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Trees From Shredded Paper

They might not be the ultimate in terms of realism but in the field of wargaming, realism is not always as important as serving a purpose and looking good on the table. In this article, D T Buckley shows us some trees that not only do that but that are also quick, easy and cheap to make, and should also be easy to store and transport.

Trees From Shredded Paper

The raw materials are shredded paper and pipe cleaners. Note that the pipecleaners used here are the coloured variety that you can get from craft shops although you could also use the kind that come from tobacconists. The shredded paper came from an Easter basket and the strips are about 1/8" wide with a nice crinkled effect. Anybody with access to a document shredder should be able to make their own strips in which case it might be an idea to use a number of different shades of green paper or perhaps even to shred sheets that have a green pattern printer or painted on them.

Trees From Shredded Paper Trees From Shredded Paper Trees From Shredded Paper

The first step in the construction process is to determine the center point of a pipecleaner. An easy way is to bend it half, but do not pinch the top tightly as we will be adding material at that point to make the tree canopy. Then take some shredded paper and place it over the center point of the pipecleaner.

Pinch the shredded paper tightly where it crosses the pipecleaner. Pull up the ends of the pipecleaner, and twist it tightly 1-2 times to hold the shredded paper in place. Leave the pipecleaner parallel with this first layer of shredded paper and add more paper at right angles to it. This will give the finished piece a better shape. Again, pinch the center of the shredded paper, and twist the pipecleaner around tightly to fix it in place.

You could add additional layers if desired. One of my experimental trees has three thinner layers instead of two, but I can't tell which one it is, so now I usually only do two layers of shredded paper.

Continue twisting the pipecleaner to create the trunk/limb of the of the tree. Then fluff up the canopy by taking the limb/trunk and shaking it. This allows the shredded paper to move around and create a larger canopy.

This piece can be attached to a base or it can be used as part of a larger tree as shown below.

Trees From Shredded Paper Trees From Shredded Paper Trees From Shredded Paper

To make a larger tree take two (or more) canopies as described above. Take a 'root' from each canopy and twist it over the 'trunk' of the opposite canopy. Then twist the remaining 'roots' together.

Take another pipecleaner, and cut it in half. Now fold both pieces over the connecting point of the canopies and twist the pieces together with the hanging 'root' from the canopies. Leave some of the pipecleaner untwisted at the bottom to create roots for the tree as they will prove to be very useful when you come to attach it to a base.

Trees From Shredded Paper

Painting and flocking of the base is mandatory but you might also want to trim some of the longer paper pieces to form a more rounded canopy, add paint the the trunk to create variation, or perhaps give the canopy a light spraying of green paint.

And there we have it: a method of making trees that is so cheap, quick and easy that even a complete novice would be able to construct a whole forest in weekend!

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