Making Palm Trees
by: Eric Sikkema

Starting Out

In this small workshop I will explain to you how everyone can create a palm tree with a minimum of material.

The things you need are:

  • A piece of old electrical wire (20 cm).

  • Some toilet paper.

  • Some string (the coconut type).

  • Wall paper glue.

  • Iron wire (the green plastic-coated type).

  • Coconut fiber.

  • Paint (every modeler has that on the shelf).

  • And last but not least some silk leaves.

Step One: The Trunk

  • The first thing you have to do is to cut the piece of electrical wire of about 20 cm.

  • Then tie the coconut string at one end of the electrical wire and roll it to the other end in a diagonal way.

  • The trick is to leave about 6mm space between the wires. (See photo 1a)

  • When you reached the other end of the electrical wire you have to to this again but then in a reverse way. (see photo 1b)

  • This is to obtain the honey comb effect. (see photo 1c)

  • When you have reached the place where you have started just tie it together with a flat knot. It does not matter that you see the knot it will be concealed later.

Project Photos

Photo 1a

Photo 1b

Photo 1c

Step Two: The Bark

Now is the time to cover the "trunk" with bark. It can be done in two ways. The first way is the same way as you create bark on the normal trees. I mean the plaster method. It is more work but in the end the result is the same. In this workshop we are going to use paper maché.

  • At first make some thick wallpaper glue. Smear it on the trunk and cover it with the toilet paper.

  • Two or three layers will do the trick.

  • As finishing touch you smear a thin layer of wallpaper glue over the covered trunk. (see photos 2a and 2b)

  • And set a side on a warm place (about 24 hours) till it is completely dry.

Step Three: The Leaves

This is the time to get started on the leaves. At a locale garden centre I bought (for €3) enough leaves to create 3 palm trees. The leaves I bought are a little bit to big for the palm tree I wanted to make. So I cut the outer edges away from the leaves so that the curves in the leaves will be on the outside. (See photo 3a)

  • When you have done this you have to give you leaf the final form.

  • With a sharp scissor you have to cut pointy edges on the leaves. Do this at both sides. (see photos 3b and 3c )
    Note: Leave the plastic centre where it is when you cut the leaves this will give you something to hold on to when you cut your leaves.

  • When you finish you can simply remove these.

  • When you are ready with the cutting procedure and you have removed the plastic centers, with superglue glue the green iron rods on the back of the leaves. Leave 1cm at the bottom of the leave so you can stick that in the tree trunk. (see photo 3d)

Project Photos

Photo 2a

Photo 2b

Photo 3a

Photo 3b

Photo 3c

Photo 3d

Step Four: Painting

When you have completed your leaves and your trunk is dry you can paint this.

  • As base color I used Track color by Humbroll.

  • Dry-brushed it with Natural Wood by Humbroll.

  • And for the final touch I gave it a wash with a acrylic Desert Yellow by Polly S. (see photo 4)

Step Five: Assembly

Now you have all your components ready to build your palm tree.

  • First wrap some coconut fiber around the top of your tree trunk . This is to imitate old grow of branches.

  • Now put your trunk in to a bench vice.

  • Take a small point tweezers and a pointy object. In my case I used a small watch makers tool. Stick the watchmakers tool into the top of the trunk a create a small space to insert carefully the first branch into the trunk. Do this till you have used all of your leaves. On this tree I used 12.

When you are ready tour tree can look like this.

I wish you all the best with this small workshop.

Eric "De Modelbouwer " Sikkema

Project Photos

Photo 4

This article comes from Armorama