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Making a miniature tree

July 30th, 2012

Brae Oktober, who writes a blog under the name of Otterine, is a highly creative miniaturist whose dolls’ house projects are always characterised by lots of imagination and skill.

Her latest project is a haunted farmhouse and having finished the building, she posed herself the following question:  “What’s a haunted farmhouse without a big ol’ creepy tree in the yard?”

Using a tutorial from the DVD ‘Master Miniaturists: Landscaping Primer with Diane Myrick’, Brae made her tree with floral wire and putty.

“… this was the first time I had worked with the putty and I found it to be a great material.  The binding wires around the tree still show under the putty more than I think I want them to, so I might add another thin layer once this one sets.  I do like the texture overall, though.”

Brae continues:

“I had considered carving bark texture into the putty but decided it was probably more work than it was worth.  Instead, I did a quick sanding over the main trunk with 60 grit sandpaper.  This removed the obvious smoothness and provided a nice texture.  I also cleaned up any excess putty from around the roots.”

Next the painting:

“I started with an undiluted mix of Neutral Grey and Traditional Burnt Umber… This initial dark coat of paint really brought the tree to life!

“… I did my second coat of paint with an undiluted mix of Asphaltum and Neutral Grey… with a dash of black.  It really darkened the tree too much.  I followed that with a heavily diluted wash of Traditional Burnt Umber.  It made the tree too brown.  I followed that with a heavily diluted wash of Neutral Grey and Traditional Burnt Umber (like my first coat of paint), and that seemed to set things right.  All these layered washes bring out a depth not achieved with a single application of regular paint.  On some of the bare portions, I scraped away where branches have fallen from the tree during its lifetime.  Some I made larger than others, carving out an actual hole.”

And when the job is finally finished?

“I love the texture on this tree!  I am so pleased with the results.  And, like any good haunted tree, you should be able to see faces in it.” 

You can read more about Brae’s miniature tree and other projects on her Otterine website that was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the About.com 2012 Reader’s Choice miniature awards for Best Blog on Miniatures.



One Comment to “Making a miniature tree”

  1. Thank you so much for the feature! You can find the haunted tree here: http://www.otterine.com/blog/blog1.php/the-tree-part-3.

    I’ve also been making a dogwood tree with paper punch leaves and flowers: http://www.otterine.com/blog/blog1.php/dogwood-tree-first-round-of

    Happy mini-ing, everyone! :]

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