This month we are adding canopies to our Wylderynn trees. Since the Wylderynn is a fantastic wood, I really wanted to depart from "Realism" and take a more stylized approach. This is why I chose the bonsai trees, I wanted to continue that theme with a variety of unconventional colors. My trees would look out of place in the "Real" world.
I left the prongs on the bonsai trees, these held the plastic foliage in place. remember I saved that plastic foliage, that will be great for another project in the future! I need to build bulk in the canopy, there is a need for a scaffolding to hold the flock later on so I used Reindeer moss. You can get this at the dollar store (I've seen it at several different dollar store chains), Michaels, and Amazon (What can't you get at Amazon?). I warmed up the trusty hot glue gun and started gluing them on in big clumps. Any small clumps, I just left in the bag, these will come in handy for future projects as well.
Reindeer moss comes in a variety of colors so I grabbed green, purple, and blue to bulk out my canopies.
These canopies are coming along nicely huh? You can probably use other adhesives to do this but hot glue gives instant results and bonds nicely.
You could call it done here if you really wanted to. They look fine as they are, but I wanted to flock them up further, really bring out the colors and sell the landscape. But there's one problem, where does one get blue and purple flocking? I scoured the internet but could only find coarse foam flocking. This would be fine if I was doing pine trees, I like the way the coarse flocking looks on pine trees but for deciduous trees, fine flocking really does the job nicely.
What's a DM to do? Make your own! Back to the interwebs I went to some of my favorite Youtube crafters. Luke at Geek Gaming, Jeremy at Blackmagic Craft, Wyloch, and of course the Craft Father himself DM Scotty. Luke had a nice video on making your own fine flocking using saw dust. I had no saw dust, but, I had white woodland scenics snow flocking! My search was over.
All you need is craft paint, cheap craft paint of the color you want, the snow flocking (Or sawdust) and some water. It's simple, mix your craft paint and water until you have a runny mixture. Add that to your desired amount of snow flocking (Or sawdust) and give it a good mix until it is the desired color. Too sticky? Add more water. Too thin? Add more snow flocking (Or sawdust). Color is too weak? Add more paint. It's really more of an art than a science. This is something you do by feel and not exact formulas. Once mixed, spread it out evenly and in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and let it dry for a few days. Come back every now and again and give it a mix. If you are using sawdust, sift it through a strainer. You'll get fine and coarse flocking this way.
PRO TIP - Get your cookie sheets, mixing bowl, and sieve at the dollar store. This will keep you out of the dog house.
Now it's time to flock your trees.
Here's my snow birch, it's a tree indigenous to the Wylderynn. It is named such for it's white bark and white leaves, when the leaves fall, it looks like it's snowing. I used batting for the canopy (Teddy bear guts). Notice how the base isn't flocked? When I did the other trees I flocked the base first then flocked the canopy. Not a great idea, you'll see why.
You're going to need a can of Super 77 or other spray adhesive.
Get something to shake your flocking over so you can catch it and put the stuff that doesn't stick to the tree back in the container. I'm using snow flocking for this tree. I wear gloves and do this step outside.
Spray your canopy really well with the adhesive. Then, shake your flocking over the canopy, give it a shake to get the loose bits off and repeat once or twice. I get the bottom too, hold your tree upside down and spray the underside and shake some flock over it. Someone always picks them up and looks underneath, it never fails. I did this three times. Don't wait for anything to dry just spray, flock, shake and repeat.
Here's the flocked tree. Looks pretty good right? You'll notice all the white flocking on the base. Off spray causes some excess flock to stick to the base, that's why I didn't flock the base first like I did on the first batch of trees. In the end, they came out fine but, you learn as you go.
You may be thinking, That's a lot of white. Yup, it is. Almost too much, but when you flock the base and place it among all the different colored trees it will be a nice contrast to all the color.
That's it for this month. Every high fantasy forest needs a tree sized mushroom or two. Next month I'm going to show you how to build one, out of foam.
No matter where you are, what language you speak, and however you celebrate have a safe and healthy holiday season with your friends and loved ones. We'll see you next time...In the Wylderynn.