DIY Faux Tree: how to make a realistic Faux indoor tree
Want the look of an expensive, realistic tree but don’t want to pay the price tag? Don’t like the cheap look of the fake trees that still have hefty prices of $200 or more? Ever thought of making your own? Well, I hadn’t either, until recently. Creating a DIY faux tree is a genius idea that we know you’re going to want to try.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it or pretend this project is easy. It took me two weekends to complete, partly because I had to wait longer for the cement to dry. If you don’t make your cement too wet, you could probably get it done in one weekend if you work hard. You could also make a slightly smaller tree. Our tree is not only tall but really branched out (pun intended). But it is worth it. In the end you will have a tree that is more realistic than any tree you can buy at any price. Sound enticing? Keep reading!
Supplies Needed for Your DIY Faux Tree
The good news is that the supplies are not complicated, expensive, nor hard to find.
Tools you will need:
- Pole tree trimmer or something to cut the branch.
- Handheld cement mixer or shovel or something to mix the cement.
- Wheelbarrow or some place to mix the cement.
- Utility knife
- Regular pair of scissors (for the floral tape)
- Gorilla glue
- Measuring tape
Supplies you will need from the Hardware store:
- Quick-set cement – smallest bag (approx. 50 lbs.)
- Small plastic bucket – 10-quart size. 5-10 quarts depending on the size of the tree you are making.
Supplies you will need:
- Floral stems or “leaves”: for my tree I used 30.
- Wire cutters
- Floral tape
- Quick Cement
- Utility Knife
Step 1. Getting Your Branch for Your DIY Faux Tree
Find your branch and cut it down.
What to look for in a branch:
You want to look for a branch that is as straight as possible. It should have lots of small branches or foliage at the end where you will be able to add your faux leaves. Ours is just about an inch thick. You don’t want it too big and heavy to maneuver and carry around. This size worked just perfectly.
Take into consideration the space you’ll be putting your DIY faux tree. How tall are the ceilings? Use a tape measure to be sure it will fit and look good.
- Mix your cement. We used a wheelbarrow, but you could use any appropriate size bucket. Mix according to directions.
- Once your cement is mixed, pour into your container bucket for your DIY faux tree.
- While Bill was preparing and mixing the cement, I was pruning the branch & removing all the existing foliage.
- Insert your branch into the cement all the way to the bottom (so your branch touches the bottom.)
- To secure the branch while drying in the cement, we leaned it against the bushes and then tied it against a ladder to secure so the wind wouldn’t blow it over. If you don’t have something to lean it against you could use clamps to secure it in the bucket.
- Allow cement at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly before moving and continuing with next step of the project.
Note: Our cement was very wet and needed an extra day to dry thoroughly.
Step 2. Attaching the Leaves to Your DIY Faux Tree
- In order to create a natural look, I decided to separate the leaves into smaller sections of 3.
- I used my utility knife and removed the outer layer of plastic from the bottom 3 inches. Then I was able to separate the leaves into 3 separate leaves/stems.
- I separated 25 of the 30 stems and left 5 stems in their original size.
- Start attaching leaves using the floral tape.
At this point I decided to move my “tree” into the space where it would live because I wanted to get a feel for how I wanted it to look in the space. You don’t have to do this, but it was helpful for me to know how I wanted it to look and feel in the actual space it was going to be.
Step 3: Sculpting Your DIY Faux Tree
This next phase is what I like to call the sculpting phase. You are literally creating or “sculpting” a tree. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Trees are natural and organic. But if you get stuck, go outside and look at how trees actually look. I started from the bottom with the small individually pieced branches (see below how I separated the faux stems), and I worked my way up and out.
Eventually I added the full branches with the three stems intact to create the canopy look and feel of a real tree. For me, the process took a long time because I did a lot of looking and analyzing where pieces should go. I think I could have gone quicker, but the outcome wouldn’t have looked as realistic. I took my time to create just the look I wanted.
How to Attach a Leaf Using Floral Tape
- Cut a piece of floral tape about 25” – 30” long.
- Stretch floral tape in order to activate the stickiness.
- Be careful not to stretch too tight or floral tape will rip. If it rips just start where you left off and start wrapping again.
- If the leaf still seems insecure wrap with an additional piece of floral tape until secure.
- Wrapping the stretched tape over itself makes it stick. The tape is covered in a wax adhesive that only sticks to itself.
- I had heard that it was a good idea to use gorilla glue to secure the ends just to be sure because the floral tape might not stay, but I had a lot of issues with the gorilla glue being a mess.
- Note: It’s a good idea to use clear gorilla glue, mine was white and I realized that clear would have been better.
- Floral tape is supposed to stick if wrapped and stretched and stuck to itself. If I do this again, I might opt not to use the gorilla glue and just stick with the floral tape.
- When you want to stop using the floral tape pull it taught and wrap the stretched tape over itself to make it stick. That’s it.
- If you have trouble and you see that your ends start to pop up, you can always go back and secure the ends with gorilla glue then.
- Note: Don’t worry about the dark color of the brown floral tape standing out and being seen. When you are done you can paint the tape to make it blend in, and you won’t notice it at all.
Large Leaf Sections
The last stage is when you add the full-size stems. These stems have all three sections of leaves. Be sure to add the leaf stem to a stronger, thicker branch for support.
- Once the branch broke while I was securing it. I simply secured it further down closer to the base of the stem.
- Another time I decided to add a toothpick to the “frame” of the leaf for support. I secured the toothpick along with the leaf and branch with the floral tape. This helped give the added support that was needed.
Final Stages of Your DIY Faux Tree
Continue securing your leaves until you have either used all your leaves OR your tree looks and feels full enough.
Here are some tips:
- You don’t need to cover every branch with a leaf.
- You also do not need to break off or get rid of the bare branches.
- I think it makes it look more realistic if there are some bare branches.
- Try to think of a fake tree that you have seen that has bare branches on it…. none. Right? It is a sure sign of a real tree if you leave those bare branches mixed in with your faux leaves.
Covering the Floral Tape
Not liking the dark brown color of the floral tape? Now is the time to get out your craft paint and do a little camouflage painting. My bark was basically a gray color.
I mixed black, gray, brown, and white paints together until I got the perfect shade.
I blended all the tape in until you couldn’t notice it at all.
Here is the main lesson I learned: You can make this project a lot easier and less time consuming by choosing a smaller branch. Mine was a bit overkill. The more branches and leaves you have the longer it will take you.
I think I could have had a similar effect with probably two-thirds the size. Lesson learned. If time is not an issue for you, go big like me.
But I am in LOVE. I don’t think any amount of money could buy a tree as nice as this. I still don’t have a planter that is worthy of my tree, so that is my next project.
Immediately I want to make another one. But it’s time to take a break and rest up. I’ll make a smaller tree next time. The space I want it for is smaller. Remember, you can make a huge impact, and your tree doesn’t have to be as big as mine.
Have fun with this project. And definitely send me comments about how your tree turns out and anything you learned along the way. If it’s helpful I might add the information to this post.
Ever thought of decorating with flowers? Flowers make the perfect addition to your home, especially in spring & summer. Check out our blog post all about how to decorate with flowers for more ideas.