How to make model trees

Look at any good model railway layout and you’ll see trees. Here, in 5 five easy steps, is how to make your own trees out of objects from around your home.

Although not expensive, trees for model railways – such as these (link via Amazon) – cost money. Yet with a little effort, you can make your own from everyday objects at little or no cost.

And, over at Storm The Castle is a great tutorial on doing just this and which is summarised below into 5 simple, easy, steps.

5 Steps to making model trees

#1 Cut Wire

Make a treeCut several pieces of Copper wire from any standard house wire, a cable with a plug on it.

Each strip of wire should be a few inches long for OO scale; for smaller scales reduce the length.

#2 Twist and Shape

With pliers, twist these so they form a trunk and shape the wires at the other end into the shape required for the branches – see picture.

You’ll need two pliers to do this, holding the trunk with one pair and twisting the other strands around it.

#3 Paint the Trunk and Branches 

Use an enamel paint for metal and for realism using different shades around the trunk.

[Andy: Alternatively, you could cover the trunk in air-drying clay and paint this with normal acrylics once it’s dry]

finished tree#4 Add Foliage

Coat the branches in hob-e-tac adhesive (via Amazon) and then tear up an old kitchen sponge and fix this to the branches. Older kitchen sponges tend to fade so these can be used to add different shades of green to your trees to add realism.

[Andy: I wrote a separate article on how to make model trees from sponge].

#5 Insert and Admire

Once the tree is complete, make a hole in your layout; drop in some glue, insert the tree and step back and admire your creation. The picture(s) above are from the original article and shows just what’s possible using these five simple steps.

Alternatively, watch these videos I’ve picked on making three of the most common trees in the UK.

How to make the 3 most common UK trees – videos

Making a model Silver Birch tree


Making a model Oak tree

How to make model Aspen trees


Subscribe to my free email newsletter for more articles like this, plus the latest model train news, regular and exclusive tips, tutorials and guides. It's free, you can unsubscribe at any point and i promise never to sell your information. Click here to subscribe now.


Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.