01 of 06
Make a Realistic Miniature Christmas Tree
Realistic Christmas trees suitable for several scales, including common dollhouse and railway scales, can be easily made using preserved branches of lycopodium also known as prince's pine, princess pine or erica moss a sustainably harvested form of club moss available over the internet, by mail order, or through dried floral supply outlets. This tree was created from a kit available in the UK through the Cancer Foundation as a fundraiser at dolls house fairs. Trees made from lycopodium will last a long time if properly cared for. Our family just recently refurbished some used in a tabletop Santa decoration from the 1920's.
To make your tree ultra-realistic (for a model railroad or Christmas village) you can add some tiny cones as well.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Materials Needed to Make a Realistic Miniature Christmas Tree
To make a realistic miniature Christmas Tree for a dolls house, Christmas village or railroad scene you will need:
Continue to 3 of 6 below.
- Three to four clumps of preserved lycopodium moss. Try local florists, craft stores or online suppliers. This moss is also sold as erica moss in the UK, clubmoss and prince's pine or princess pine in the US.
- A basic bottle brush or bottle brush tree, four to eight inches tall. Several suppliers make these, find one with very sparse branches if possible, Lemax have a suitable one in their Christmas accessory line.
- White PVA glue
- Sharp scissors
- Tweezers (We find the bent nose ones easiest to manipulate).
- Scale terracotta plant pot, or half metal bead to act as a Christmas tree stand/base.
- Modeling clay or small piece of dry arrangement florists foam or floral putty to fill terracotta pot if used.
03 of 06
Thin Your Miniature Christmas Tree Base (If Necessary)
Begin by thinning out and shaping the brush that will form the base of the miniature Christmas tree. Your tree can be any size that will fit with your miniature scene, Christmas Village, or dolls house scale. If your brush has too many bristles the lycopodium stems will break when you try to insert them.
Brushes with fewer strands will make more open Christmas trees which are better for showing off hanging ornaments. Try to make your brush resemble the one in the photo.
Use a bit of modeling clay or scrap of dry floral arrangement foam or styrofoam to hold your brush stable while you add the greenery.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Insert Sections of Lycopodium Moss to Form Your Miniature Christmas Tree
Depending on whether you want to make a tree for a Christmas Village scene, a Christmas Railroad, or a Dollhouse, you will need a particular size of a miniature tree. Insert a single stem piece of lycopodium moss into the center of the bottle brush at the bottom of your tree to get a sense of how long your pieces of moss will need to be. You want the moss to protrude beyond the end of the bottle brush, but not so far that the tree becomes too wide at the base. Trees that are five to six feet wide in real life are normal indoor Christmas trees, try to create that diameter in scale for your miniature tree, or plan on something much larger to represent an outdoor tree.
When you think you have a suitable length, separate five or six other one or two branched segments of moss from a clump and trim them to a similar length.
Glue the branches into place. Dip the ends of the moss segments in glue and use tweezers to carefully insert them into the center of the brush, beginning at the tree base. Work all around the tree, turning the tree as you go and inserting branches so they droop down slightly (the weight of ornaments will cause them to droop a bit more after the tree is made). Try to get the branches the right length by cutting the pieces of moss at the bottom end. You will be able to trim the tree to its final shape later, but the more complete ends of moss you leave, the more realistic and less pruned your tree will look.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Finish the Shape of a Miniature Christmas Tree
Work your way around and up your tree to the top adding slightly shorter pieces of lycopodium to each layer. Try to keep your tree from becoming too dense at this stage, you can always go back and insert more pieces later to fill in.
Make sure you are inserting the lycopodium all the way to the center of the brush, and that your branches are emerging from the tree like the rays of the sun in a child's drawing, all heading out from the center.
When you get near the top of the tree, pick a strong piece of lycopodium as the tree top spire, and glue it to the top end of the brush/tree form. Then add a few smaller pieces of club moss growing upwards just below this tallest point. Real trees have branches which grow up at the top rather than out.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Trim Your Realistic Miniature Christmas Tree to Its Final Shape
Let all the glue dry before you begin the final shaping of your tree.
Use fine scissors to prune your tree lightly beginning from the base and working around your tree. You want to cut through the branch, but not the needles if you can. Some dyed lycopodium can be very brown in the center and you don't want brown edges of needles and brown stem centers showing in the same spot. If necessary, you can touch up the exposed, undyed areas with green acrylic paint.
You don't want the branches of your tree to be completely uniform, but you do want the shape to be balanced. You will get a better overall shape if you work with your tree viewable against a plain wall or sheet of paper and turn it gently as you work on it. Use the trimmings to add a few more branches into the upper parts of the tree or save them for Miniature Christmas swags, wreaths or centerpieces which can also be used with a miniature railroad or Christmas village scene.
If you have been working with your tree in a scrap piece of foam to hold it, fill a suitably sized plant pot with a bit of modeling clay, florist's clay, or florist's foam and center your tree in the base. If you are creating smaller trees you may be able to form a decorative base from a semicircular bead.