Making a Tree Prop: Part Two

The 10 foot tree build began with the trunk. I was able to get most of what I needed from my local OSH Hardware.

I decided it would be 7 feet high, leaving room for another 3 feet or so of branches. I used 12 inch wide concrete form tubes. The ones in stock were only 4 feet high so I needed two (cutting one down to 3 feet high). I glued and screwed four 1x2 furring strips inside the first tube. These act as ribs reinforcing the trunk and also became where I added shelf brackets securing it to a 36 inch plywood round base. Seeing the brackets was okay since they'll eventually be hidden. At this point, I was planning to create bark texture over everything with a few coats of quick drying Fix-It-All compound (that idea changes down the line).

Some advice if you ever buy concrete tubes from the average hardware store... bring a tape measure. The labeled width size is never true. Some are dead on, some a bit larger, some a bit smaller and often impossible to find matching pairs. I wanted smaller widths allowing for the extra thickness the final texture coating would add (making it the true 12" noted on the plan that Vickie was knitting her pieces by). The next available size down was 10 inch wide, a little too small.

Having said that, one tube was the perfect size (111/4 inches), the other too wide (a hair over 12 inches). I split the larger one and cut 3/4 inches off an edge.

I needed to seam it together again along one of the furring strip ribs. Placing on top, I centered the split along one of the ribs and screwed the opposite solid side to a rib there holding it in place. To suture it up, I added thick bead of wood glue along the supporting rib and started staple gunning the seam together from the bottom up.

I discovered that the tube was warping a bit being split and the tension created squeezing the edges together for a tight fit was enough to pull the staples out as I went along. It was like some old slapstick comedy routine. I'd add one staple and two below would pop out. I'd re-staple those and one above would pop out. The glue was drying so I had to work fast before it got worse. I ended up using countless screws and a few washers.

Not my finest example of craftsmanship (the Frankenstein monster had more appealing stitches), but it did the trick and was nice and secure. Besides the scar will never be seen once finished.

Next in Part Three... making branches!


  1. great idea been looking for something like this

  2. I'm curious to know how this turned out. Were there subsequent posts that never made it up? Thanks!

  3. I've been looking for something similar also! Very helpful! Thanks :)

  4. Thanks, I need to build a couple of archway trees that meet in the middle for an entry. This looks very do able. Although I am considering adding the ribs and some of that spay fill expanding foam to hold everything nice and secure.I can't wait to pick up the supplies and get started on this project !