Intro: DIY "Metal" Tree
No Photoshopping here: this tree is really, really gold and shiny.
I saw a really nice gold poster thingy at Hobby Lobby, and decided to get it, though I had no idea what I would use it for. I also got some wood dowels and skewers (apparently they're technically roasting sticks) (they're always useful) and a continuous hot-glue-gun-refill-thingy that was basically a long rope of plasticky stuff. Yay, no more refilling with individual sticks.
Um. Yeah. Then I had no idea what to do next. So I made a tree! (Why not?)
Remembering a video by Vi Hart that I watched a long, long time ago, I decided to base the tree design on phi: Fibonacci, the Golden Ratio, and all that stuff. Hint: phi makes trees look pretty. My tree also uses the number 7 quite a lot, too. Just for fun.
Anyways, here's the materials list:
- gold poster board
- sticks: dowels and/or skewers
- metallic silver duct tape
- hot glue gun, refills
- strong scissors
Step 1: Tracing Leaves
My tree's leaves are hexagonal- I could have made them a bit more realistic, but oh well.
So. Flip your poster over. Mark measurements, sketch out your leaves. I ended up wasting empty poster-space between hexagons, so plan carefully.
My tree used exactly 70 leaves. Yippee.
Step 2: Cutting Leaves
Cut, cut, cut. No explanation needed here, really.
Step 3: Taping Leaves
Option 1: Silver and Gold. Roll out some metallic tape. Press some leaves onto it. Trim excess tape.
Option 2: Gold and More Gold. Hot-glue two leaves together. Trim any uneven bits.
My tree used a combination of both types of leaves. Both options look great, but Option 2 does use up a bit more of your poster.
Step 4: Cutting Dowels
Measure about 7 inches of dowel with your ruler. Indent the dowel with your scissors. Then, snap the dowel in two. Repeat to get 7 dowels.
Beware of splinters!
Step 5: Wrapping Dowels
Measure off a little more than 7 inches of tape. Cut the tape in half, so that you have 2 thin and long strips. Wrap 1 half around each dowel.
Don't worry about wrinkles. Tree bark usually isn't smooth either.
Step 6: Attaching Leaves
Print out a picture of the angle of phi (137.5 degrees), or pull up a picture on your computer.
Draw a line of hot glue down the top of a dowel. Push a leaf into the glue. Wait for the glue to dry.
Draw another line of hot glue a little way down from the first dowel, about where the next leaf will go. Push a leaf into the hot glue. Hold the dowel up to the screen and nudge the leaf so it approximately aligns with phi's angle. Then let the leaf dry.
Repeat. 7 leaves on each of the 7 dowels.
Step 7: Wrapping Skewers
You don't really need to trim the skewer. Just wrap it with the silver tape like you did the dowels.
Step 8: Attaching Dowels
Put a blob of glue on the end of a dowel. Stick it to the skewer. Tilt it upward, but don't worry about an exact angle, as it'll sag down a bit anyway.
Wait a few seconds for it to cool down some, but before the hot glue fully dries, take a narrow strip of metallic tape and wrap it around the joint. Try not to burn your fingers! In fact, you really only should do this if you're using a less powerful, mini hot-glue gun. Otherwise, the glue will stick to the tape just fine without extra support, and you won't burn your fingers off if you do touch the tip. And be careful-- some types of metallic tape conduct heat.
Once everything is nice and dry and stable, cover up any visible hot glue with strips of tape.
Repeat for each of the 7 dowels. Use your phi picture to estimate the angles between dowels, but you've probably got the hang of it now.
Step 9: Finished
So, so shiny. Isn't it?