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Tree Base from Wooden Wheel & Clay

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Personal logo mrwigglesworth Supporting Member of TMP writes:

I was going to ask if that was yours Will…

Revision Log
11 February 2008page first published

2,287 hits since 11 Feb 2008
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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During the Christmas season, I've made the habit of visiting the $1.00 USD stores and picking up the trees that come with various Christmas village sets - usually 2 trees to a pack.

Cheap tree

The trees are simply trimmed green brushes, anchored to a small wooden base. For my purposes, however, I'd like to transplant this tree to a heavier, wider base that I can flock.

I thought the job would be simpler if I started with a shape that was approximately what I was looking for, so I strolled through various craft and hobby stores looking for the "right" object. And then I saw them:

Tree and wheels

Wooden wheels! (They come 4 in a pack for $1.00 USD at the local craft store.) My plan was to add some clay to the sides to slope them down, fill in the top with some more clay - presto! Right?

Clay over the wheel

It didn't work out that easy. I tried the DAS Clay that I've mentioned previously. I found I could put a "skin" over the wheel, but that whenever I tried to build it up, it just slid away from the wheel underneath. So I did the best I could, and let it dry.

Then I decided to see if I could add more clay to the clay that was already dry. At first, I couldn't get the new clay to adhere at all to the old clay. Then I stumbled on a trick: I took a small bit of clay, and "smeared" it with my thumb into the surface of the dried clay. For some reason, this micro-thick layer of clay did "stick," and then I could add more clay...

Improved base
Improved base (bottom)

Then - after some sanding, filing, and more clay being added - I got something close to what I wanted:

Improved base
Improved base (bottom)

Now I flocked the base, extracted the tree from its original base (be careful not to untwist it, or you'll start losing the bristles!), and glued the tree to its new base.

Based tree
Based tree
Based tree