I am looking to create a gemstone tree as a gift for someone. I think I have a good game plan ready as they do not seem too complicated, but based on the tree I already have and how I would like to design it, I don't know what steps to take.

The below image has an example of what I am looking for. The tree is made of wire, but something coats the main trunk of the tree as well as the roots, giving it a more grounded design.

Gemstone Tree Exampl,e

How should I go about doing something like this? I was thinking some form of modeling clay, but I have doubts on if it would work how I want it to. The tree I own is similar to the reference image, with the trunk being smooth and almost resin like to the touch.

  • Not really an answer, because it's not what your reference image looks like, but my niece has a gemstone/bead tree where the trunk is just the copper wires twisted together.
    – Martha
    Dec 11, 2022 at 17:42
  • @Martha Yeah, that is what is gonna be under the trunk. The function would be the same as the one that your niece has, it is just something else pasted on top of the wire.
    – The Man
    Dec 18, 2022 at 23:44

3 Answers 3


From the looks of your example image, it could be an acrylic paste or gel. Acrylics are cheap, very easy to work with, come in all colors and bond well enough with metal. One advantage is that acrylic gels or pastes stay flexible after drying, so you can still adjust the trunk slightly.


It looks to me like something that flows, probably from being warm, though there are epoxies that would flow just the right amount before setting.

The less-than-glossy finish looks almost like hot glue to me, and that's available in black. Hot glue is slightly soft at room temperature, and dents with a fingernail (though you probably can't try that test). It would be easy to test on scrap materials, which would be a good idea as it's not easy to sculpt with. Rewarming might have been used too, either with an oven or a hot air gun (or possibly even both, using the oven to soften it all and the hot air to melt it locally.

You can buy black epoxy, or black dye for clear epoxy. Most epoxies designed to be a visible finish are very glossy, runny, and set rather slowly. You probably want one with a setting time of a few minutes (but not the 1 minute epoxy glues, they're usually too runny). So this could be a black epoxy glue (example). Warmer ambient temperatures speed up setting but also make it flow more. When I've used epoxy to coat things with vertical surfaces, I've had to scoop some up at the bottom and move it to the top, early in the setting time. This makes it hard to the quantity right, and you have to stop while it's still runny enough to flow smoothly. Epoxy can't be melted to smooth, once set; any smoothing has to be mechanical and that's not going to work here. Again, test on scrap materials.

The coating is clearly quite a variable thickness, as we can see the shape of the twisted wires in the trunk, but see a thicker layer on the base. That could have been done in 2 layers. In this case it looks like a similar material has been used to even out the underside of the base. If you do this, be sure to use a jig to hold the tree steady as you cast the bottom.

  • 2
    Just to add an observation, even in the upper, vertical part of the trunk where you can see more texture of the wires, there's thick coverage and much of it is smooth. That suggests that there is a lot of wire in the trunk and it's pretty solid, creating plenty of surface for the resin to stick to. The smoothness of the surface and the shape of the flows suggests that the resin was pretty viscous. It didn't flow like water, it slowly flowed where there was wire. It slumped and flattened a bit, before hardening, but the shape and surface doesn't look like someone scooped up excess flow.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 7, 2022 at 19:29
  • This would be a lot easier to control with something meltable, like hot melt glue, than with epoxy.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 7, 2022 at 19:30
  • @fixer1234 I think you're right on both accounts, but there seems to be more flow on the base
    – Chris H
    Dec 7, 2022 at 20:43

If I were asked to replicate that design I would use copper wire to form an armature, and air dry clay to give it body. To give it that smooth effect I would either use melted wax or UV pouring resin, with a high gloss varnish over the final paint.

  • I think that would give a nicer result as well, as you can sculpt it more to your liking and add more detail and maybe some texture. Just beware that it has to be air-drying clay, as I'm not sure it's good to put the entire thing in the oven :)
    – Joachim
    Jan 13 at 20:09

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