DIY Instructions on how to make miniature twisted trees for your paper crafts out of wire and paper
This method of making spooky little twisted trees was inspired by 2 types of trees I found on Pinterest - the paper bag tree and some beautiful wire trees. The problem with the paper bag trees is that you can't really sculpt the limbs and the problem with the wire trees is that you have to cut a LOT of wire. I figured why not use the wire as the base for the tree and the limbs, then wrap the wire in paper to give texture and conserve the wire. So the twisted tree was born.
I've made a relatively short video of the process (about 11 minutes) that you might find helpful.
I've also written a PDF of this tutorial so subscribe to my newsletter, get the password to my free resource library and download a copy to keep the instructions without having to look them up on the internet.
Examples of Twisted Trees
And here is a Springtime blooming version of twisted tree - the Cherry Blossom Flowering Tree.
Here's how you make the Halloween spooky twisted tree. Here are the instructions for the Cherry Blossom Flowering Tree.
First, a few (very few) supplies to make a twisted tree
- Wire - any kind, from paddles of floral wire to jewelry making wire. I used 20g jewelry wire for the trees here
- Wire Cutters
- Paper - newspaper, brown packing paper
- Glue - Ranger Collage Medium is my favorite, but any PVA glue will work
- Paint - Black soot and Picket fence distress paints were used here
Cut the wire to size
For my projects, the trees are about 7 inches tall with the trunk section about 3-4 inches tall. If you add the root system, the largest wire I cut is about 9-10 inches long.
In addition, I cut some smaller pieces to make smaller branches for the trees - about 2-6 inches long.
Each tree takes about 3-5 pieces of wire of each size.
Tear strips of paper
My favorite paper (which I have in abundance) is brown packing paper. It's not too thick, it wrinkles nicely and is flexible. Newspaper would work great as well. Even scrap paper works. Tear the paper into strips. Don't worry about the length of the strips. Just make some long and some short ones. You will vary the sizes as you wrap the wire.
Get your glue ready
I am fond of the Ranger Collage Medium because it is so easy to dip my finger in it and coat the paper. It also dries fast and holds really well. But if you are using another brand of glue, pour some in a bowl or dish you can reach it easily. You don't want to have to reach for a bottle of glue and squeeze it each time because your hands are going to be seriously messy. You just want to dip your finger into the glue to spread it around. Your hands are still going to be seriously messy, but the glue bottle won't be.
Make the twisted strands for the basic structure of your miniature twisted tree
First start with the longest pieces of wire. Apply some glue or collage medium on one end of your paper strip and twist it around the the wire. Continue twisting until you get to the top of the wire. Tear or cut the excess paper off if needed. Try to taper the paper so that the ends are much narrower than the middle.
You can add branches at this point if you want. I do it some of the time, but not on all of the wire.
Wind strands together to make the basic tree structure
Now wind two-three strands together to form the basic structure of the tree. Leave enough room at the bottom to make roots. The photo below shows 3 strands woven together with an extra branch or two.
Leave room at the bottom for some of the paper-covered wire to form the root structure.
Here's another tree in progress below:
Add extra wire covered paper to fatten up the tree trunk
Add extra wires the length of the trunk to make the trunk of the tree more substantial. Or you could just add extra layers of paper. Either way works well. But for the root system to be sturdy enough to support the twisted tree I usually add more twisted wire here.
Cover any exposed wire with more paper. I try to make the paper look wrinkly and crumpled like tree bark if I can.
Cut the excess wire from the limbs and the roots with wire cutters
Now cut off the excess wire with wire cutters. Try to cut the wire so it is blunt rather than angled so it won't make a sharp point.
Paint the spooky little tree with the colors of your choice
After the glue is dry the tree is ready for paint. Depending on my setting for the little tree, I either paint it white or black. If I want a seriously dark and gloomy tree, I will paint the under layer black. For a lighter setting, I paint it white. You can use shades of browns and greys for a more realistic tree, but for the haunted Halloween spooky factor - black is my choice.
The finished miniature twisted trees with white highlighting from Picket Fence distress paint are shown in the top of this post.
Place your twisted tree in your Halloween setting
Finally, one of nice feature of this tree is that you can arrange the limbs and the roots the way you want. Often to make them fit on the base with one of my houses, I have to bring all the branches to the front and move the roots to the front as well. You'll find that the roots can be wrapped around an edge for a more interesting and kind of creepy look. In the House guardians above, the tree on the right is creeping up the front stair and edging over the base.
On the Harlequin Halloween House, the tree also extends over the base of the house.
You don't even have to add the tree to the base of a Halloween putz house. You can just use it as extra decor around a Halloween vignette where one of the twisted trees is in the background setting.
What do you think about the twisted trees? I like them because they are both inexpensive and easy to make. But mostly I like them because add cool detail and dimension to my Halloween houses. Do let me know if you make one or several.
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