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Building a Tree ...


FreeDragon
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Now that Spring Fling '09 is done, I'm off to the next project.

Been rolling around in my head the idea to build a half-scale as a fairy home INTO a tree: that is, I want the tree to be 'formed around' the house, a separate piece that the house 'fits' into. I have no experience with clay, paperclay, paper mache, etc. Wondered if anyone out there had some suggestions and/or could show me some tutorials. I've considered using the clay that doesn't dry until you bake it, but that seems as though it would be very heavy since I expect the 'tree' will be 2-1/2' to 3' tall. Considered building a wooden frame and using paper mache or the equivalent. Considered foam. I don't know ... I'm full of ideas and really need to seek the wisdom here ...

Thanks to any and all who respond! Even tidbits and snippets would be greatly appreciated!

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I would suggest starting with the basic shape using a few pieces of wood for stability, then make a wire frame over this, then use air-drying clay such as paperclay on top. With the wire frame (possibly filled with paper?), it will give the clay something to hold onto and will make the entire thing lighter than using solid clay. Just an idea to think about.

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wow funny coincedence!!!! Debra (our wallpaper Queen) and I were just starting to plan exactly the same thing!!! :groucho:

we were thinking maybe papier mache formed around a stocking made huge and fat with newspaper....still in the planning but great minds think alike :D

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How great is that?

Liza's idea is fab ... I'm really leaning toward the idea of a "pinata-style" tree ... whatta 'ya think? Hollow(ish) core with wood and wire frame. It would give the tree strength and structure without adding too much weight and I can attach paper mache or paper clay (whatever that is) to the exterior. Hmmm ... any more thoughts?

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Polymere clay is not the thing for this house. You can't bake the house in the oven.

Paper mache or air drying clay is much better for this type of structure.

Sounds like you're going to have lots and lots of fun making mud pies!!! And yes I like mud pies their sooooo muddy and mucky and lots of fun.., can you see how jealous I am

Dar

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Sweet, Linda - I'll go soon to check that out. But, I was thinking: Over the long haul, using newspaper or various other porous materials could get really ugly over time. Probably not a great idea to use materials mice can live on. I was thinking: a wooden frame covered with screen (not wire) then perhaps 'mached or plastered? Similar to the volcano I built for 5th grade Science Fair in 1975 ... ?

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Similar to the volcano I built for 5th grade Science Fair in 1975 ... ?

ah yes i know it well :groucho: :p

and Debra...well she is a member here and we talk on MSN all the time and we have built another house online so to speak.....cut this ....yes....glue that....yes.... paint this ...yes....it was great fun all that weekend and we both had a 1/24th 'mckinley' inspired house at the end of it....was fabulous we lol'd and rofl'd all the time :D

yes i agree with the more permanent structure :)

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OMG how fabulous, yes Linda (pin) and I are just about to start building a fiaire house together, and we came up with the idea of filling a stocking with paper then putting paper machie around it to make the trunk, we have not started it yet as I have just opened a coffee shop take away business and am very busy setting it up, so we only have a few hours on the weekends now to chat on MSN and get it started, but as soon as we do I promise we will start a blog and show you how we are doing it. By the way I will put up some pics of our 1/24th Mckindlay that we build together on line, mine is not quite finished but it is 97% done.

lol it feels like I am in her pocket most of the time rofl, but we do have a lot of fun doing our houses and minis together.

Cheers Debra.

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Sweet, Linda - I'll go soon to check that out. But, I was thinking: Over the long haul, using newspaper or various other porous materials could get really ugly over time. Probably not a great idea to use materials mice can live on. I was thinking: a wooden frame covered with screen (not wire) then perhaps 'mached or plastered? Similar to the volcano I built for 5th grade Science Fair in 1975 ... ?

What I meant by wire is wire mesh. You may be right about the paper inside. If you build the frame sturdy enough, you would not need it. As for the outside, papier mâché will probably be a lot easier to work with and to shape the way you want it. And, with the paper soaked in watered-down glue or flour-water paste, it should last a long time, but you will still have to keep it away from the mice. Maybe a coat (or several) of matte varnish once it's painted would help seal everything in?

