The Broken Coast
- Several different diameters of wire (About 1/16” and smaller)
- Sculpy polymer clay
- Milliput Epoxy Putty (I used superfine but lower grades will work)
- Green Polyfiber by Woodland Scenics
- Fine green flock
- Coarse green flock
- Static grass
- Super glue
- Wood glue
- Acrylic paint
- Scrap wood and dowel
- Standard pliers
- Wire cutters
- Sculpting tools
- Air Brush
- Paint brushes
Begin by taking a few lengths of the largest wire and twist them together.
Take the smallest diameter wire and begin wrapping around the twist; this will become the main trunk of the tree. The long sections of the large diameter wire can be twisted together to make thicker limbs.
Cut lengths of a medium diameter wire, and begin twisting them around the 1/16” wire. After twisting a few medium sized wires, wrap the resulting sections in the thin wire. Leave a length of the thin wire off the end. As branches get built up, twist a few of the thin wires together to make even more branches.
Continue wrapping and twisting wires until you get a desirable shape for the tree. For this project a warped and twisted tree is needed.
Take Sculpy and press it onto the tree. The idea is to smoothly cover the entire tree. You will get better results if you smooth the entire tree before beginning to scribe in bark patterns.
Once the tree is completely covered, take a sculpting tool and scribe in bark patterns. In this case all the scribe lines were done inline with the branches to simulate a deciduous tree. Doing a bit of research on bark patterns can help. Once the bark is sculpted, bake the Sculpy in an oven following the package instructions. The process usually takes 15 minutes and the tree will cool inside of a half an hour. Once the tree is cool, paint it. The colors used were black, burnt umber, cadmium green, and white. As with everything I do, I mixed the colors on the fly until I got a result I liked.
For the hanging moss process, I made a quick bracket out of some scrap wood I had. Begin with taking a chunk of green polyfiber and stretch it a few times so that the fibers are all running generally in the same direction. Pull the polyfiber into a roll and stretch it over the wooden bracket. Run a bead of super glue along the top of the polyfiber and let dry. The bracket I made allowed me to make quite a few moss pieces all at once. It still took two applications per tree.
Take a mix of 25% wood glue and 75% water, dip your fingers into the glue, then dip your fingers into some coarse flock. Massage the flock and glue mix into the polyfiber. Allow the polyfiber pieces to dry.
Once the polyfiber pieces are dry, airbrush the pieces with a mix of 90% water 10% paint that is very dark brown. Then, drybrush the pieces with a bit of pale grey green (again all my colors are mixed on the fly.)
Use a pair of scissors to cut the polyfiber pieces off of the bracket.
Spread the polyfiber out a bit and run a bead of super glue across the cut section. Quickly push the cut section onto a branch. Be very carful with this, as it is very easy to glue your fingers to the tree. I have very thick calluses on my hands so getting super glue on them causes little discomfort. Once the polyfiber piece is dry, run a bead of super glue along the seam between the polyfiber and the tree branch, then sprinkle fine flock on the glue.
Keep adding pieces until you get a desirable result. Once the pieces are dry, airbrush the fine flock with the dark brown mix you made earlier.
To mount the tree to the base, bend a few “root” wires down and trim them so that they are about 2-1/2” long and press the tree into the base. It is very easy at this step to either break the tree or make a huge hole in the base. Work slowly and ease the tree into the base.
Add a large amount of milliput to the join between the tree and the base and begin to sculpt in a root system. I discovered half way through this process that it is easier to simply cut the remaining wires off of the base of the tree than to try to integrate them into the sculpt. So the pictures don’t quite match what you should do.
Add some “sausages” of milliput to become the rest of the root system. Working quickly, sculpt in bark patterns and split the “sausages” into smaller roots.
Once the miliput dries, paint the root system using the same process you used to paint the tree. Don’t worry too much about getting paint on the rock formations of the base. It will get covered in flock. Once the paint is dry, use a mix of 50% water 50% wood glue and brush the glue into the recesses of the root system. Sprinkle coarser flock over the glue. Blow the excess flock off of the piece. Let the flock sit for a few minutes then tap it with your fingers. This will bring the rock formations out from under the flock. While the piece is still wet, sprinkle static grass over the root system.
For my piece, I made two trees. I initially intended to make three, but the composition didn’t work as well as with two trees.
This concludes Section 2.
The third section will follow.
Ambrose “TheBugKing” Coddington