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How to Make a Wire Bonsai Tree


Bonsai trees are of course very beautiful. We all know that! They can also be a challenge to care for over the long term. We all know that too! Now you can make an adorable bonsai tree out of materials like wire and paper and voila! It is care free!

In this tutorial I show you how to make a wire bonsai tree a couple of different ways.

For this tutorial we are making an informal upright.

I also have a guide for different bonsai shapes if you want to take a look at that right here.


Two wire bonsai trees that are home made


Wire bonsai tree made by a web visitor

Can you make a wire bonsai tree like in this tutorial? You sure can. Here is one made by Blake! It came out great and my thanks go to Blake for sharing the picture with us!!








Some of the materials you will use for this tutorial include various thicknesses of wire, paint, construction paper, containers of almost any type, gloss gel and terrain textures.


Tracing PaperThis is an optional step but you might want to give it a try. Bonsai have a very distinct look and shape. And if you find a picture of one that you really like you can use some tracing paper to get the shape of it.






The tracing

From here we know how we are going to twist the wire. And we get a good sense for how thick the trunk is in comparison to the tree overall, and the branches. This will be your guide.

We chose a couple of bonsai for their appealing shape, thick trunk and large leaves. The large leaves are easy to reproduce.




Start with thick wire

Cut yourself a piece of thick wire that is twice the height of your bonsai tree. This wire we use at this point is coat hanger. Bend it in half with a big loop on the bottom.

And you can see we have an actual bonsai dish which is great. But you can use anything. I will also show you how we use a little can of cat food for our other bonsai.



Pass the loop

Pass that loop right through the holes in the bottom of the dish.







Use foam

If your dish has no holes you can use a piece of foam, or even wood or rock and wrap the wire around that. You will glue this block into the dish later.






If you are using a pot with no hole or using some kind of other container it is easy to just build the tree on your block of foam then glue it into the container once the wiring is all done.

add hot glue grab the wired tree glue it into the container


start twisiting

Start the upward twisting. First twisting those two ends together. Then start adding more pieces that twist upward.

Just pinch, squish, and twist it together as stable as you can. We will be adding to it later so it doesn't have to be pretty at this point.





Start the thicker branches

It is starting to look like a bonsai tree.







Cut thinner wireAs we work out the the smaller branches we use smaller gauge wire which is thinner. Note that if you are buying wire the higher the number gauge the thinner the actual wire. 24 gauge wire is a lot thinner than 18 gauge wire and 28 gauge wire is thinner still.





wrap bunches of wire

Now add even more smaller wires for small branches like this. And you can group them up to get a fuller look.







twist into thinner branches

Twist them up in appealing shapes.







The tree is shaped

Now, before we start fleshing out the trunk and branches bend all the wires of the tree to an appealing shape.






Add foil for the trunk

Now start adding aluminum foil.

You are adding small pieces at a time but don't cut the foil, rip it. This gives you a nice uneven and barky look.

Build up the trunk by wrapping some of the foil round and round the wire




Add more foil and wrap it around

Keep wrapping the bark, pushing it in very tightly. But you don't want it smooth. You want it wrinkled. It gives a nice bark appearance. You want the texture of the scrunched up foil to show through. It gives the tree a natural bark-like texture.







The bark is done

The bark is finished and it looks great. Let's Paint it and do more detail work.



NextOk, Let's continue making this bonsai by adding the bark and leaves





Two Ceramic Bonsai Pots




18 Gauge Artistic Wire






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