Ficus and similar trees – artificial ones – look great indoors or sitting on a deck. You can purchase these fake trees in many different places but you’ll often find that they don’t look real at all. Slick, brown trunks and branches, as well as waxy-looking, cheap leaves, turns what should be a beautiful tree into a joke. If you love indoor trees, but you’d never have one of those hideous, plastic versions, make your own! That way, you can build exactly the tree you want!
The tree limbs you use as the trunk of the artificial tree is all-important. Real bark limbs give you a nice start to creating a spectacular tree. The branches or limbs should be long but no more than three or four inches in diameter. They should be lightweight and unique in appearance. That is, the tree you make will be much more impressive if the limbs and branches you use have character. Bends, knotholes and twisted limbs work great. Afer a storm is an ideal time to look for tree limbs to use for this project. However, the limbs and branches must be completely dry before starting to build the artificial tree.
Choose the pot for the tree. You may think that only a heavy pot, like a terra cotta pot, could be used to hold the tree but that’s not so. Even a lightweight plastic or wicker basket can hold the tree. Just choose a pot that is proportionate in size to the limbs. Make sure you have the limbs positioned how you want them, and that they are centered in the middle of the pot, then use spray-foam insullation to secure them. Follow the instructions on the label to dispense and dry. Prop the trees in place as the insulation sets. When the spray dries it looks like a large, hard ball of Styrofoam. This can be decoratively covered upon completetion of the tree.
Choose bunches of greenery at a craft store. Spend a little extra to buy leaves that look real and your artificial tree will look real. The leaves you choose are up to you but they should all be the same. Also, look for bunches which feature many leaves on one wire. Look for bunches that feature small-diameter wires rather than many wires covered with a single plastic coating.
Use a drill and small drill bit to create holes in the branches and limbs. Or, use a hammer and nail. With the tree standing, hammer or drill the holes downward, so that you start at one area on the branch and make a hole that burrows downward. Be careful when drilling the holes. If you make a hole on one side of the branch, and another hole on a different side, the two holes can run together and break off a chunk of the branch.
Hot glue generally works well to hold the bunches of leaves in the holes. Position some short bunches of leaves and some longer bunches. Leave at least a fourth of the trunk showing. This area, though, can have a few leaves, here and there. Arrange the bunches of leaves how you want, and use as many as you want, to create the tree of your dreams. Later, and this is optional, you can even add tiny, artificial flowers to some of the leaf groups.
The finished tree might take a little time to make but it is not hard at all. It’s much more impressive than some of the cheaper versions you find at local stores and it costs a lot less money! They’re fun to make so why not get started? There’s probably some limbs lying outside in your backyard right now!