Bringing the Outside Into Your Home

11 Materials
6 Hours
With the new taller ceilings that home builders are making standard in their homes these days, taller accessories are a must to help fill the space. Because I lived in many areas that were too hot to play for very long outside, I would spend a lot of time inside my home. But, since I had always loved how beautiful it was just beyond my windows, I decided to figure out a way to bring the outside into my home. I first started down in Texas. I had a two story family room there. So, I decided to put a tree in my house. I found a large brass can on ebay. I polished it up and began my plan. Traveling alongside the road I found an old dead tree that someone had decided to chop down and throw out. I put it in the back of my van and took it home. I sprayed it down with tons of bug spray and put it outside for a few days. Then scrubbed it down with lots of soapy water. After it dried, I had help from my husband to put it into the brass bucket with some quick dry cement. We braced it straight up so that it would stand up and dry thoroughly. The next step was to drill holes in the tree and make the old, dead tree into a living tree. I purchased enough artificial ficus branches to fill out the tree and began drilling holes. The branch was thick enough to drill holes all the way around it about 4-6 inches apart. I filled the holes with hot glue from my glue gun and would then put an artificial ficus branch into it. The secret to make it look like a real tree was to bend the branch to make it look like it was not so stiff and fake. (Have you ever gone into a fast food place and thought that the plants there looked really plastic or fake? It's because the artificial plants have not been worked or softened to look more real.)
You can see that this artificial tree went all the way up over the top of the entertainment center. I put artificial plants at the bottom of the tree and the top of the brass bucket. Then I wound vines around the trunk to make it look even more real. When we moved, I had to leave it behind. The moving company just didn't know what to do with it. A lucky family in the neighborhood was more than happy to receive it.  But what should you do if you don't need one that is quite so tall?
Just find another straight branch and do about the same thing with it as you did with the tree.
One more picture and then I'll explain it more thoroughly.
Can you see where the purchased tree ends? It has the bark that is a lighter color. The straight branch that I've added is a darker color. Again it is secured into the pot with cement (making it one heavy tree!), and wrapped at the bottom with other artificial plants. A vine has been wrapped around the trunks like you might see in nature. Can you see how the branches have been softened, but yet are still strong enough to have their own body to make a standing as a tree? Now. What do you do if you can't find any branches that you can treat with pesticide/insecticide and scrub down thoroughly to prevent the spread of insects in your home? I have an idea. When we lived in Chile, going out and putting branches in the back of my truck was not something I dared try. I was in a foreign country without the benefit of the fluency of Spanish. NO WAY was I going to try something tricky like this. So, we bought our branches. They were brown 8' curtain rods made of wood - already pre-treated, insect free. We purchased some smaller trees and added these curtain rods to them. Then, I brought artificial ficus branches with me from the United States and a really good super glue (quick grip by beacon) to put in the holes. My husband drilled the holes in the curtain rod at an angle, we put the super glue in the holes, and the ficus branch in next. We held the branch in for a few seconds and were on to the next hole. The trees turned out so well, that we ended up leaving them there for their use in the plant as their decorations in the waiting area. Here are some drawings as to how to drill the holes and how the original little trees would look.
This illustration helps detail extra elements of how to put together your Artificial Ficus tree. If you choose to put it together with an already purchased tree, they are usually put together with spray foam holding them in place in a basket. These can be removed and placed in your own pots with more spray foam or a quick dry cement. You can then cover that with artificial moss, or grass or plant matter. You can wrap the trunks together or individually with vines or leave them plain. The arrows are the directions at which you should aim the drill to have the best luck in placement for the super glue/hot glue and artificial ficus branches. The drill should be going into your branch/brown curtain rod at at no more than a 45 degree angle. Please do be careful with using a hot glue gun. I have a nasty scar from the first time I made these trees and the gun got stuck onto my arm with glue attached. I ripped the skin right off my arm. DOH! I know you will be much smarter!!! And, last, but not least, please, please, please, try to relax your artificial branches and plants that you use. They will look SO much better and more natural if they are not so stiff and awkward, looking as they come right from the store. You might watch for a sale, or find a site on the internet that has the branches a little cheaper - if you purchase in bulk. Maybe you can get a few people to do it with you? You really can't make a mistake because there really are some strange looking trees in nature, right? Have fun faking it until you get it made, then everyone will be in awe of your talents!!! And, know that you've made something that probably would sell for at least $100 - $250 in a store depending on how large you make it.

Suggested materials:

  • Artificial Ficus tree   (Joann's, Michael's, Walmart, etc.)
  • Artificial Ficus Branches   (Joann's, Michael's, Walmart, etc.)
  • Hot Glue Gun   (Joann's, Michael's, Walmart, etc.)
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