Wire frame trees

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


5th Generation Texian
by request:

The tree is handmade from copper wire, solder, some latex filler material, paint, rubber cement and Woodland Scenics foam. It is easy but is not a quickie project. I find it best to make several at a time, over a few evenings. This is a foreground tree, not one to be planted a the back of the layout!

The Base of the Tree:
Take a 6” or so section of OO gage or larger stranded wire. This works out to be about ¼” diameter, a large tree for HO scale. The more and finer strands the better. Remove about 1” of insulation from one end and flare out a few (not all) of the strands to form a root base of sorts. (the attached pic does not have the root base) Solder the wires at this end to hold them together, let the solder wick up into the wire and under the remaining insulation. The wires remaining in the center should stay straight and will be used to “plant” it later.

The tree trunk:
Once the base has been soldered sufficiently, remove the remaining insulation. Some additional soldering may be required to hold the wires together, but the solder should not go higher “up” the tree than where the limbs will exit. The solder is just to hold them together while shaping. Pull down and separate the wire strands into 3-4 sections. Take each section and twist the wires in them together near where they separate from the main trunk. Twist them a few times and then separate each main branch into additional branches, eventually each separate wire will be a branch.

Texture and Paint
Shape and trim the limbs as you see fit, study pictures of real trees will be a big help. Once you have the final shape, fill in the gaps in between the wire strands with a latex caulk or heavy paint. The idea is to cover-up the look of stranded wire somewhat.

Once the filler material has dried, paint the “tree” a suitable color. Again, pictures of real trees will help.

Once the paint has dried, apply a slight amount of rubber cement to a few limbs and poke large tufts of Woodlands Scenics foam onto the limbs. Be sure to leave some of the limbs visible!!

Make a hole in your scenery to accept the straight base, trim and shape the “root base” as necessary to fit.

None!, just step back and enjoy! :D


Registered Member
Staff member
Thanks for posting your method Ken, I believe I'll make me a few of these trees shortly. Still have some outside work to do yet, get the old Buick ready for the winter, take the fish, pumps, filters ect. in from the pond. I have in mind a location exactly where the trees will look real good.

Cheers Willis


New Member
Ken, it looks very good and real :D
I made my trees following the same method. For foliage I use Woodland "Fine-Leaf Foliage". It needs several hours of work but it is worth.
My conifers and firs are made from wood dowels and a foliage from Silflor :)



Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.