Making N-Scale Model Trees - In 10 Easy Steps

by Jim Bradish

 This tutorial will cover how I make some of my N Scale Trees.

What materials you will need:

Wire cutters, X-ACTO or razor knife, Tweezers, Pliers, Soldering Iron/Solder,

Paint; Dark Brown, Black and/or Lighter Brown for highlights, Green Poly Fiber,

Course Ground Foam; Dark Green, Medium & Light Green (for spring/summer),

Clear Glue, Hair Spray- Extra hold, Piece of 12/10-gauge wire; length depends on the height of tree you need, Small finishing nail

Step 1 - Preparing the wire

Determine the height of the tree, and cut a length of wire approximately 40 scale feet tall when completed.

Then strip approximately 6 scale feet from one end of the wire.

Step 2 - Forming the base of the tree

  • Untwist the wire and fan out at a 90° angle
  • Cut the head off of the Finish nail and insert it cut side first into the center of the wire
  • Then apply solder to hold the nail in place
  • Then randomly separate wires and twist groups to form roots, then apply solder


Step 3 – Forming the Trunk

Strip remaining insulation off of wire and twist up as far as you would like the main trunk to be. Apply a solder sparingly to the trunk to keep its shape

Step 4 – Forming the Branches

Begin separating the wires in groups 2-4 depending on the number of strands in the wire. Twist the wire about ¾ of the way, leaving about ¼ of the length at the end untwisted. In some cases, if you want a larger diameter trunk you can solder on additional wires to  build up the trunk, alternately if you decide you needed a taller tree you can also solder an additional piece of wire as you work your way up the trunk.

Step 5 – Completing the Branches

  • As you complete the branches I apply a small amount of solder to hold the position you place them in. Continue working your way up the trunk separating wires and twisting the wires that will become the branches.

Step 6 – Forming the Tree

  • After all of the branches are completed, I go back to the lower section and begin bending the ends of the branches at a 90⁰ to the main branch. In my case I grouped the branches into groups of 3 so as I bent the end of the branches I formed an inverted “T” with the ends. As you bend and form the ends keep in mind the overall shape of the tree you want to achieve. At this point you can apply a dark brown paint to the trunk. 

Step 7 – Applying Poly-fiber

  • Apply a small amount of clear glue to the ends of each of branch. Then take a small amount of Poly-Fiber and stretch it over the tree, while pressing it into the glue, be sure to cover the whole tree.


 Step 8 – Applying Ground Foam

  •  After the poly-fiber is completely dry we can apply the ground foam. I begin on the underside of the tree by spraying very liberally with an Extra hold hair spray and then applying a dark green ground foam.

Step 9 – Toping Off the Tree

After you are satisfied with the underside, turn the tree over again apply additional hair spray and apply a light and/or medium green ground foam

Step 10 – Complete the Tree

  • After you are finished take a pair of scissors and trim any stray fibers to complete shaping the tree. Plant on your layout and admire….