Asked on Nov 13, 2015

Ideas on How to Make Realistic Tree Bark? Artificial Christmas Tree...

by Nikki
I would like to trim the pine needles on some of the branches to look more open and realistic but I would like to first figure out a way to disguise the metal pole to look more like real bark. :)
The tree is several years old it was not cheap but is still in good shape, I have had bulbs burn out etc over the years and finally had entire sections go out on me. Last year before packing it up I cut all the lights off the prelit tree and decided I'd rather just string them and replace 1 set if that happened again. But since I have went through all of this with this tree and I figured why not attempt to recreate it into the realistic woodsy tree's I love so much? If it were possible...
  24 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 13, 2015
    This may help you.
  • Rae Rae on Nov 13, 2015
    Try some spray foam insulation, comb through it or carve to look like wood grain.paint in shades of brown and black to suggest wood
    • See 1 previous
    • Leslie D Leslie D on Nov 14, 2015
      @Nikki You're welcome. I remembered seeing this last visit to Hobby, easy solution, with nothing but a little gluing time required. Make sure to let us see it when you're finished!
  • Charro Charro on Nov 14, 2015
    Just get real bark and hot glue it to the pole. Easy peasy...
  • Victoria Larsen Stencils Victoria Larsen Stencils on Nov 14, 2015
    Wrap the desired areas of the trunk with very fine wire mesh and wire on tightly. Leave any "joints" slightly open so they can be taken apart and put back together again. Now, dip bandage gauze in very thin plaster of paris and wrap it around each piece of wire mesh., Don't worry about getting it smooth. Any bumps or ridges are just going to lend to the look of real bark. Once the plaster bandage is dry, use joint compound (pre-mixed and comes in buckets for cheap at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's for pretty cheap) and using a gloved hand and your fingers, spread it over the plaster bandage. Use your fingers or a small tool and create ridges and bumps to look like real bark. Once it dries completely, paint it brown. When that is dry, mix some dark gray paint with just a little water. Brush that over the surface of the plaster and then wipe off the excess with a dry old terry towel. Once dry, varnish with a no-gloss varnish for durability. Now your tree should look like it has real bark! I've done this many, many times on various projects and I'm pretty sure it will work just fine for your project. If you want, do a test piece first to see what I'm saying, maybe using an empty paper towel cardboard roll or something. Hope that helps!
  • User User on Nov 14, 2015 Is it right? Doesnt open....oh just saw there is an error , got it, thx
  • Rebecca Platt Rebecca Platt on Nov 14, 2015
    There is a wood grain contac paper you can get at Dollar Tree. Don't know if it would stick. Certainly the easiest way to go. Good luck.
  • Ju An Ju An on Nov 14, 2015
    Make copies of bark from Google images and wrap it around the trunk. My daughter does that with hers and it looks real!
  • Marilee H Marilee H on Nov 14, 2015
    I might skip the bark look, and just wrap the trunk with an inexpensive pine garland. Quick, and still full looking inside.
    • Julies1949 Julies1949 on Nov 14, 2015
      @Marilee H Ditto! If the greens are full enough, you can't see the trunk anyhow.
  • Tegma Tegma on Nov 14, 2015
    It's such a beautiful tree, that I don't know that I would do anything to it. But if you do and you really want the pole to look like bark, there are a number of ways to go. One is.... used brown paper bags, and stain, like people do for floors. Or, you could use real bark taken from fallen trees in the woods. Oh, you could paint the pole brown, and then add some glaze to it. Personally, I am a DIY'er who will try almost anything, but to me, this sounds like a lot of work when the tree is so wonderful just the way it is.
  • Vickie Vickie on Nov 14, 2015
    The tree is pretty as it is and actually does look like some I have seen on the side of a mountain and in the woods. But it seems you are wanting a different type of tree with openings where you can hang stuff up inside what I call the holes, which I so understand, that is my favorite kind of Christmas tree. Actually love the glass balls way up inside so the lights reflect on them, and then some of my longest ornaments in the holes, really pretty and usually can't see the pole. If it was me I would put the tree up, trim some on it in a few areas in equal, balanced amounts, then pick a medium size area add some lights and some decor and decide then if you can see the pole enough to make a difference. It is rare that I see the pole on most folks trees, there is usually enough decorations, some a whole lot of decorations, that you never see the pole and if it does show, try some of these suggestions above or just go with some darker matte (trunks aren't shiny) brown color and paint it as it most likely would just look like a real trunk once so broken up by all the colors of your decorations and changing reflections of the lights. Good luck, be sure and post some pictures of the finished tree, would love to see it when you are done!
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Nov 14, 2015
    Well just guessing here, but this could be a new use for toilet paper/paper towel rolls. the cardboard could be cut and layered to look like real bark if you are artistically inclined to make it .. you can use small bits of toilet tissue to add the look of the rough bark and paint/stain it all to match up when you finish it.. be sure to use a really good glue to glue the cardboard to the pole, regular white glue will secure the toilet paper then the paint/stain will seal it all together... I can visualize it... but dont know if Id have the patience to get it done... Just an idea.
    • DORLIS DORLIS on Nov 14, 2015
      @Buster Evans Toilet paper rolls to the rescue! I have found so many uses for them. You could wet them down and crunch them to simulate rough bark. Maybe even add some "Snow" on the raised areas to disguise them.
  • Linda T Linda T on Nov 14, 2015
    Go back a coupe of days to see the 'frosting' that someone did. I thickens up the tree enough to not see the metal Alternatively, I wrap the smallest lights you can find inside the branches so you have a glow and not poins of light. Do that first, then add the beads, tinsel and ornaments.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Nov 15, 2015
    How about using sculpy clay on the pole.. the branches would come out of the pole, so maybe the clay would work around the branches. Use a fork and shape the clay to look like the bark..paint it. I would wrap the pole in the little fairy lights...they would give a beautiful glow.
  • CKimball CKimball on Nov 15, 2015
    Use spackle and smoosh it on in a natural looking way. create the striations on the bark (use anything with a point. A skewer comes to mind). Paint it a brown. .
  • Nikki Nikki on Nov 15, 2015
    I just want to say Thank you to everyone for taking your time to help give me ideas on how to accomplish this. All of you had Great tips. I do want to add this is a very pretty tree, it is not my tree I couldn't seem to post this question without uploading a picture and since mine was still in the box I just used a google image of the first artificial tree I saw, =) I will post my tree once it is all finished. Thanks again to all of you.
  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Dec 13, 2021

    Perhaps you can use the method I used to make the trunks of these topiaries.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 30, 2023

    Use brown crepe paper or florist tape to cover anything you want to look like trunk or branches.

  • Annie Annie on Nov 30, 2023

    This video may have some helpful tips!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 02, 2023

    You could glue real bark or take apart pine cones and glue them on.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 03, 2023

    Use Brown Florist Gutter Persia tape.

  • Wrap it in crepe paper.

  • Deb K Deb K on Dec 05, 2023

    Hi Nikki, how about if you hot glue moss onto the metal pole, it will look great! or you can try this.