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Truncated Trees Tutorial

Truncated Trees Tutorial

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Project Blog by sotf

Recommendations: 47

About the Project

Guide for making some more easily useable tabletop trees.

This Project is Completed

Looking Through The Woods

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
1 Comment

There are many variations of this build and the natural variation of the trees caused by forming the roots and covering it with TP along with the hot glue layer means you can do a lot of them without having them be identical.

Adding in variations such as the fallen trees or the giant ones, and others still to come, and you get a very good mix that lets you have a pretty good redwood or even a more primordial forest while not having the issue of working between towering pillars that the trees would be if you did much more.

Endor to redwoods to dinosaurs to fantasy to other scifi to westerns and more, these work great for a lot of different settings and scenarios…

Beneath Absent Boughs

Tutoring 6
Skill 5
Idea 4
1 Comment
Completed Step 11Completed Step 11
Step 11

Here is where that glue gets covered up with some cheap leaf litter. For some really cheap leaf litter, find the cheapest green tea you can at the store and don’t use it for tea, but transfer it to a shaker container and just use it with glue.

Working it in over the flock also helps a lot in making it look less like “just” terrain pieces.

Completed Step 12Completed Step 12
Step 12

Now is the easiest and last step for this, water down some white glue to at least 50/50 and make sure it’s well mixed. Then you pretty much want to douse any of the flocked sections or with the leaf litter.

Once it’s covered, leave it to dry, occasionally checking to make sure it isn’t gluing itself to what you have it on to dry.

And that’s the last step…

Advancing Into The Deep Woods

Tutoring 7
Skill 3
Idea 5
1 Comment
Completed Step 5Completed Step 5
Step 5

Now you want those bases. Start with a bit of white glue on the underside of the trunks and then position them on the base, give it a few minutes to start after you position it, then use the hot glue gun again to work around the edges of the base of the trunk to bind it solidly to the actual bases you want to use.

Try to blend them together, but it’s not necessary to go overboard with it. You will end up covering most of this with basing materials.

For the larger tree, you want to first paint the interior of the tunnel and enough of the actual base that you won’t be able to easily get after attaching it. You also want to work a bit around the entrances/exits of the tunnel, the texture works well to add to the look of it actually going into it.

For the stumps, don’t attach the logs yet, you’ll glue them in place after painting and possibly after basing depending upon what you want to do.

Let it rest overnight to let the glues cure as best as possible before the next step.

Completed Step 6Completed Step 6
Step 6

Now is when you do the normal basing, I’m going with white glue before packing on some dampened sand and then shaking off anything not attached. This is due to a friend talking about having used that and it seems to work better at making a bond to the sand. If it doesn’t work that well, I’ll switch back.

Once the glue is dry for the sand, I then use some super glue to attach aquarium gravel on top and let it rest for a bit after to make sure that the glue has fully set before priming.

Completed Step 7Completed Step 7
Step 7

NOTE: From this step on, there are paints and other things that are more to match for your other terrain. There are a lot of options, I’m going to be stating what paints I’m using here, even though they aren’t specified in the list of materials.

For this I used a cheap, flat black, spray primer from Walmart. I went for an even coat, and then hit the underside of it as well. For the interior of the logs, you can then make sure you have it covered with some other flat black. Even if you don’t have a perfect match, it will work rather well for it.

You want full coverage though

Step 8

I used craft paints for the majority of the painting, it’s simply not worth it to use the model paints for something of this size.

First, I covered the wood and ground with a Coffee Bean, it’s a darker brown, and you don’t need full coverage since the black in the depths tend to work well for shading.

Then I mixed terracotta in with the coffee bean in about an equal amount of each. Using that, I hit everywhere with treebark with a heavy drybrush while the previous layer was still somewhat damp letting there be some mixes and gradiation.

While you want to go somewhat inside the logs with the drybrush, you don’t need to hit the full interior. You won’t be able to see it there.

Next I took some ivory and drybrushed the tops of the stumps and the ground. It worked rather well for a quick bit there.

Last, I took a bit of the black and cleaned up the tops of the complete tree trunks.

Then I used a bit of superglue to glue the logs in place on the stump bases, with my basing plans, this seems to be the best point to do that, but yours may be different.

After letting that cure, I sprayed it with varnish to protect the paint. It’s sitting over night now.

Completed Step 9Completed Step 9

This is the first flocking stage, it’s split up mainly because I add a bit between the steps and it takes a while for the glue to dry.

Basically cover the ground area with white glue and apply a layer of flock. I’m using a dark green.

Then with the logs, you can pick a few areas and spread a little bit of glue and add flock there for a more mossy look when we’re done with this part. If you don’t want to go any further, when it’s dry add some watered down white glue to the top of any flocked areas and let it dry to protect the flock layer, but I’ve got a few more things to add to this.

Completed Step 10Completed Step 10
Step 10

This is where you can add other things to the bases, I’m going for some ferns to match the rest of the terrain set.

They’re from the tops of some plastic palm trees where I removed the tops from and then separated the fronds. I hit them with a light drybrush of a dull green over the tops, but otherwise left them as is paint wise. I use a blob of hot glue where I want to attach the fern and then build the fern from the fronds I want to use. Don’t bother painting over the glue blob, that gets fixed in the next step.

