View Full Version : Frabricating artificial trees
04-13-2009, 04:52 PM
Im looking for input on fabricating trees for a modular haunt. I need to create something that can be broken down and reset up. Small fake trees are just not cutting it .
04-13-2009, 06:25 PM
Palm, conifer, or deciduous ?
04-13-2009, 07:13 PM
My intent was deciduous
04-13-2009, 09:38 PM
We make them with sonotubes wrapped with vacuform and then detailed with textures and plant materials. We rented some to H2 Halloween 2 the movie so they must look ok!
04-13-2009, 09:48 PM
I have had good luck with carpet tubes (I spend way to much time in dumpsters, I have a weekly route) in a five gallon bucket filled with concrete, then I take real branches and wire tie/ bailing wire them onto the tubes, add monster mud to the tubes and use a comb with a few teeth taken out to texture the mud to look like bark. camo netting cut into patches and draped across the branches gives the effects of leaves.
seriously find a carpet store (they are all over, but you do not see them unless you look) and peek into their dumpster, there are always about 15 or so tubes in them when i visit, use several tubes in one bucket for a small cluster of trees.
two years ago at vegas transworld there was a guy in the party section who had good looking paper/cardboard trees, I do not recall his company name but he had good looking stuff, if I recall they were about $700 a piece though.
good luck and let us know what you try,
04-13-2009, 10:23 PM
Here is a picture of our trees.
04-13-2009, 10:39 PM
Excellent input, thanks. Dumpster diving is in my future.
Ben - explain the vacuform aspect of the build.
04-14-2009, 07:40 AM
Sonotubes can be bought at any hardware or concrete supply store at a reasonable price.
I am pretty sure there is a company that exhibited recently that carried latex tree wraps.
As far as vacuform you might want to contact
Nethercraft http://www.nethercraft.com/ but I didn't see any tree related items
or Nightscream. His site is not up yet, but Geffert, Rodney firstname.lastname@example.org
The other thing you can do is sculpt the texture onto the sonotube using monstermud or some other time consuming technique. But I would go for the above options.
They are lighter and easier to deal with.
04-14-2009, 03:48 PM
We get vacuform from many sources, I believe that these were from Senic Service Specialists. It has to be a thin enough mil to bend around a tube. I think the ABS Nethercraft and Scareparts use are too strong/brittle/thick to wrap this tight. Sonotubes are thick carboard tubes used as molds for concrete pillars. They come in very wide sizes, we have some 3 feet across. The smaller ones you can get at Depot, the large ones you will need to search specialty construction places, like Kevin mentioned. Not the right way to make gnarled twisted trees, but if they are tall and pretty straight and your time is worth more than a few sheets of vacuform it is certainly an option.
I saw that guy wih the rubber bark, it was not very cheap. Years ago Diabolico/Saf-Tex/Banned in Barcelona had full rubber walls you could do this with, we still use that stuff to wrap sonotube pillars.
04-14-2009, 07:17 PM
there's the link for that co.
I like the tube/s in a bucket idea!! Gotta try that!
Another thing we've done is fake tree branches that are installed in angled flag brackets screwed to the top edges of walls..and FR christmas trees...
04-14-2009, 07:34 PM
To replace the real one beside my house, it's not looking too healthy anymore. (it's old)
I did build a tree many years ago in my south yard, not exactly portable....poured about a yard of concrete in a big hole, stuck 3/4 inch re-bar into the wet concrete in a rough circular pattern then welded more re-bar to these stubs to go on up with the tree. "I welded 10 gauge steel on the outside for the trunk.
I welded smaller re-bar on the higher areas to be the smaller limbs...I never finished it because welding from a ladder put me under the hot weld shower and I kept setting myself on fire.."What's burning? What's that smell?"
In the summer vines grow all over it so it looks much more real then.
I placed a metal sculpture in the metal tree of a dragon with a knight riding on it's back I made. The knight is missing one arm (Dragon got it) The dragon has one of his wings being pulled apart by blackbirds. I once drove to New Orleans with this mounted to the roof of my Spookmobile.
I titled it:"Just Me And The Wife Out For A Sunday Drive." (She was the dragon.)(Ex-wife)
04-15-2009, 07:34 AM
This stuff is a little pricey but renders great results, and is quick!
04-15-2009, 09:09 AM
I love that stuff! We have used it for Rocks and Trees.
04-15-2009, 09:22 AM
I can't find pics of our trees.......I will keep looking though
At TW there was a company selling skins made of latex that wrapped on sonitubes.
I can't find them in the directory though....they were on the back wall by the corpse on the table thingy, and the spider thing. ANYONE????
The other thing we do.......
Take scrap PVC 8 inch or all different sizes
Mix up some joint compound paint glue n such
Find a material to simulate the bark.......we used drop clothes
Spray pvc with glue....wrap with fabric loosely to create the wrinkles
Take the goo and spread.....after a few trys you will get the feeling for it
Sorry I am a hands on person......I will look for the photos!!!!
If anyone has seen our swamps and forests....that is what we have done for 9 years
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