I recently posted a picture of a palm tree that made a few years ago on my Instagram and hot hugely positive response from it. I was even asked to make another one and decided to document the process for the DIY wild children out there.
Let me just say in advance that it is a fairly straight forward process, but takes a bit of time and patience.
Step By Step Guide
Thing you need:
1 branch for the stem of the tree
Approx. 15-20 Ostrich feathers (or similar long ones, approx. 40cm in length)
1 bag of concrete mixture
Power drill & bits
1 old bucket for mixing the concrete
1 sharp knife/ carpeting tool to take the bark of the tree stem
1 form for the concrete base of the tree
1 can of spray paint
Step #1: Cut the stem to your desired height
Use a saw to find the best height for your tree. I always look at the natural shape to decide which cut or height achieves the most natural look for your tree. Another tip, cut in a slight angle on the top part.
Step #2: Take the bark of the tree stem
Before you can skin the tree of it’s bark, it needs to be fairly dry to do so. Keep it indoors for a few days, to get rid of some moisture. After that use a sharp knife or carpeting tool to remove the bark. Make sure not to cut yourself, and always direct the knife away from your body.
After you removed all the bark from the stem, I would recommend to leave it again for 1-2 days to dry before continuing to work with it.
Step #3: Make the base for your tree
To make the base, simply mix your concrete mixture (which consists of cement and sand) with water until you reach a wet sticky dough consistency. You probably wonder why concrete for heaven’s sake! Well I choose to use it because I like the texture and look and it simply has the best qualities in terms of not letting my tree tip over.
Make sure to mix the concrete on a rug, in a well ventilated area or best outside. The concrete dust isn’t exactly healthy to breath in. Once you have achieved the desired consistency, add the mixture to you form and tree. Whilst adding the concrete, always keep an eye on that your tree is standing the way you want it too, and not too crooked.
Once your form is filled with the mixture, and the tree in the middle, shake it a little around to decrease the air bubbles within. There will always be some, but this way you can reduce the amount and therefore increase stability.
Now that the base is poured, you should wait for 2-3 days minimum, depending on the temperatures (in cold temperatures, the concrete takes much longer to cure fully), until you remove the form, to make sure your concrete is cured. You will notice that the side, where the concrete was enclosed in, is very smooth, opposite the top, where it’s rather rough. If you want a smooth look all around, you will need to build a top/ box form where all sides are enclosing the concrete.
When you take of the form, make sure to be gentle, as concrete is fragile (believe it or not).
Step #4: Work the stem & apply the spray paint
Before applying spray paint to the stem, take a bit of sandpaper and lightly sand down the stem for any loose wood chips or “hairs”. And the of you go – spray paint that baby. But make sure to do so in a well ventilated area, as the smell can be quite strong.
I for myself did not spray paint the sides of the base as I like the concrete look.
Once you have also spray painted the top of the base I would rub over it with your finger or a cloth to add a bit of interest/ visual texture.
Step #5: Add the feather leaves
For this part you will need a power drill to add holes to the stem. When I decide on the placement of the hole and their angles, I hold the feather next to my decided spot and mimic the angle with the drill. But of course nothing is perfect – but so is no tree up on closer inspection. I stared with the top crown, and added the second row in the gaps. The third row I used to fill in visual “gaps”.
This step is to check that you are happy with the distribution of colours and feathers around the tree. Nothing permanent about this yet.
Once you are happy with the look of your tree, you can start heating up your glue gun to get the feathers secured in place. Be aware that this glue is hot, so be cautious with your fingers.
Et voilà! You got yourself a very unique and fun palm tree! Let me know if you have any questions or comments with the process. Would be fun to see what you guys come up with!
Also, if you are not DIY kind of person, I have the option to make a tree for you. Contact me for quotes below.
Have fun & wonderful day!