Tutorial- Willow Trees

I have decided to build a temple garden board for Bushido, and I decided that it needed some willow trees. GCT (the makers of Bushido) have a nice tutorial on their site:


I modified this method a bit to use items I had on hand, and made a few other changes as well.

I started with Woodland Scenics tree armatures. These are the 5-6 inch tall ones. I bent them over and twisted the branches around a bit after looking at pics of real willow trees online.

I used my trusty hot-melt glue gun to glue the armatures to some fiberboard bases that I also had laying around.

I used the hot glue to thicken the base of the tree, and add a root system.

I texured the bases and the base of the trunk with Liquitex resin sand paste. They were primed black using Vallejo Surface Primer.

I drybrushed the trees grey, washed them with a heavy brown wash, and drybrushed them grey again. I also painted the ground in my standard dirt brown base color.

At this point, I added the leaf structure... I did not take a picture because it was extremely messy and I had glue all over my hands.

First mix up a fairly large quantity of watered down PVA. The mix I used was 1 part glue to 1 part water. I used Woodland Scenics Polyfill for my leaves. I tore a long-ish thin hunk from the polyfill, and sort of stretched it out into a vine shape. Dunk it into the glue mixture and get it nice and saturated. Wring out some of the excess glue, and then drape it across the branches. The idea is that the glue helps it to hang down, willow style. Each time you lay a new piece of polyfill, lay it in a different direction. Vary your lengths a bit, as well as placement. I also sprinkled them with some static grass to add a little color variety. Then, set them somewhere to dry. LOTS OF GLUE WILL DRIP OFF, so make sure to place them somewhere that can get gluey. I spread an old tablecloth on the floor to work on for this process.

At this point, I felt very discouraged, and I was not happy at all with the way they looked, but I left them to dry overnight.

In the morning, they looked like this. They still needed some work. I took some clippers to them, and removed branch ends that stuck out past the leaves as well as some full branches from inside the structure. I also took scissors to the leaves, cut out some glue blobs, and separated some of the "vines". I basically gave them a hair cut.

Here they are, post haircut. They look pretty decent, and because of all the glue, are very sturdy as well!

They did not end up exactly like I had planned, but I'm looking forward to seeing them on the table.

I think the tree armatures would have worked better if I had trimmed the extra branches off before adding the leaves. Additionally, I think I would do a 2:1 water to PVA mixture in the future. The thick glue made things more difficult, and also made a bigger mess!

I'm going to make a couple more, following more closely to the original tutorial as well. Once they are done, I'll do another post to compare the 2 processes.



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2 responses to “Tutorial- Willow Trees

  1. Nice result. An effective haircut for sure!

  2. Yes, these came out really cool.

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