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I was going to make some 1:6 scale trees tonight, but I realized that I should fully plan out my steps and make sure I have the correct tools before jumping in.
  1. Pick up sticks. I went to the woods across the parking lot on a dry day and picked out six sticks [say that five times fast!] of varying circumferences, colors and species. I looked for sticks with all their bark still firmly attached and with no signs of rot. I also looked for sticks without many branches, except toward the tops, since most trees don't tend to branch out until they're over people's heads.
  2. Decide on height. In my case, all my trees are going to be 20" high: small enough to be portable, but tall enough so that you can't see the tops in shots with a wider angle.
  3. Cut sticks to appropriate length. I started doing this with my crappy craft saw, then decided I was expending too much effort. I should be using my Dremel generic rotary tool, which means that I need to drag that sucker to a hardware store and procure something that can cut through sticks.
  4. Make sure sticks have flat ends at the bottom, but also enough roughness to provide purchase for the modeling compound. The flat ends should be mostly flat, but still rough, and there should be small notches around the bases of the sticks so that the modeling compound can get in there and add support.
  5. Sculpt modeling compound around the bases of the sticks to help them stand upright. Make sure to press the modeling compound into the notches around the bases of the sticks. The modeling compound should either resemble roots or dirt. Keep it relatively smooth; texture [or the illusion thereof] will be added in the next step. Test regularly to make sure that the modeling compound provides adequate support for the sticks!
  6. Once the modeling compound dries, paint it. The color of the tree bases depends on their surroundings. Layers of color create a textured, realistic effect.
  7. Use portable miniature forest!
So it looks like this weekend I'm picking up some more sticks, just for options, getting some cutting attachments for my Dremel and using Aves Apoxie Sculpt for the first time!

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