• Simple (and healthy) Trees Made from Grape Stems

    Simple (and healthy) Trees by Borikk

    It was one of those days. I had a migraine and while I was feeling sorry for myself I popped in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer, DVD. I knew I needed to eat something (didn’t want to though) so I ate a bunch of grapes.


    Having finished the grapes I was left with the stem or vine, I thought “This might make a neat tree for my miniatures?”



    I let the green vine dry about 2 weeks (it really doesn’t take that long but I wanted it real dry). You can easily cut the vine to size. Remove all the branches and you have a log. Twist and bend the green stems and when dry you will have a deformed tree. You can easily glue two or more dry stems together in various configurations to make them bigger.



    Once good and dry (and brittle) I coated it with multiple layers of latex varnish. I usually use a 50/50 mix of water and varnish. I prefer to paint it on rather than spray it. It is less expensive to paint it I think.



    Now that the vine is “sealed” with multiple coats of varnish you may now apply your flock. I have done this in two ways. Dapping the stem ends with PVA glue and sprinkling the flock unto to it, or spraying the whole tree and rolling it around in the flock. If you do not add flock, you have a dead tree or a tree in winter. (Yeah that’s a no brainier).



    An example of pine tree and red shrub from grape stems.
    I have used this technique over five years now with no obvious decay to my trees. If you check out my pictures the diorama titled “Maiden Sacrifice to the Dread God” was done in early 2009.

    Hope you find this useful. I know I did. My twisted wire and modeling putty trees were a disaster.
    I am sure that some very talented individual will improve upon this technique. When you do, please share it. Thank you.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. PegaZus's Avatar
      PegaZus -
      Enjoyed the article; thanks for sharing!
    1. 2MySunShine's Avatar
      2MySunShine -
      Thank you, PegaZus, I appreciate your time and kinds words.

      Borikk
    1. freightdog5126's Avatar
      freightdog5126 -
      Doeas the varnish preserve the stems over long term or would to have to use something else for long term use? Thanx for the post.
    1. Borikk's Avatar
      Borikk -
      Hello, freightdog5126. I have been using this process for some years now, maybe 7 years. I have a number of minis with these trees. I have not noticed any decay or fading. I do multiple layers of the varnish, letting each layer dry thoroughly before brushing on the next. I have also tried painting the tree but I think the varnish gives a more natural look. I have been using a gloss varnish, (it has just dawned on me to try a satin or matte). There is a nice thread on the Forums about varnishes titled “Protecting finished minis with gloss and matte varnish together.” Thanks for reading.
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