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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need help creating some trees as inexpensively as possible, and they need to be weather proof. I'm here in the great Northwest where it rains a lot especially this month, plus we get a lot of wind at my house.

-Thank you for your help!
 

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i've been working on the same thing...

our best solution was paper mache over a chicken wire frame. kinda flimsy till you stake them down. use a coat of sealer and it'll be mostly weather proof. i gotta say im really pretty pleased with the results

very cheap to produce
 

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Creepy Trees on the Cheap

I think your best Bang for Your Creepy Tree Building Buck ( a little costlier if you have to go out and buy everything, super cheap if you hunt on the curbside) would be a combination of: old round plastic Christmas tree stand, plywood cross brace for roots and lower trunk, PVC pipe in different diameters for arterial/main branches, bendable medium/heavy wire cable for secondary branches, medium/light gauge wire for tertiary branches.

Styrofoam, plastic bags, chicken wire, cotton muslin, outdoor primers, paints, and sealers will be needed to finish the tree as desired. Pipe clamps and cable ties are required. Glue or staples will be useful.

Build roots "roughly" 3 times as wide as you plan the tree to be tall, for a 'natural' appearance, with odd number of roots. Do not use 2 or 4. Trust me, it's some mathematical principal to prevent tipping and instability.

Build a narrow plywood box to surround the dimensions of a 3 or 4 inch diameter PVC pipe. The box should be the height of 2/3rds of the PVC pipe.

The PVC pipe gets secured into the Xmas tree stand and the stand gets buried into the ground. When the stand is buried, slip the box over the pipe. Screw the root forms to the wooden box. Drill into the box and main upright PVC pipe at different angles to accommodate smaller PVC pipes. The smaller pipes will be arterial branches that can carry more weight. You can use PVC pipe cement for permanence and greater stability.

Use pipe clamps to secure wire to desired places on arterial branches. At the open ends of the pipes, make a bundle of different wire gauges in odd numbers at assorted lengths, gather approximately in the middle of this bundle, bend in half and force in to the ends of said pipes.

Take extra wire and wrap through bundle and secure across diameter of pipe opening with pipe clamp/ cable ties. Trim excess wire security ties.

Experiment until the desired "rough" form of the tree. Cover every surface in primer, on all sides. Don't skip this. Wrap chicken wire around the base to "round out the tree. Use Styrofoam to support wire form from underneath for large expanses.

Shred plastic lawn debris bags into long strips. Wrap trunk like a mummy. Paint plastic with Primer. I like adding regular Elmer's white glue as I go along in areas where branches split from one another. Upholster muslin cotton over tree and branches, saturating with primer. Let dry completely. Paint desired creepy colors, then seal with several coats of oil-based polyurethane.

You can substitute the large PVC trunk pipe for 2x2's or 2x4's clamped together, and the arterial branches with broom sticks and wooden dowels. Use finishing nails for added stability, pre-drilling is recommended. This is an excellent project to recycle the scrap pile. I prefer to use PVC because the weather here can be quite unpredictable and the PVC is less likely to snap off in the wind.

Hope your project is a success! Good luck!
 
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