First, let me start by welcoming new reader jimduncan779. I hope you enjoy the articles. Know that posting comments is welcome, as is suggesting future topics.
I posted on the Wargaming on a Budget forum on Yahoo a link to a tutorial (scroll down) where a guy was making alien trees for his science fiction games with wooden shaker pegs and hot glue. I decided to give it a try, but with a little twist. I did not want to use the plastic flora from Michael's, but rather to use some wooden shapes that you can also buy cheaply from Michael's, called Woodsies 330ct Teardrops, Ovals, and Circles Pack by Loew-Cornell.
Let me apologize in advance for any blurriness in the photos. My workshop/man cave is unheated at the moment and we are hitting below freezing weather here in Arizona. I guess my shivering was causing more of a problem than I suspected!I started off with a shaker peg (3"+ long), a 1 ½" disc for the base, and some of the shapes that come in the package.
Generally the pack comes with three sizes of teardrop, ovals, and circles. I started by hot gluing a ring of medium-sized teardrops to the top of shaker peg.
After that I used a series of small teardrops, ovals, and circles to cover the gaps on the top. I added a second layer of medium teardrops under the first to flesh out the foliage.
Once everything is in place, I squirt a lot of hot glue into the underside of the model to bind everything together and give the whole model strength.
As for cost, the greatest expense is the shaker peg in the center. I bought a two-pack for $2.00 off of the shelf of Lowes (a DIY hardware store, for those from other countries), which is hardly the cheap route. You can get them as cheaply as $0.16 in bulk (500; $0.20 each for 100) from craft parts wholesalers on the web. If you plan on making a lot in one go, this could be pretty cheap. More to the point (for me), is that it has that "craftee" look that goes so well with my soldiers.