Your source for custom-made, handcrafted Christmas village houses and churches
Written by Howard Lamey (with a little help from Paul Race)
for Big Indoor Trains™ and

Click for bigger photo.Note from Editor: Glitterhouse designer/builder Howard Lamey uses floral picks to make bare-looking trees for his villages of vintage-style cardboard structures. This is how he explained it to me.

Winter Trees from Floral Picks

Here's an easy way to use winter trees to add another layer of texture and color to your Christmas village or putz (cardboard house village). And they only cost about fifty cents each to make.

Click for bigger photo.Preparing the Picks

I use artificial flower "picks" from a craft store or dollar store. Look for picks that would have a believable branch structure when the flowers are removed. The “craft store” picks I used were on sale for 50-cents each and the “dollar store” picks were two on a card for $1.

On many picks, there are barbs on each branch tip to hold on the petals, leaves, or other trim. Pull off the petals, leaves or other trim. If the branch tips come off, too, put them back on after you've separated them from their foilage. In the picks shown at the right, it was easiest just to clip off the round balls.

On most picks, you'll also need to clip off the barbs on the branch tips. (Note: When making a "flower pick" tree for a Halloween setting, Harold leaves the barbs on. Click here to see an example of a project that included such a tree.)

Click for bigger photo.Caution! The tips of the branches will be sharp, so be careful. Remember, these are decorations, not toys for children.

Trim the excess off the bottom end of the picks to make them shorter.

Preparing the Base

Cut a piece of stiff cardboard into an oval, triangle, circle or square. Mine were cut into a free-form design with gentle curves and no sharp points.

Cut 3/4-inch long sections from a 3/4 to 1-inch diameter wooden dowel or broom handle.

White glue the dowel section to the cardboard base and staple from the back.

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Drill a hole in the dowel to fit the diameter of the floral pick. Fill the hole with white glue, insert the floral pick and let dry.

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Prime the base with flat white wall paint. You may need 2 coats since the cardboard and end grain of the dowel will soak up much of the first coat.

This photo shows two trees from this project and two Howard made earlier, from another set of floral picks.  Click for bigger photo.When the primer is dry, spray paint the trunk and branches with a “mist” of white, tan, gray, light blue, silver or gold. You can even spray them a solid color to fit in with your color scheme. Cover the white base with a rag while you spray the trunk and branches.

Coat the cardboard and wooden dowel base with white glue and sprinkle on the clear glitter.


Click for bigger photo.Remember, these still have pointy wire tips, so don't let small children play with them. But you can play with them all you want. In the photo to the right, Howard has posed them behind a different house.

How the base is finished depends on what the rest of the house looks like. If the house is set in a season other than winter, you may want to paint the base with a different colored topcoat before you attach the house and accessories.

Also, if you have a similar project you'd like to share with your fellow readers and hobbyists, we'd love to add it to our site, and we'll be sure to give you full credit for your contribution.

For other article on making scenery trees for indoor trains and towns, check out the following links.

Click to see free downloadable plans,  directions, and graphics for many inexpensive, but attractive scenery tips. For more scenery ideas, check out our Scenery Tips page.

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