Nov 16, 2013

Testing..1..2..3 this thing on? : "Tree" of treetop construction Stage 1

Good day good folk!

I kinda dropped off the planet a bit there, I went to the philidelpha miniatura show on the 2nd of November and had a bad chest cold at the time. Then over the next week it got progressively worse. Long story short I actually had Walking Pneumonia... so a regiment of antibiotic and inhalers and cough meds. I feel much better but it is still is a long recovery.

In any case, I thought I would just start talking about the Treehouse. Since it was months worth of construction and a lot of different techniques were created and used I though we could go over a few every couple of days and break down the build.
 
My apologies to my foreign friends as this will be "word heavy" and the translation might not go through. Feel free to ask questions and I will clarify.

Just to let you know, what I had on hand was what I used: My main goal was to construct this using all my power of creation, without spending more than 20$ extra in cost.

Stage 1: Tree Construction:

In this shot you can see the basic structure of the tree. I started with a small wooden base. I screwed a long wooden rod to the base, then I proceeded to create a trunk out of a large rolled oat container, I stuffed the container with Styrofoam for support, while still keeping the structure light.
 
The branches are a 13 gauge carbon steel wire, pushed into the Styrofoam and tube base, wrapped in heavy tinfoil, with lots of packing tape to support the branch: The house base was used as a guide for where to place the branches. I placed a small wooded square base at the top of the tube to compress the whole structure together.
 
The second part was the homade paperclay/mache. While there are many recipes out there I simply created cheap "toilet paper clay"..
 
Remove 1 roll toilet paper from cardboard tube, soaked in a hot water till easily shredded by fork. I then used a large screen mesh to drain the water out and smash dryish' and separate the shredded paper. I decided to use a mixture of joint compound/wood glue and cornstarch, till I felt the clay was what I could sculpt with, it was messy..but inexpensive and turned out pretty nice ;)
 
Here is one of the best recipes to match what I created:
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After applying the mixture in stages around the tree I used one of my wooden clay tools to carve bark in the trunk and sections of branches.
 
You can see some balls of paper were in the clay mixture but I decided to leave them as they added more realistic bark bumps and curves to the base.
 
Here was my first test fit it was a bit lopsided but the simplicity of the wire and paper mixture allowed me to bend the tree limbs and base enough to level the house.
 
After a few days in front of the fan I started the paint job. It was done with plain water based acrylics in layers.. I did a grey brown, then a bit of coffee then a few streaks of chocolate, grey, white, moss green.. Layers and a stiff bristle.
 
Layer..and layer..and layer...
 
The first purchase I decided on was these leaves, I had to decide on what I wanted the tree to resemble. And then I remembered my own advise, if you cannot create a particular species..Minifanatisize it!
 
These leaves looked perfect, they had a range of small and large leaves that were attached to what, once painted, would look just like branches.
 
Hole punched, glued and painted branches
 
Adding more
 
Mossing and detailing
 
A view of stage 2
 
Next part I will go into a bit more detail of the house construction.
 
I hope you are all inspired in your mini worlds...remember..inexpensive...toilet paper mache clay..,,,,play!!!

34 comments:

  1. I to hear you are on the mend, that does take a lot out of you and a while to get your strength back
    .
    Your post is very inspiring , I would love to try my hand at it !

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  2. Фантастическое дерево!!!!!!!! Люблю ваши работы!!!!!!! В них чувствуется какое то волшебство!!!!!!!!!

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  3. I don't know why they call it "walking" pneumonia...it usually knocks you on your a$$. Anyway, I'm glad you are feeling better and back in blogland :)
    Thanks for sharing these great tips. I love the economical paper mache recipe...I have to find something to cover with that soon :)
    Have a great weekend!
    Lisa

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    1. Yeah the most walking I did the week after was from the bed to the chair to the bed ;P

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  4. Pneumonia must be taken seriously. Take care! It's good you are feeling better now.
    The tree house looks fantastic. Thanks for the tips. One day I'll probably play with paper mache and say
    why haven't I done so before.
    Wishing you complete recovery and a lovely weekend, Drora

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  5. I am glad you are feeling better and hope that you make a full recovery soon. The tree looks fantastic thank you for sharing your how-too. Take care.
    Hugs Maria

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  6. Sorry to hear you have been unwell and hope you mend soon. My mind is buzzing with the possibilities of toilet paper clay. I love the tree and I've been wanting to make a smaller tree for a project. I will definitely have a go.

