Sunday, 30 July 2017

Playing with tree foliage

Yesterday I started to work on some options for tree foliage... I think I've ended up back at the drawing board, but I'll explain what I did so you don't think I've been doing nothing. :D

As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I really wanted to use Candy Tuft as foliage for the tree, but it is unavailable in Australia and I think also on the banned or restricted import list of the quarantine & inspection service... so no dice there. :(

I haven't found much on 1:12 trees during my internet sluething, so I wandered over into model railroaders territory and found this reference to making bushes out of noch leaves and lichen. I wondered if I could adapt the bushes to be tree foliage.

After a long wait for my Noch leaves to arrive from Germany, I got to work.

I bought three colours so that I could get some variation and depth into the tree.

I also bought several colours of lichen to decide what worked/I liked.

I started with the natural lichen and broke some apart into what I thought would be appropriate pieces.

Then I used some spray paint I had on hand to lightly paint them first a dull brown and then a light frosting of forest green. 

It's actually metal fence touch up paint so, quite difficult to clean up! :O

I wasn't really looking for full coverage.. more just a hint of variation seeing as they were already a woody colour.

The next step was to spray them individually with adhesive and then roll them in the leaves. I chose to do several different variations, light & medium, medium & dark, light & medium & dark.

It was all going a long swimmingly if messily and I was liking the effect. Even if they were a little more clumpy than I would have preferred.

That is until I got them onto the tree. :/

They look more like some kind of moss that grows on trees in the tropics than foliage and the scale is off, which I always suspected it would be. I thought if I bunched enough of them together I could disguise that, but it's a messy process & I'm not sure that it will solve that problem anyway. The other issue is, they shed like crazy, which isn't conducive to the application in my opinion... I probably could spray them with adhesive or hairspray to see if that settles them down.. but I'm not sure I like the look enough to continue.

All is not lost, I'll probably used the clumps I've made for bushes or topiaries. :)

While I was out in the back yard, I was looking at the paperbark tree and noticed it had surprisingly small leaves and some nut like buds that looked interesting. I decided to cut a few sprigs and throw them in the microwave for snap drying... My house now smells like eucalyptus! :)

I tried a few on the tree.

I kind of like them but after microwaving the are a bit brown, so I sprayed some forest green on a few sprigs.

Hmmm.. I don't know maybe too green? I do want this to be a summer yard though and the grass will be quite a deep green so the darker green might be a better fit.

I do like the little nutty buds though. :)

This look is better than the lichen foliage but the leaves are still to big. What to do....

It's a lot of work but I'm thinking of cutting down the individual leave to be smaller... So a test is in order.

I think they look a bit better.. but probably still too big...

I think I'll get some more onto the tree before making a final decision. They are surprisingly hardy with nowhere near the shedding of the lichen.... and the price is right, so if I can make these work I will... The jury is still out though. Probably because they are not the look I first intended... we shall see...



  1. The good news is that you are testing every option and being tenacious. That means that you WILL find a satisfactory solution. I know you read Brae's blog, so I am sure you've thought about using individual paper leaves as she did with the heritage. That did take a large commitment of time and energy tho.

    I poked around a bit and found this site:

    This would be a nuclear option, as shes sells amazingly realistic finished trees. They are definitely an investment, but at least you'll have the option if making your own becomes too frustrating.

    Glad you finally have the time to work on the SF again! Good luck with all the experimenting!

    1. Thanks for the pep talk Jodi, I needed it after yesterday. *rolls eyes*
      I have seen those trees at Earthscapes.. I love them and was trying to figure out what she uses for foliage... I'm not giving up on it yet... I'm going to start looking at florist shops I think.. or maybe the fake flower section of the craft store. I have other things to work on in the mean time.. so progress will continue in other ways. :D

    2. Umm.. not sure I have Brae's dedication. :) I need a somewhere in between option. Realistic enough without having to make individual leaves. :D

  2. Hi Sam. I found this link for dried flowers after doing some googling to see what candytuft was:
    It was hard to tell from all the pictures I found exactly what any of the plants look like and you'd probably need to see them in real life. But there are lots of Australian plants with small leaves that might work, just as you have done above. If you can wait, you are best to cut your stems and stand them in glycerine so that they soak up the glycerine and that stops them being brittle when they dry. Maybe a florist could supply something that looked like tiny leaves. Or try one of the plastic plants at Spotlight, they have quite a few small leaved ones at the moment. I saw someone cut the ends of the leaves to make them into a better shape and it worked quite well (I think they made a citrus tree). Keep looking though! It will work out.

    1. Thanks Shannon.. I raided Spotlight last week and I've been playing around with my choices. I think they may work. The dried stuff was just too brittle so I ripped it all off.. I was too boofy and kept knocking leaves off so they had to go. :D