Materials Required and First Steps

Tutoring 6
Skill 2
Idea 3
1 Comment


Toilet Paper Rolls
toilet paper
White Glue/PVA
Cereal Box card
hot glue
hot glue gun
Solid base option
Wax paper
Large box
Gravel or washers (Washers should fit inside the toilet paper roll)
Textured Paper Towel
Paint, basing materials, and anything else you want to finish them to fit in what you have.


There are other materials that pop up depending upon some variants. Many of the paints and basing materials, along with other things, are more up to those making these. You probably want to blend them into your own terrain set and boards.

The first completed steps of constructionThe first completed steps of construction
Step 1

Take your toilet paper roll and cereal box card. You want a piece of the card big enough for all of your trees to fit on, on end with enough space to work your hot glue gun around them. If you’re using washers glue them to the card spread out enough for your rolls to go over them

Use the hot glue to completely work around the end to attach it, make sure they’re positioned over the watchers if you use them.

If you’re using gravel, after the hot glue cures, pour some white glue into it followed by enough gravel to get the weight you want. Cut the around the sealed ends ends as closely as you can.

Then put a bit more glue in and crumple some toilet paper up and use the pen to ram it down into it, then more glue and more paper. Fill the entire tube.

When you have it full, take some more card and after putting some hot glue inside the tube on the crumpled TP before Flipping it and pushing it down on the card and then working glue around to seal that end as well into a closed tube that will form the core of the project. You want to trim the card as closely to the tube as you can.

For easy variants I’ve done and am doing, you can work several tubes togather while maintaining the length. This gives you a larger tree, and you can even use more of the cereal card to make a tunnel through it like the redwood tunnels. You also want to use some of the card and perhaps other rolls to reinforce the top of the tree.

Another variant is to measure the roll against the minis you want to use and judge a good height and cut it off there, cut a circle of the cereal card to that can fit into an end with a slightly lip. Attach and weigh down the main cut down tube to a sheet as normal, then use the TP to fill it to the point where you can glue and work the circle into position and seal it in place with hot glue. At the same time, use an extra roll and cut back the ends and create holes in it to work like an old, rotting, log in the end. This makes a good stump and log look for variety.

Completed step 2Completed step 2
Step 2

Start with the box, take your wax paper and get it laying flat and taped into position over a large, flat side.

Now take your tubes and use some of the white glue to coat a small part along the base of it, then take some of the TP and water to make the basic shapes for the root structures, you want 4-5 per tree. Then use a bit more glue and work layers of the paper over the basic structure and the remaining portions of the tp tube.

Then take the paper towel, cut it down to be just a bit larger than the top of the tube, coat the top in glue and pull it over the top. Part of this is to have a consistent look that will imply that the tree continues upwards from there when this is done. It seems to work well for me with ones I have done that the top is not playable area and more.

After that, it’s back to the TP to try creating a defined line around the top edge, the top should always have the paper towel visible though. Water and white glue works well in making it work. and getting full coverage.

When it’s done, take more white glue and give the top a heavy layer of it. This is something that will be repeated a few times to harden it a lot more since, unlike the rest, there isn’t much more to do to that part other than more glue to reinforce it until painting.

Water down some white glue and brush it over the tp.

For the larger tree, you want more roots and to cover the interior of the tunnel if you made one.

For the stumps, skip the paper towel and cover it with TP. You still want to cover the top in glue to strengthen it since this would be a playable area. Also just use the TP, glue, and water to cover the exterior of the cut up rolls. When you finish make sure it’s held in a position where the damp cardboard won’t collapse.

Step 3

No pictures of this step, but it is important.

While it’s drying, make sure you occasionally move them or they can still stick, even to wax paper. Just wait for the next day to do so when you wake up and again when you go to bed if it hasn’t fully dried.

Completed Step 4Completed Step 4
Step 4

Now comes the most tedious part of this when it finishes drying.

Get your hot glue gun, start by running a thick bead of glue around the upper rim of the trunks. Having it rise slightly with a rougher look above is fine, but try to just get the boarder between the top and sides completely covered.

Then in an up/down motion, work around the trunk and roots to cover them with the hot glue and keep going into it to create the more vertical bark texture. You want it to look like it goes from the top of the tree down towards the base, you can split it up and work in shifts and other bits to it as you go. Do this in sections and let it completely cure from time to time in order to protect your fingers and the texture. You don’t need to do anything to the underside, it’s actually better not to.

For the larger tree variant, make sure the interior of the tunnel is also textured this way.

For the stumps, you want to work over the rim of it so that the bit above the flat part is covered as well. For the center of the trunk you want to quickly cover it in a layer of glue and, then, while it’s still molten, start in the center with the hot gun but not pulling the trigger, create a quick, tight spiral out from the center. It tends to end up looking better than actually making tree rings due to how hard it is to not mess up the rings in the limited time before the glue starts solidifying.

For the logs, you want to start at the ends and around any cutouts you have, you really want to work glue around those edges to reinforce them along with adding texture, then cover as much of the interior as you can, followed by finishing the exterior. Try for the same kind of texture as used for the trunks.

All of this takes time to do, take some breaks to let the glue cure off and on. You want that to keep from messing with your finished work and from getting the glue on fingers which is painful.

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