How to Make a Fake Tree
Create a custom, beautiful, large indoor tree that requires zero maintenance and won’t cost a fortune. You can make your very own DIY fake tree for around $35. Follow these easy steps to make a DIY artificial tree that you can enjoy…no green thumb required!
This is likely one of my favorite DIY’s to date. It was relaxing and was a quick project that made a big impact. That’s a win win in my book.
Generally I like real plants and trees and have done well growing my fiddle leaf tree and other outdoor plants, but a ficus tree or an olive tree is a different story. They can be finicky and even though I would say I have a moderate green thumb I’m no expert gardener. I did purchase a real ficus tree but it did not last long and I wasted $150; plus it was not the size or shape I wanted. It would have been a long few years waiting for the tree to be exactly what I was looking for; counting on me being able to take care of it properly. So I got to thinking…”why not make my own custom faux tree?”
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Why Make a Fake Tree?
You might be asking, “why would anyone make a fake tree?” Well, it’s not totally fake; it’s actually a hybrid. A real tree with faux leaves makes this DIY fake tree look amazingly realistic. By using a real tree branch your artificial tree has a…real appearance. Sounds like common sense. As much as I love Target and Pottery Barn items everyone has them. I love decor that only I have and no one else can recreate my artificial tree.
Making a fake tree yourself is less expensive than buying a faux ficus or faux olive tree. Most fake trees start at $150 for a basic tree, but for larger trees or more high end looking trees they can cost $400-$500 easily. I created this tree for around $35 and it’s exactly what I want for my space.
The tree you create is completely custom. It can be as tall or short as you want, have a full or minimal appearance and fit a specific space in your home. The corner in our living room needed something with shape, texture and color and by selecting the right tree branch I was able to make our faux tree specifically for this corner.
This to me is the best part! This tree needs nothing from you…nothing. It’s zero maintenance which makes this a project you can do, enjoy and forget about. We have a vent in the floor in this corner which is one of the reasons my real ficus tree did not do well. With a faux tree you don’t have to water it, control temperature or lighting; it just sits there and looks great!
How To Make a Fake Tree Look Real
One thing I didn’t want is for this artificial tree to look like a craft project. I wanted it to look real as if I purchased it at a nursery or a high end boutique. It needed to look good even close up; not just in pictures on Pinterest or Instagram.
The key to making a fake tree look real:
- Use a real tree branch
- Focus on the organic shape of the branch/branches
- Ensure the branch is not too large but still sturdy
- Use quality faux leaves
- Fill in faux leaves so it looks natural and not overdone
How Do They Make Artificial Trees?
Go to the store and take a close look at an artificial tree. Artificial trees are generally made using real tree branches for the base; just like what you are going to use. All the manufacturer does is add faux tree branches or faux leaves to it by drilling small holes into the main branch and uses the wire in the faux branches to insert them into the drilled holes. That’s it. Sounds like something we can do ourselves.
Tools & Supplies to Make a DIY Fake Tree
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Strippers or Knife
- Glue Gun
- Drill with 1/16th drill bit
- Faux Leaves or Faux Leaves or Faux Leaves
- Spanish Moss
- Real Tree Branch from your yard, the park or your neighbor’s yard…
Steps to Make A Fake Tree?
Have I convinced you yet that you need to try this DIY Project? I sure hope so. The steps are simple and depending on where you purchase your branches this project can cost around $35-$50.
1. Find the Right Tree Branch/Branches
This is actually the hardest part…and it’s not even hard, but it’s imperative to find the right branch. I cut down 3 small trees in our yard (shh…don’t tell my husband) until I found the right fit. Sometimes when you see something outside you think it will work and when you put it in the space it’s not the right look.
I knew what I was going for and the overall design I wanted to achieve; this will be different for every person. One branch was all I used because I wanted a single trunk with upper branches coming off of it.
When you find the right branch play around with it in your space for the right fit and placement. This branch ensures you achieve a custom look for your tree.
2. Add Branch to a Cement Base
The tree needs to be self-standing and not prone to ever falling over. An old bucket and some quikrete is all you need to create a base for your faux tree.
This is exactly what I used:
- 2/3 Bag of Quikrete
- Little more than 1/2 Gallon of Water
Mix the Quikrete in your bucket or in a wheelbarrow and then add to your bucket. Place your branch/branches; setting it down into the wet concrete mixture. Position the branch straight and exactly how you want it to be when it’s standing on its own. Once the concrete is dry the tree will be unmovable so if it’s crooked, now is the time to get it just right.
