Introduction: Origami Rose Bush Bonsai 1 - the Trunk

The first phase creating an origami rose bush bonsai, preparing the trunk of the tree.

Be sure to see the other four videos that describe how to create the flowers, leaves, and thorns, and how to affix the finished tree in a bonsai pot.

Tissue Foil

Leaves, Stems, and Thorns

Origami Rose Bush Bonsai

Creating an origami bonsai is as much an exercise of creativity, as it it one of skill. Most of the actual origami that goes into a Bonsai tree -- flowers and leaves mostly -- can be found by searching the web for the many video tutorials available.

Kawasaki Rose Revisited

Kawasaki Rose Leaves


You'll need to gather a few materials, roughly in the order you'll need them:
-20 Gage copper wire (or some other soft flexible wire)
-50-100 1 inch strips of news print
-1-2 cups of paper mache glue (1:5 flour:water, Stirred briskly, brought to a boil for a minute or two, then cooled before use (add a tsp of salt to prevent mould)
-Red, green, and brown tissue foil (you'll need to make this this: tissue, heavy duty kitchen foil, white glue)
-Fine brown textured paper for the trunk of the bonsai (or some brown paint)
-Small bonsai pot
-Small piece of foam for flower arranging
-A cup or two of coloured aquarium gravel
-A small handful of sheet moss (optional)


Small pair of pliers for shaping the copper wire frame
Sharp scissors
2" paint roller
Pencil & Ruler
1 inch paint brush
Thin, blunt stick for shaping

Step 1
Find Examples of bonsai trees
Create a wireframe frame for the trunk and branches your bonsai tree.

Use a thin flexible wire. I use 20 gauge copper.

Step 2
Cut some foot long one inch strips of newsprint

Make your paper mache glue.

1 part flour
5 parts water

Bring four cups of the water to a boil. Mix the remaining cup of water with the cup of flour, and stir briskly to break up lumps. Stir the flour/water mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Bring it back to a slow boil for a few moments, or until the thickening glue is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool. Done.

Add a teaspoon of salt to prevent mold when storing the glue. Store in a refrigerator. Optionally warm the glue in a microwave oven when reused

Step 3
Apply paper mache to the wire frame.

Wrap 6 or 7 layers around the trunk base, 3 or 4layers around the mid sections of the tree, and 1 or 2 layers to the outer branches. Try to rub out as many bubbles as possible as you are going along, and shape the paper on the outer branches as cylindrical as possible during the first application of paper mache strips. It may be the last layer before the bark is applied.

Wait a day for drying, or until it dries hard.

Step 4
While you're waiting, Make flowers, leaves, stems, and thorns

The video describe how to make the roses, leaves, stems, and thorns for the the Origami Bonsai Rose Bush. There are many other possibilities for flowers and and leaves with a Google search

Apply another layer or paper mache if you want the trunk thicker. Every day or two
apply another 6 or 7 layers to the base of the trunk, and 3 or 4 to the mid section.

Step 6
...more paper mache

Step 7
...more flowers, leaves, stems, and thorns.

Step 8
Apply the bark paper to the trunk with paper mache glue.
There are lots of options for finishing the trunk. The video describes applying a fine wood-grained paper, but you could also paint the trunk, if you can't find a bark-like looking paper.

Found mine at the Paper Place:

Step 9
...more flowers, leaves, stems, and thorns

Step 10
Apply a second layer of fine brown paper to the trunk

Step 11
Affix the flowers, leaves, stems, and thorns to the trunk (white glue to keep things solidly affixed)

Step 12
Press the foam into the bonsai pot snugly and tie down the bonsai with the excess copper wire pushed through the bottom of the pot.
White glue the trunk into place after pressing it into the flower arrangement foam.

Step 13
Cover the foam with gravel, and add a little sheet moss for character.