This is what the tree looked like at the wedding venue.
This white artificial bonsai tree was made for a friend’s sister’s wedding.
Jason’s sister is getting married and he had an idea that all the friends and family could tie their best wishes and their blessings on a bonsai. The blessings written on paper with tags would replace the leaves on the tree. With this thought, he came to cajole me out of one of my prized bonsais and agree to stripping it of leaves and painting it white. My daughter Smriti, his friend, tried to warn him that I would not agree. Of course, I refused and on his trying to convince and told him “This is just not happening”. I advised him to make an artificial bonsai, which I would gladly help him create.
It took the three of us half a day. Since in the colder areas due to snowfall the trees shed their leaves, looking at it, reminds me of the Christmas weather.
So here are the step-by-step pictures while making this tree with instructions.
Since we really were short of time, Jason collected dry fallen branches of trees from the garden of a friend’s house. We sorted these out and spread them out on the floor of my studio.
Next, we had to decide which branches would look good as the trunk. Placed a few, removed, and again added so that finally we picked up 2 slightly thick branches to tie together. The consideration was that the trunk has to look natural as well as be strong enough to support the rest of the branches. Dry wood being brittle has a tendency to break. More so as we were going to use wire for binding.
Since I do a lot of craft, as well as, teach art and craft I have a lot of material and tools in my studio. I do not know the gauge of the wire in the picture above, but it has to be soft enough for you to wind it by hand. If it is hard you will not be able to wind it tightly.
We cut the wire into manageable lengths.
Holding the 2 chosen branches together I tied them with a wire piece.
Using a pair of pliers I twisted the wires so as to tighten them
While Smriti held the trunk I attached more branches to it. We continued to tie more and more twigs and branches with the wire keeping the shape in mind.
To hold it and give the shape we used strips of old fabric and bandaged the trunk with it. We also used a lot of glue to give it stability. The two ends of the piece of wire make it difficult to tie, as they start to scratch you. So the fabric covers the wire ends and you are easily able to work on the tree. Do be careful, and take care not to snap the thinner twigs while winding.
Wrapping the strips on the trunk area with layers of glue in between, Smriti and I managed to give the shape, required for the tree trunk, packing fabric for a gradual thickness.
Now the next part was to plant our tree in a shallow pot. For this Jason got an old terracotta pot. He washed and scrubbed it with a plastic scrubber under running water. This was required as all the dirt had to be removed. Jason then painted the pot white with a flat brush.
Once the paint was dry we filled the pot ¾ with mud.
And stuck the tree in the center.
Jason holding the trunk in place.
Smriti mixed the required amount of Plaster of Paris with water in a bowl. As this is quick-drying we had to be very fast.
The POP paste was poured into the pot over the mud. Smriti putting the POP on the trunk.
Build up the POP to give shape and texture to the rest of the tree as required. You will find that all the fabric gets covered and the tree begins to take shape. You can also use the POP to make the shape of the roots. It now starts to look as if it is actually growing in the pot. Prune the branches to balance the shape of the tree. You may have to walk around to see it from all sides.
Once the POP set Smriti and Jason again painted the whole tree and branches with white paint.
Smriti painting the tree white.
Jason did try to use a white spray can but found that a lot of paint was wasted. So they went back to painting it.
The completed white tree.