Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bonehead Walmart Winter Tree Tutorial

          Every year, Walmart sells bargain trees ranging from $1-3 dollars in various sizes, intended for miniature holiday displays. They are so ubiquitous that I often take them for granted and decline buying any - this may be a mistake. Some are white and frosted - they are a tad too unnatural for my tastes. But the others are quite serviceable as is; their bases are big, robust and slightly weighted to prevent toppling. But for ease of set-up and to prevent excessive wear and tear, I like to base large portions of them. I cleared out one Walmart of its useable trees a few years ago to make this simple Winter Forest.

What follows is a 101 tutorial for their assembly:

Difficulty: Very Easy
Cost: $-Cheap
Tools: Pictured below is most everything you will need, except for the Rustoleum Textured White spray and an old paint brush.

I may be taking this for granted - that old cd's can still be acquired in any quantity. Who was arguing against pack-ratery again?

Everything pictured is cheap, and can be found in any big box craft store. The trowel came in a set of 6 of various shapes and sizes. Walmart may have much of this stuff.

First Steps: with the masking tape I covered the center hole of the CD, then in a triangular pattern, I masked out the spots where the trees themselves will be glued down. I prefer a bond between the CD itself and the tree so that's they are not merely attached to a layer of paint.

Then I sprayed it all with the Rustoleum Textured white. When that dried I took off the masks to expose the CD surface.

Using the Liquitex modeling paste and the trowel I disguised the obvious presence of tape in the center, then glued the trees down with the Zap-a-dap-a-Goo. When that dried I used the white to touch up around the bases of the trees - covering up whatever color appeared on the edges.
At this point they are done and ready for use.

Anyone who has seen new snow has seen that the surface, unless disturbed, is very smooth. I'm content to not put a whole lot of work on these as they are intended for quick mass production and to cover a lot of real estate on the table.

For gaming purposes, and unlike the other winter trees seen on this blog, these trees can be moved through and I left enough room to place figures and/or hidden markers. 
One reminder that these trees were cheap was the observation that the "snow" material pops off easily - and I can even feel it shifting under my fingers when I handle them. I will hit them with Woodland Scenics terrain cement to lock all that down to ensure years of long use.
Hopefully this is helpful to the beginner who wants quick and sturdy tree bases for their winter layouts.

Questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged - plenty more to come.

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