Lea has many great sets in her collection including the Rainforest House and Lea’s Fruit Stand. One thing that I think is missing are trees! How do you have a rainforest without trees? I came up with a fairly easy way to make palm trees that can be used with Lea’s sets or on their own.
Here are the supplies that you’ll need:
- Brown duct tape
- 2 paper towel tubes
- A 1 ½ inch dowel at least 3 inches long
- Piece of wood at least 6×6 inches
- Crayola Magic Model or other brand clay
- Fine sand
- Matte Mod Podge
- A 2” or longer screw
- Cycas Foliage (or something similar)
Tools that you will need:
- Drill bit
- Phillips screwdriver or drill bit
- Tape measure
- 2” paintbrush
To start, take one of the paper towel tubes and cut 4 slits around the edges, each about an inch long. Slide the cut end into the other tube. Use the brown duct tape to connect the two tubes, making the junction solid.
Next cut a piece of duct tape at least 24 inches long. With the sticky part up, fold 1/3 of the tape over from the bottom of the long edge. Fold along the entire long edge of the tape. The fold doesn’t have to be straight; it just has to leave some sticky tape on the top.
Starting at the bottom of the tube, take the folded over tape and wind it around the tube with the folded edge down. Each wrap should overlap the one below it just a little bit. Once the tape ends, create another folded over piece of tape. Overlap the end of the pieces of tape, as well as the piece below it. Wrap the entire tube with duct tape. This is your tree trunk! Put it off to the side.
Next you need to make a base for the tree trunk. Start by drilling a pilot hole into the center of the dowel. It doesn’t have to be exactly in the center, just close. Also drill a hole in the middle of the piece of wood. Drive the screw through the piece of wood and into the dowel until the dowel is tight to the piece of wood.
I wanted the base to look more realistic, so I added Model Magic to the edges to round them off and make the base more like an island. Let the clay dry completely (a day or two). It may crack a little or come off of the wood. If it breaks off of the wood, hot glue the pieces back on to the wood. When you have the base formed the way you want it, cover it with a layer of glue, spreading it around with the paintbrush. Don’t put any glue on the dowel.
Sprinkle sand over the base, like you would with glitter, making sure it covers the entire base. Let the glue dry completely (probably a few hours or over night). Once the glue is dry, shake off the excess sand, and add another layer of the glue on top of the layer of sand, using the paintbrush. Once again sprinkle sand over all of the glue and let it dry. Once you are satisfied with the look of the sand on your base, cover it completely with Mod Podge. Make sure you get all the way to the edges so that none of the sand comes off in your living room.
Once the base is completely dry, slip the trunk onto the dowel. The trunk shouldn’t move around on the dowel much. Add the foliage to the top of the dowel; it should sit perfectly in the tube. Your tree is done. If you want you can hot glue it all together to make it permanent, or you can leave it as it is, like me, and then you can take it apart to store it. Make more than one and add a hammock. Make a whole forest to surround Lea’s house. Or use the trees to create a beach scene for your dolls. What are you going to do with your tree?
Ready to hit the beach?