To ensure the tree dries standing up in the concrete you will need to create some type of support to keep it upright. We used a few pieces of scrap wood and drilled them together. You can also use clamps; just ensure the tree trunk is stationary while the concrete dries.
I allowed the concrete to fully harden before I began adding the faux leaves to the branches. We left it sitting in a solitude space in our garage.
If your tree is very tall or wide you might want to mix your concrete and add your branches to your bucket inside. Once branches are set in the base it is heavy (around 30 pounds) to move and might be difficult to get through your doorway.
3. Add Branches to Your Fake Tree
This is the fun part – bringing your tree to life! There are different ways to add your branches but I’m going to show you how I did mine; you might chose to do it differently.
You will want to either purchase faux stems such as Ficus, Olive, Eucalyptus or these small leaf stems. I purchased a large faux ficus tree at the thrift store for $25 and I have enough stems to make three trees. This is the most economical route to getting a lot of faux leaf branches.
If you do purchase a used tree ensure it is in good shape, not faded, overly dirty or has leaves with odd coloring. Your finished faux tree will only look as good as the faux leaves you use.
I removed all the branches from the tree and gave the faux leaves a quick dusting. Then, removed the leaf tips of the branches and added those first to the tips of the real branches.
To ensure my tree looked real; I attached my faux branches to the tips of the real wood branches first and worked my way in to the trunk filling in with larger branches as needed.
I only added three full branches to the trunk of the tree using a tiny drill bit. You may want to add more or you may want to create your entire tree this way. I let the real wispy branches take most of the leaves so it looked as real as possible.
When you add branches to your trunk you need to drill into the trunk at an angle.
Strip your branch down to the wire at the tip and then slide it into the drilled whole. You can add a little hot glue to ensure the branch is secure.
Place your leaves where you want them first and create your entire tree design. Once you have achieved your final look go back and glue the branches in place.
I added the rest of the leaves with a hot glue gun to the tips of the branches. Depending on the tree you use and the faux branches you have will determine how you attach the leaves/branches to your tree trunk.
4. Add Finishing Touches
Now that your tree has been created you want to add the finishing touches to make it look finished and ready for your space.
I placed the tree and bucket of concrete into a larger basket to dress it up a bit. Just a plastic bucket of concrete with a pretty tree sticking out of it would not look so nice. I filled the space in the basket with plastic bags and finished the top with Spanish Moss.
The basket and the Spanish moss gives a nice finished touch to the tree and it looks great in a living room, bedroom or dining room.
How Much Does It Cost to Make a Fake Tree?
It cost me a total of $38 to make this DIY Fake Tree.
This faux ficus tree was so economical because I found such a nice fake tree at the thrift store for my stems. If you purchase individual stems it will likely cost you more. The tools we already had on hand but here is a breakdown of our final cost.
- Quickcrete – $6
- Faux Ficus Tree – $25 from thrift store
- Spanish Moss – $7
Try and use items you already have on hand to cut down on cost. The bucket, glue and scrap wood we had in our garage. The basket I used to put the cemented base pot into I purchased some time ago and it was not being used.
Best Fake Indoor Trees
You might want to purchase a faux indoor tree and that’s ok. I’ve rounded up several gorgeous faux trees that you can purchase now and enjoy. An Artificial tree adds texture, height and color to an otherwise empty space.
- Potted Ficus
- Artificial Ficus Tree
- Faux Olive Tree
- Faux Potted Olive Tree
- Fake Potted Fiddle Leaf
- Artificial Milan Leaf Tree
- Faux Eucalyptus Tree
- Artificial Olive Tree
- Faux Weeping Eucalyptus Tree
- Fake Shady Lady Tree
- Potted Faux Olive Tree
- Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree
Final Thoughts on Our DIY Fake Ficus Tree
I love this tree so much I likely will make another one for a different area of our house or our Barndominium. I can see myself making a smaller one for a corner of our bedroom to add height and texture to the space.
This DIY project was a lot of fun, was inexpensive and quickly accomplished. Would you ever make a fake tree or do you prefer to buy one already made?
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How to Make a Fake Indoor Tree
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