How to make a small fairy house tree (part 2)

How to make a small “fairy house” tree. Part 2 is about painting the bark.

This table top fairy tree house is for my College Fae series and is a centerpiece of the table in my booth. Here is the second part of the directions on how to make one (the first part was here).

After letting the foam dry and cure, we noticed the tree had developed a lean. The roots had also pulled up and were not laying flat. Going back through the notes, it seems this indeed a problem with the foam method.

Foam will NOT dry evenly and will contract in some areas, expand in others. So it can be an experiment to get it right.

  • To fix this, you need to let it cure at least ONE WEEK!
  • Put weight on top of the root areas (like a can from your pantry) to help it dry in place.
  • We’d also make a stronger core of cardboard to serve as the interior structure.
  • We would not have cut out as many windows as we did – that weakened the trunk somewhat.

You can slice into the foam and back fill. The yellow-white areas are where we cut and added new foam (the first tree form was spray painted a medium gray).

When you cut off foam it leaves a different texture to the foam. This can be worked around by making this a future area for moss on your tree when you start the painting.

Before starting the paint on your tree go look at ones in nature. Get a feel for how the colors overlay each other, with darker colors in the recessed areas of your tree bark and lighter areas across the very top of your tree lumps.

Painting tips:

  • Halloween tree? Go with black and shades of gray spraypaint. Fine detail will probably not be needed.
  • Trees in nature differ in color. I found most were gray in color with shades of tan and brown.
  • Spray paint the base with black, dark brown, and medium gray. This will be the primer and undercoat of your tree color. These colors will remain in the recessed (dark shadowed) area of your tree’s bark.
  • Highlight colors are medium to light gray, medium to light tan, lime green and evergreen.
  • The moss colors are light tan and lime green.

We’ll be working on windows and doors, adding pinecone bits and moss to the tree, and sprucing up the branches in blog post 3.

This tabletop tree is the centerpiece of the College Fae table at my booth. Doing this smaller project gave us experience before proceeding to the bigger one – a large tree centerpiece that will have a Dryad emerging from its trunk! (Stay tuned!!)

Some helpful info that gave us great ideas:

Videos showing how a foam tree trunk was made. These are super helpful!:

Bark techniques (we used her paper towel technique):

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