Small Scale Branches
The next step is to cut your sisal into 1/4” lengths and 1/8” lengths. Keep your piles separate. You will be using the 1/4” ones first so make a small pile of them in a piece of clean newspaper.
Cutting sisal takes awhile, not the easiest to do either. I use tin snips usually. When I'm cutting a lot of it I'll lock bolt cutters in a vise and use them.
Sisal comes in different sizes from rope to binder twine.
Stick 2 to 6 of your tree trunks into a scrap piece of styrofoam, each approximately an inch away from each other. Spray coat the top 2/3rds of the trunks with your glue. Spraying over top of your gluing newspapers.
Now, quickly move over to the sisal and this time from the side sprinkle the 1/4” sisal all over the trunks.
You may have to do this stage a couple of times to build up the bottom portion of the trees if they are larger than 6 inches. With tooth picks, (the round ones of course), once will be enough.
Try to spray the glue only where you want branches.
One at a time quickly take the coated tree trunks and holding them upside down, spin rotate them, rolling the trunk back and forth in your fingers. This will cause the branches to stick out straight from the trunk.
Stick the trees on the clean piece of foam to dry, making sure they are not touching each other.
If you are reclaiming or salvaging glue from off of your newspaper do the trunks one at a time until the glue is too thick, then go back to spaying them in groups again.
Should I mention cheap rubber gloves, you can also buy the plastic food ones, kind they use at sub sandwhich shops, for about $3 for 500 of them
After they have dried trim them with your scissors into basic tree shapes. If you are making the toothpick ones; you can leave some of them at this first stage. If you are making 4”-6” swamp spruce you will first need to use another layer of the 1/4” pieces on the lower half of the previous branches and let them dry again.
One more Time!
Now take 3 or 4 of these trimmed ones and stick them on your gluing piece of styrofoam. Again spray them with glue, try not to get any glue on the trunk portion of the tree just the newly made branches. This time sprinkle them with the 1/8” pieces of sisal and again holding them upside down, spin rotate them, rolling the trunk back and forth in your fingers. This will cause these smaller branches to stick out straight from the previous branches and trunk. Stick the trees on the clean piece of foam again to dry, making sure they are not touching each other.
Just the 1/4" sisal
With 1/8" sisal too.