of the PVC, and shape it in spots by bunching it up...

I pull them off of the pipe before they get completely stiff, set them aside and let them harden.



Then they get a coat of black paint, then a layer of white paint lightly dry-brushed, a technique using a dry brush with very little paint to sort of trace the top surface of your texture, pick up the highlights. Then I wire them to sturdy styrofoam bases, and that's that...


More detailed pics to come...

7 comments:

herself said...

yay! super magic tree factory!! Thanks for this Jeffery! You just killed the sacred cow I had on the expensive plaster wrap rolls. Now I can go to town!!! yay!

Darkstrider said...

Thanks for tuting man! Good tree-factory. It's good to see trees actually being made rather than destroyed. ; )

sven said...

I did a lot with plaster and cheesecloth back in my high school and early college art days... I wonder why it's come to seem unapproachable now?

Thanks for putting the memory of this stuff back in my hands. :-)

Ubatuber said...

Shelley, I made the first two with plaster wrap rolls and they were a little easier to fool with, not quite so messy, and slightly easier to bunch up, but not worth the cost to me....plus I like messy :)

And when you don't have cheesecloth use a ratty shirt!

Darkstrider said...

One thing I notice... I greatly prefer the shots where the background is grey or really dark. #3, with the white background looks out of place. You could take that one into photoshop and play with it a bit. You might also consider some kind of 'gobo' to put in front of your background lights, to project treeish shadows onto the backdrop.

Darkstrider said...

Oops! Meant to post this in the one above.

Ubatuber said...

Yeah, I like the dark shots too, have officially decided to go dark and shadowy all the way (well most of the way, there may be some dusky grey backdropage at the beginning of the film, and then everything goes black)...still going to do a dark backdrop too, it'll be mostly black with just a few hints of more distant trees...