How to Make Wire Ming Trees

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An inexpensive version of the dwarfed bonsai tree can be made with wire and beads.
An inexpensive version of the dwarfed bonsai tree can be made with wire and beads. (Image: bonsai tree image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com)

Ming trees are artificial recreations of miniature bonsai trees. Typically no more than 1 foot tall, true bonsai trees often have branches that grow flat across the top of the tree. Despite their size, they look very old, which is part of the appeal that makes them so valuable to collectors. Making your own wire Ming trees can capture some of the appeal of the real thing without costing nearly as much.

Things You'll Need

  • 70 yards of 24-gauge jewelry wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Beads (small and large)
  • Wooden base
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Dried moss
  • White glue

Creating Your Tree

Cut the wire with the wire-cutters into workable pieces about 15 inches long. Prepare about 110 pieces for a thick tree.

Pass one end of the wire through three small beads or one large one. Repeat this process for each strip of wire. Center the beads at a mid-point on the wire. Bring the ends of the wires together and twist just below the beads to secure them. Keep twisting the wire for about 1/2 inch below the beads.

Wire ming tree colors can be as varied as the many beads that are available.
Wire ming tree colors can be as varied as the many beads that are available. (Image: multi-coloured beads, background from beads image by 26kot from Fotolia.com)

Twist two beaded wires together just below the first twist you made to secure the beads on the first wire you prepared. Make this twist about 1/2 inch long. This is your first branch.

Make another branch by twisting together two more beaded wires. Add this to the first set of beaded wires and attach in the same way by twisting them around just below where the last two wires connect. Make longer twists as you move toward the ends of the wire. Repeat this procedure until you have eight branches, each with one to three beads, depending upon what size you are using.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 to create two more clusters of eight branches each. Twist these all together to form the trunk. Leave at least 2 inches of wire at the ends to form the roots.

Unravel the ends of the wire and spread them out around the foot of the tree. Stand the tree on the wooden base and bend it to a position you like. Staple the roots to the base as close to the foot of the tree as possible. Glue dried moss over the roots.

Your finished wire Ming tree might look something like this.
Your finished wire Ming tree might look something like this. (Image: bonsai image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • If the tree can stand on its own, you can eliminate the base.
  • Wooden bases are available in many shapes and sizes at craft stores and in the craft sections of some department stores. Be sure your base is heavy and strong enough to hold your tree. Paint the base before you attach your tree for a different effect.
  • This is a basic set of instructions, but you can be as creative as you want by experimenting with different types and gauges of wire, different types of beads or other craft materials, and different types of bases or containers for your trees.

References

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