Under the maple tree - part 5

by brae  

Continuing work on the maple tree.  A real tree has a great deal more branches than the base I've created, and those branches taper into batches of leaves.  My purpose is to get the general feel of a maple tree and to accent the landscaping.  In the original tutorial from the DVD Master Miniaturists: Landscaping Primer with Diane Myrick, the artist uses foam foliage materials for better coverage but it looks best when viewed from afar.  My trees are a compromise on full coverage versus good in the close-up view.  :]

Now for some math.  The Easy Leaves kits state there are 282 leaves per package.  This takes into account that some of the leaves on the frame are incomplete.  So, with three kits, I have a starting point of 846 leaves, but let's drop that down 5% for loss, mishaps and unusable leaves to roughly 800.  I have 95 base branches, which makes for 8.4 leaves per branch.  No matter what, I will need to make more leaves using paper punches.

The 95 branches may seem like a lot, but there will be bare spots if I leave it as is.  Adding branches after the putty has dried is not impossible, but there are some drawbacks and limitations.  Yes, you can start out with more wires to have more base branches, but then you end up with more of the bulky base branches and not thin branches at the ends where they are needed the most.  Carrying thin wires with the larger wires still adds bulk to the base branches.

I took short lengths of 30 gauge brown wire and curled them around the base branches where needed, adding 120 small branches.  Now I have 215 branches, which makes for 3.7 leaves per branch from my existing batch.  While I still need more leaves, their placement will be spread out on the surface more like a real tree.

I mixed Durham's Water Putty again and covered the joins.  This does create bulk and you can somewhat see the twists since I didn't go overboard with the application, but this shouldn't be a focal point once the putty is painted to match the bark and the leaves are on.  I didn't add these before finishing the base tree and branches because it is hard to paint the interior with all these fiddly branches on the outer surface.  Much easier to just touch up the paint where needed.

I have two paper punches with maple leaf shapes, and they are comparable in size to the Easy Leaves.  I'll use origami paper pre-painted to coordinate with the existing leaves I've started.

It might be awhile before I post about the maple again...lots of leaf prep work to do and then the actual leaf application.  :]

9 comments

Comment from: Debora [Visitor]
Wow, the additional tiny branching makes the maple look very realistic! Awesome job :D
06/02/16 @ 20:08
Comment from: Jenny [Visitor]
Your ambition (and creativity) are impressive, lady!
06/02/16 @ 20:49
Comment from: Kat [Visitor]
Wow! And if you need maple leaves, you can punch from the real thing. Come raid my backyard tree &#59;)
06/02/16 @ 21:40
Comment from: Vivian [Visitor]
I have been following the making of your maple tree and now I will say it....you have the patience of a saint....but it'll be marvellous! All the best Vivian
06/03/16 @ 07:26
Comment from: Keli [Visitor]
NICE! The additional branches make it so much better :)
06/03/16 @ 09:46
Comment from: Betsy Rogers [Visitor]
Whew.... only 215 branches??? You ARE Amazing!!! Thank you for counting! :) I guess it makes it easier to build if you really know what will be needed in the long run! And seeing how you add the smaller branches at the tips without adding too much bulk to the main branches, makes so much sense! (I have puzzled about these steps!) This is going to be one Unbelievably Amazing tree!!! Thank you for sharing your methods so freely and clearly! I really learn SO much from you!!! :)
06/03/16 @ 19:02
Comment from: elizabeth s [Visitor]
Most Impressive even in its nakedness! :D
06/06/16 @ 10:41
Comment from: Nana [Visitor]
Wow, just found your blog and I am so amazed of you talents! Nana
06/07/16 @ 12:58
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thank you! :>> I would worry about longevity with natural leaves, though it's a neat idea! :yes:
06/18/16 @ 15:00


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