How To Make Tree Armatures

How to make your own tree armatures.

The procedure shown here is recommended to trees with an upright main trunk such as pines, firs, beech.


To the right are armatures and a tall Scotts pine made following the recommendations made in this page.

This page covers armatures made for trees with branches that emanate generally from a single core. That includes most pines and trees like Beech.

Trees such as oak and other trees that have a short base from from which a multitude of large branches emanate are covered in our section on how to make wire trees. This link will take you to the first page on how to make wire trees. Wire Tree Basics

That being said, we will go through a step-by-step process of making what I will refer to as, for the purpose of this tutorial, single core trees.

The image to the right shows how a fine wire is wrapped around a central core.

For HO scale trees, I use fine wire 30 to 40 cm in length. I fasten the base to the core using a liquid CA glue that I apply and fix quickly using an activator.

I wrap the wire around the core and make loops as I proceed to the top of the wire core. As one proceeds upward, the loops get shorter.

For the core I use copper wire that I remove from electric cable. I strip the insulation from that wire.

I choose the thickness based on the size of the tree that I am making.  The thickness depends on the diameter of the tree trunk.

Alternative materials for the core can be floral wire, wooden dowels, twigs, and steel wire that I get in small roles from the building supply.

As for the wire for the branches, once again I use find copper wire that I cut out of multi strand electric cable. Some people recommend floral wire.

If I am making a very small pine, I will use static grass for the branches. You can see how I do it on this page.


The way you fashion your branches will depend on the method that you used to add the leaves or needles to your trees.

Generally I choose to use what I call needle ads made from human hair so I only need my armatures to have two catch points that will hold the pads.

If you use the procedure of slowly adding cut fibers to the ends of the branches, the way it is done by Joss DDDDDD, you will need many catch points. The image to the right shows how he adds extra catch points to a branch. You are encouraged to read his information that discusses making trees and from which this image and the above image come. This is a link to the page in the original Dutch Laguage.  Realistic Trees.




This shows the first step in making an armature for a Scotts pine.  The bottom loops are short because they will be cut to simulate the typical dead branches that one finds on a tall Scotts pine that one finds in the forest.








Here the branches have been twisted to shape and the loops cut to either be used as catch points in their own right or modified as shown in the image at the top of this page.







This shows a complex armature made to be finished using the process of slowly adding fibers to the catch points as used by Joss DDDDD.  This is a link to the page showin the pocess in the original Dutch Laguage.  Realistic Trees.







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