How to Make a Treeman Using a 3D Pen




1-2 hour project

You will need:

• 3Doodler and ABS plastic

• Glue; PVA, spray glue and Super or plastic solvent

• Side cutter • Epoxy modelling putty and sculpting tools

• Paints, brushes and a paint tray

• Modelling flock (various mix of clump, lichen and foam)

• Sand

• Blue tack

• Plastic base

• Pen and paper

• And a cup of tea.

Here is a pic of the stuff I used. Don't be put off, I didn't need half of it but had it to hand, just in case.

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Step 1: Planning:

1: Draw out a plan of what you will need. All you need are the basic shapes. I would usually skip this step, but if you are just starting out, it helps a lot. I used squared paper to make it even easier.

Step 2: Making the Model:

2: Start with the legs, drawing out the shapes on the paper. With the shape drawn then add in some supports to strengthen it.

Step 3:

3: Put a small shape at the bottom of the foot to start getting the leg shape. Then draw a line up from the base of the foot to the knee, to start creating the frame. Do the same with the thigh. Clip off any excess hairs or unwanted bits.

Step 4:

4: With the frame of the leg complete you can fill it in. Make sure your lines go up and down along the length of the leg to get the texture right. Fill in as many of the gaps as you can, but don't worry if you can't, it all adds to the effect.

Step 5:

5: With the first leg done do exactly the same to the second leg.

Step 6:

6: With both legs done, draw the frame for the pelvis. Using Tack, temporarily attach the feet to the base and the pelvis to the tops of the legs to see how it all fits together.

Step 7:

7: Using the 3D-pen, attach the pelvis to the legs by welding it across.

Step 8:

8: Glue the feet to the base, and then go around the feet with the 3D-pen to bring the base into being part of the model.

Step 9:

9: With the legs done you can move on to the first few steps for the body. Bring out triangle structure frames on either side of the body to create the shoulders. Then attach these shoulders back to the body with more supports. With the frame done, attach this to the pelvis; you can use tack to start with to see how you want to position it.

Step 10:

10: Start filling out the chest. Unlike the legs, go across the chest horizontally; this will add a change to the texture and make it seem more like a chest. When doing the neck, back and lower body, change direction and go top to bottom. On the back try to go the enter length in one stroke, without stopping, as this gives the impression of long muscle-like bark/vines.

Step 11:

11: Draw out the head, add in some support shapes and fill it in so that you are happy with the shape. You can try and draw the face directly with the 3D-pen, but I prefer to do brow and cheek bone-like structures, and then sculpt the rest in with putty. It's OK if it is not perfect, it all adds to the natural look of the tree and also makes it unique.

Step 12:

12: Attach the head to the body and add in some more bulk to the neck, if needed.

Step 13:

13: Draw out two lots of the upper and lower arms as four separate pieces, add in the frame shapes, then tack it all to the body to get an idea of what position you want the arms in and to make sure that they are in proportion.

Step 14:

14: Once you have decided on a position you can then attach the upper and lower arms. With that done for both arms you can start to fill them in just like the legs.

Step 15:

15: Again, check the position of the arms on the body to make sure you are happy.

Step 16:

16: Make three small lumps on the end of the hand to start creating the finger digits. Turn over the arm and draw lines lengthways to blend them in, strengthen them and create knuckles. Then, from the tips of the stumps, draw out more lines and go over them a few times to create the rest of the finger. Do this to all the fingers and thumbs. Clip off any excess.

Step 17:

17: Then attach the arms at the shoulders by welding them on with the 3D-pen. Blend them in by following the line direction you have already done on the body.

Step 18: Branches:

18: With all the body parts made and attached you can start adding in branches, using the same techniques as with the legs and arms. Add as many or as few as you like. Less is sometimes more.

Step 19: Sculpting the Face:

19: Mix up equal parts of modelling putty to make a pea-sized blob. Then use it to sculpt a face. On this model I will create a mouth and nose and re-define the brow. Use water on your tools to help smooth the putty.

Step 20: Basing:

20: Put some PVA glue on the base and spread it over, then dip it in sand.

Step 21:

21: Leave for about an hour for the putty and glue to dry.

Step 22: Painting:

22: Use water-based acrylic paint. Keep to natural colours of browns, greens and khaki. Rather than mixing them, pick up the paints on different edges off the brush to get a nice mixed base coat. You can spray undercoat the model first if you wish.

Step 23:

23: Using a lighter tone of paint, use the side of the brush to "WET BRUSH" in some of the detail.

Step 24:

24: Add in some touches of ink mixed with a little water to break up the tone.

Step 25:

25: Do the same with a lighter tone of paint to create the highlights. Make sure you do the same to the sand on the base.

Step 26: Finishing Off the Base:

26: Add a few dabs of PVA to the base and then flock it.

Step 27: Flocking:

27: In a well-ventilated area or outside, spray the top of the model and branches with the spray glue, then place in the pot of mixed clump and lichen flock. Repeat this process as many times as you like, but 2-3 times should be fine.

Tah-dah, your Treeman is finished and ready for you to use as you wish! You can coat it with a spray varnish to protect it all if you wish. Anyway, ENJOY YOUR TREEMAN!

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    15 Discussions


    Absolutely genius !!! I was about to get that 3Doodler but really hesitated, well no more ! Thanks for sharing this !


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, another reason why I should get a 3D pen! You're treemen look great!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, these are beautiful. I imagine the 3D pen really lends itself to this sort of work. I would be very interested to see any other characters you had done with it. It is hard to imagine that one could use it for anything was smooth or human-like, but until I had seen this I couldn't imagine using one for anything at all.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I had considered that. The only way I can think of smoothing is by heating up a sculpting tool and then running it gently over the model. an idea I have been toying with, but haven't had a chance to try out.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    That is an interesting idea. Well, I am following you, so I look forward to seeing it when you try it out :-)


    4 years ago

    This is absolutely wonderful! Great job with the build, I'm very impressed. What are these tree men for? Are they for a table top game of some sort? Regardless, they're quite cool. Also, does the 3doodler pen except any ABS filament of 1.75 mm diameter or do you have to use their brand of filament? Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It can take both ABS and PLA plastics. Although it recommends that you use 3Doodle brand plastic you are not restricted to it, but then there really isn't that greater difference in price that I have found, so up to you.


    4 years ago

    Great transition from start to finish.


    4 years ago

    WHOA! Amazing execution, paired with and amazingly thorough and detailed instructable. Voted!

    The Ngineer

    4 years ago on Introduction

    that's amazing... if I got that I would either only make stick figures or use it as hot glue.....


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool! Never seen a more creative use of a 3D pen. It seems to have much more artistic potential than I thought. Congrats.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is impressive work!

    I'm not familiar with the 3D pen, although I've seen them. Is this a pretty slow process? For example, how long did it take to draw out one layer of the leg templates from step 2?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It takes a few seconds. The 3Doodler has two speeds fast and slow, but either one you use won't take very long at all. The whole project does only take maybe an hour or two to make.

    ◄ Fudog ►seamster

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If you have a Brookstone around, you can test the 3Doodler there :D