Making and How to Make Model Evergreen Trees, Pines and Miniature Conifers
Christmas Village Displays
No winter village scene would really be complete without first adding lots of miniature spruce trees, whether you buy them or make them yourself. Lemax and Department 56 both sell fairly inexpensive groups of conifers, which come in a mixture of different sizes and are lightly frosted in snow.
These are well worth buying and are most effective when grouped together in mini copses. It is often a good idea to use one of the larger trees as a potential Christmas tree centrepiece to a village plaza or outside one of the main houses, covering it in tiny battery powered fairy lights.
The only problem with buying lots of tiny model Christmas trees for your village is that they will all look the same - not a true reflection of nature. Therefore, do consider taking your model making a step further and try your hand at creating your very own conifers. There are a number of relatively simple methods that you can employ when trying to make your own, and all will ensure that you end up with favourable results.
Making Model Evergreen Trees from Dried Flowers
You can make evergreen trees by selecting dried flower heads from herbaceous plants, such as astilbes. After first carefully drying off in the oven or microwave, several flower stems can then be joined together using masking tape or glue. A stable base is an important feature and modelling clay is a simple solution here, as is a thick white glue or silicone sealant, which will match in with any 'snow' on the ground of your landscaped scene.
Once stable, paint the stem brown and spray the foliage a dark green colour, taking care to not only spray from the sides, but also from above, since you will often be looking down on the trees when viewing your village. The trees look great at this stage, but even better after being dressed in a light coating of spray snow.
Photo of the trees made from dried flowers in a village setting:
Making Model Conifers / Evergreen Trees from Branches
A nice twiggy branch will often make a very realistic deciduous tree for any Christmas village. However, if you are able to add some green reindeer moss (available from all good model shops, florists and eBay), then you will have suddenly created a really effective tree, complete with foliage.
The big advantage with using reindeer moss is that it can easily cover up any bare patches and hide defects. If the tree does not have enough branches, then use some garden wire to create more and cover these with the reindeer moss, glueing in place with PVA glue if necessary.
Photo sequence of the creation of an evergreen tree (styled as a holm oak), made with a suitable apple branch and wire twigs, before being covered in green coloured reindeer moss and then sprayed with snow spray:
Making Model Pine Trees
If you fancy making a pine tree from scratch and have access to some old artificial Christmas tree branches, then make a basic structure by twisting garden wire together to form a tree, branches and branchlets. Secure the 'trunk' in a solid base and use either a modelling clay, plasticine or Fimo to create a brown trunk, hiding the wire.
Trim the fake spruce twigs to size (reducing the needle length if appropriate) and glue in place, hiding as much of the wire as possible. You will find that these twigs are easiest to attach by using a clear silicone sealant, which has the advantage of making the tree look a little icy in places, particularly if you use the sealant to make some frosty icicles on the branches.
Picture of miniature pine trees made from wire, displayed in a large Christmas village landscape:
Close-up image of the model pine tree (above) from the back, showing the wire structure hidden with sprigs of spruce foliage pruned from old plastic Christmas tree branches: