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How to Make a Tree Sculpture

By Lynn Johnson

A tree sculpture can be used for decoration for a party, home or classroom, and as a prop for a play. A tree sculpture can be made with papier mache then painted. Use chicken wire as a base structure to create a stronger more stable tree. This is a fun project that children can do too.

Make a 12-inch diameter tube two-feet tall from chicken wire and close with wire. This will be the trunk of your tree.

On the bottom of the trunk make roots for the tree. Wire smaller tubes of chicken wire to the base of the trunk. Taper the tubes to get smaller at the end to resemble roots.

Continue building up the trunk of the tree with more tubes until it is four feet high. As the trunk gets taller make the tube smaller. The top of the tube should be about six inches in diameter. Cut the chicken wire at an angle before wiring together to create a tapered tube.

Wire many small tubes off the top of the trunk. The tubes will create branches and should get smaller toward the end of the tubes. Within the branches create smaller branches “growing” off the larger branches like a real tree.

Cover the wire tree with papier mache. Cut strips of newspaper. Dip the newspaper in a mixture of equal parts water and flour. Use the coated paper to cover the wire structure. Overlap the paper as you are laying it on the wire structure. Cover the frame with three or four layers of paper mache. More layers will make the sculpture stronger but will prolong drying time.

Let the papier mache dry completely. This may take several days depending on the thickness applied and the climate. Areas that are more humid will take longer for the paper mache to dry. If it is raining outside while the sculpture is drying it will take even longer.

Paint the tree. Cut pieces of paper resembling leaves to glue to the end of the branches. Paint the leaves.


Things You Will Need

  • Newspapers
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters


  • As you are building the tree taller and adding the branches check for the stability of the tree. You may need to add thicker roots to support the top of the tree.
  • When applying the papier mache, run the paper through your fingers after dipping in the flour mixture. This will help the sculpture dry faster.
  • You can change the measurements of the tree based on the size of sculpture you want. The amount of chicken wire is determined by these measurements as well as the amount of branches added.


About the Author


Lynn Johnson is a textile artist, fashion designer, mother and small business owner. Johnson has been copy writing since 2006. Some of her work is published on sites like eHow. She writes about parenting, crafts, fashion, games and textiles. Johnson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and has attended Master of Fine Arts programs.