How To Make A Paper Mache Tree

I know, it's something you've been wondering for a long time... "Just how am I going to make that paper mache tree??"

Well fear not... Mrs P is here to help solve all your paper mache tree problems.

Ok, First up, Get yourself a butt load of chicken wire and start making a trunk. I've made this tree in 2 parts so it's easier to transport. If it's gonna be big, then think about whether or not it's going to fit through the doorway... just saying!

Use the chicken wire to make a solid round trunk, then wrap it in cone shapes to form branches and roots, twist wire to the trunk to attach them and tie them as tight as you can.  The more secure your initial structure is, the better. 

And if you think that simply putting wet paper mache directly onto your chicken wire is going to work, think again! It's a total nightmare... it doesn't have anything to stick to. I used masking tape (and lots of it) to reinforce the branches and give the first layer of paper something to stick to. Imagine the tree has a broken arm and wrap the tape like a bandage around each turn.. you gotta wrap it tight, and tell the tree to stay calm, tell it who's boos (don't be afraid of any wire scratches).

When you slap on your paper, use lots of it, lots of layers. I started with big layers in the large areas and worked my way into smaller pieces with the branches and folds. My paper mache mix was PVA glue, flour and water... and salt to stop the mould from killing my tree. I dipped each piece in the mix and used a medium sized paint brush to coat both sides, then BAM! Onto the tree. I like to work quickly and then let the layer dry for a day or so. I was in a hurry, so I only did about 4 layers... if that.

The painting was a total pain in the ass. For some reason it took forever. Naughty me didn't seal it first, so the paint changed the texture of the tree and kind of shrivelled the paper.. not to worry.. I kind of liked how it looked, but if you wanna go deluxe, make sure the tree is TOTALLY dry before you start priming and painting. 2 coats of brown house paint did the job for me. I poked holes in the branches with a screwdriver (or sometimes drill) where I wanted the foliage to spring out from and used gorgeous bendy wire branches with silk leaves from a florist supply store. 

And last but not least... I added some fairy lights for that little twinkle... Who knows, you might even win first place at a craft show for your awesome creative skills....