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Ahhhh...the elusive tree house,Ive thought of it many times....and a real fairy house! I was just thinking about doing a Beaver Dam house,making it really cozy,and the house would be buried under the pile of branches beneath the dam...we all must be on the same brain wave....have you thought of using an actual hollowed out tree stump? Do you have access to a forest? Natural is the most realistic,(and faeries like it best)if you can get your hands on it!

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I am building a tree to go with my Elrond's library. Instead of paper mache I suggest you look at the plaster soaked strips available in train hobby outlets and Michaels.(Can't think of it's name.) It is similar to the stuff they use for setting broken bones. Train hobbiests use it as the base to build up very large and elaborate landscapes. It is light weight but much stronger then paper mache and last much better. While my tree uses a wire form I found last Holloween and might not be appropriate for your use you can see how the stuff drapes and dries stiffened and provides added strength. I plan on adding paperclay to further refine the outer layer. If you check my Albums link below and follow the Elrond's one the basic form is shown towards the end.

Your projects all sound exciting and I will look forward to seeing you projects.

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All great stuff - thanks for jumping in there Holly, Karin, Beverly. Love the thoughts on the plaster-soaked strips. Here's another idea that just might work for the core material: how about spray foam insulation?

The Gatehouse kit is similar to what I intend to use. My house is about the size of a small shoebox turned on end. There's a little gazebo that I'll be using also. Think I'll put it up into the tree so that it rests there or maybe hangs, along the lines of Swiss Family Robinson. Hee-Hee!

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Here is a buttercup that I am turning into a tree. I am using airdry clay and it is very light. I am not liking it and am going to redo some of it.

I also used a cardboard paint bucket - upside down - and plaster cast gauze to make the other tree. I learned from a tutorial in Nutshell News.

I used empty toilet paper rolls for the roots in both houses.

post-1142-1243188523_thumb.jpgpost-1142-1243188652_thumb.jpg

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Thanks to Holly for giving the tree stump link for Miss Nutkin's Nuthouse.

http://grazhina-nuthouse.blogspot.com/

I used a papier mache mix called Celluclay and the plaster covered mesh someone else mentioned. I also used styrofoam to build up the shape, turning a square tower into a round stump.

Full instructions for using all materials are in the blog.

Happy arboring.

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I am not sure this is waht you want.. But at Home Depot or Lowes.. they have cardboard forms for concrete... They are just tall round tubes.. I think you can get different sizes.!! That woudl be your tree trunk.

THey are called builders tubes... they come in an 8" & 12" diameter and area 48 " tall... you can cut with a jigsaw.... They are less than $10.00 for the tube.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores...uctId=100318546

Kellee

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, been a while. Thoughts, ideas, suggestions most welcome. (Have built and sold two kits, in addition to another dropped off at my shop as a freebe, and the Harrison rebuild from PA is an outstanding venture, putting my Pierce x2 on the back-burner.) Anyway, this is where I'm at: have collected various 'tree' forms; large branches and twigs downed from storms, bark (varies, some oak, elm, much maple, and variouse lichens, molds, and some really outstanding dried 'shrooms. Looking good, even possible, on this end. I haven't yet, but will attempt the foam insulation spray on some pieces and see how that reflects the idea. Could be disastrous; might work out. Don't know 'til I do. Will report later. Meanwhile, Linda and Debra, missing you! ... where is your progress?

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ahhhhhh Ellen we have done nothing :p

Debra is so busy with the new shop and me...well i have researched alot and gathered hundreds of pics and thats about all :cheer:

Inspire us again :p

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Hi Ellen, Yeah sorry, I have opened a take away food shop, and have been really busy the past 3 months getting it up and running, the thing is I am gathering money to spend on my hobby, but now I have less and less time to spend actually working at it lol. I have not let go of any ideas though, they are still all there. I still want to do the tree house, and like Linda have lots and lots of pics in a folder ready for when I have the time.

Cheers Debra.

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