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    1. It makes a very sturdy tree, even the small parts ;)

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  7. I hope you feel well soon as possible! Your tree is absolutely awesome! I love it!! Hugs.

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  8. Good to hear you are on the mend. I love the tree, leaves, house! And I am now plotting on a way to cover something, anything, with toilet paper clay. Hum, wonder why the cat suddenly rushed under the sofa... :-)
    Véronique

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    1. Haha! The clay does turn into a fantastic play ball too ;P

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  9. Your tree looked quite wonderful. It seems like a lot of work and a great work of patience. It is so beautiful and so completed.
    I've never heard the term, Walking Pneumonia before, it is quite misleading, I thought. I wish you a speedy recovery and take care of yourself.
    Hugs
    Wyrna

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    1. The term walking, is a bit misleading.. you hardly feel like moving.. but it is the mildest form of pneumonia. Not fun ;(

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  10. El material es sencillo, lo difícil es darle la forma´y tu lo has hecho perfecto.

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  11. Spero che la tua salute vada sempre a migliorare. Mi piace la casa sopra l'albero, un bel progetto e un bel lavoro!
    Un caro saluto, Manu

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  12. So sorry to hear you've been so ill. :[ That tree is phenomenal!!! I love the creative aspects and use of what you had on hand. That's a great way to do things! :D

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    1. "Toilet paper mache clay"..maybe I should coin the phrase *lol*

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  13. OK I am so borrowing this tree idea in a smaller scale for a future project. I can do vines plants pretty well but I love this tree! Glad too see you are just walking instead of walking p.....Huggs and wishes to a full speedy recovery. And thanks for sharing your build with us. Its people like you who do this that make people with mental block see the unblock!!!

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    1. Thanks mssss.beeee ;) No who will help with my mental issuses..er block ;P

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  14. Meravigliosa ho sempre sognato una casa sull'albero!!! Kiss!

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  15. Wow, Jane, what an incredible tree! I've long wanted to make a miniature treehouse myself and am blown away by how realistic yours looks, even in "early stage" construction.

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    1. Well you should have at it! You can see how simple it was I think yours will turn out great ;)

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  16. Wow, spectacular! I love to see work in progress and it's so very nice of you to show us all how you built your masterpiece. When do you get the results of the contest?
    I'm glad you're feeling better.... it seems to be the season for colds right now.... just make sure to stay indoors and rest so you don't get worse.

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    1. Hiya Jana! Still waiting on results.. Not sure about the day they said middle of November but I heard it can be weeks after.

      I am on the mend thanks hon ;)

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  17. Una maravilla y el tutorial me ha dado unas ideas muy buenas para el árbol que tengo empezado y nunca termino.
    Un abrazo.
    Yolanda

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    1. Bueno momento para empezar de nuevo! Espero ver a su árbol;)

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  18. Hello Jane,
    I hope you are all better. The tree and your technique are wonderful. Excellent work.
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. Thanks hon, It is a long road to felling 100% but slowly ;)

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  19. Dear Jane,
    Take care, I wish you to be healthy soon.
    Your home will be so beautiful on top of this beautiful tree. Congratulations, it's a beautiful work.
    Hug, Fernanda

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  20. Jane!!! You are a Creative Genius and there are no 2 ways about it!! I love this break down of how you did the tree and the tutorial for the Paper mache clay is Fantastic!!! You have made such good usage of the method and the results are that your tree is very realistic in a Fanaticus Way! I love it all and have Pinned that recipe to my boards so use in the future! Your leaves are just right for this Most Fun tree house project of yours! I am quickly running out of Exclamation marks so I will stop while I still have a few left!!!! Too late, you get them ALL!!! :D

    elizabeth

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  21. This tree house is going to be amazing! What a wonderful work. I sit here with open mouth and can´t stop stunning! Wonderful!
    Hugs
    Melli

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  22. Hi Jane, I'm so sorry to hear that you had walking pneumonia. I hope you're feeling much better now and are almost fully recovered. Your tree house is so amazing--I'm in awe of it! I haven't forgotten your wonderful mini gifts and am planning a mini surprise for you. Until then, take good care. xo Jennifer

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  23. genius!!! That clay is inspired! Must try that....

    This build really is so incredible. I need to make more time in my day for checking out others' projects...or any time at all for that matter.

    Congrats on your well deserved prize, friend. And I hope you are feeling much better. Being ill with kiddos is like a double punishment. ;) Hugs!

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  24. je me promène sur ton blog , le papier toilette mâché rend très bien .L'arbre semble réel.

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