Thursday 22 July 2010

A sample of how to wire.

Recently quite a few of us have been wiring and making all kinds of minis, so i thought i would share how i wire.
The wire i use is mostly copper wire found in the jewellery section at hobbycraft, hobbylobby, etsy and ebay etc. I also use silver but its seems to be more readily available in copper. I look for a range of fine wire in various gauges that is mostly used for making jewellery, but i do use thicker florist wire where i think its needed as a base.
Here's three examples of how i wire. Can you see how i make it thicker at the base of each twig. To achieve this just wrap the wire more around those areas and then continue along the length of the twig/branch.
Can you also see where the twigs are thinner at the ends? I achieve this by twisting two wires off to the end but keep one slightly longer so there is a gradual difference. It just makes it more realistic and less chunky. You can also run a really fine off this for an even more realistic look.

Once im happy with my wiring, i brush the entire surface with a light coat of pva glue (white glue) and let dry. Try to hang it or prod the base into a box to stand. If you lay it down on your work surface you end up with one side of the branch a bit flat where the glue settles.
Then give the wire another coat of pva and allow to dry.
Sometimes for large items i might do a third coat but mostly its just the two.
I then make a light brown using acrylic paints and mix with pva glue... in equal measures and paint lightly the entire surface of the wire again... allow to dry.
Sometimes i need to to a second coat of the paint and glue mix. If you can still see the copper showing through keep going until its gone.
Using the pva keeps what you have made flexible and means you can still shape and bend.
Then i just paint as desired using acrylics and a tiny dot of pva mixed in.

Please use this advice for your own work and not direct copies of my own if you are a seller yourself. I don't mind for personal use any direct copy, but if you are a seller then please no copies.
Its good to share and help each other and hope this helps a few of you that are currently trying to make items for your houses and scenes.
I have also shared this and further info with one lady that is attending a fair, she is a friend and asked for permission.

Tip on pva

Ive tried several brands of pva with wire work and find the type you buy in DIY shops dries yellow. It also stains the final coat of paint with the yellow seeping through. I would stick to white glue/pva that is suitable for children and not strong like those found in DIY shops.


  1. I started making two trees after getting a book on dioramas for Christmas but I found the author's method a bit complicated. I like your technique better. Thank you for sharing it! Clever idea to use the white glue to keep the branches flexible.

  2. I appreciate your sharing your wiring technique, Nikki! It certainly does help to know how true artisans achieve the things they achieve. I am going to give this a try.


  3. As generous as ever Nikki. Thank you for even more help and advice. I am not sure I will ever have your delicate touch but it's nice to try.

  4. I agree. I would share more about how i make minis but feel i need to protect how i go about doing so. I'd love it not to be like this because i do like teaching, but at the same time i want to kep my own style as my own.
    I often look at food artists and wonder how they achieve such realistic effects. I cant make food and wish upon wish i could learn their tricks.
    Nikki xxx

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I may try it as I'd love to make a tree. I do not sell any minis. I love the tutorials from everyone and hate that people try to steal other people's ideas for profit. Mixing glue into the paint seems quite ingenious to me;~)

  6. I'm going to have a go at this - thanks so much for sharing the method, Nikki! It's much appreciated. I suspect though that my attempts won't have your excellent craftswoman's touch :)

  7. Thank you so much Nikki! I did my book stand without any base-support (thick wire inside) and now I know why it was too flexible at the beginning :D

  8. Such a generous person you are Nikki, sharing your tips and tricks on wiring. I'm sure there are lots of people out there wanting to know how to do this. Nikki, if you ever want some lessons on making food, I'd be pleased to show you. Just wait for my fingers, to no longer resemble Pork

  9. I echo everyone else Nikki. Your a lovely generous person.

    Lorra Luffies

    Debie xxxxxxxxx

  10. Muchas gracias por compartir tu técnica de como hacer los árboles y sus ramas.
    Si necesitas algo de lo que yo hago, estare encantada de ayudarte.
    Besitos, May

    Thank you very much for sharing your technique and make the trees and their branches.
    If you need some of what I do, I'll be happy to help.
    Kisses, May

  11. Years ago, I took a class on making a Willow tree. Like most class projects, it went unfinished into a box :-)...mostly because I didn't think the technique used produced a realistic specimen. As I pulled it out recently, I see why. Big clunky wires and way too many of them. The guy had the right idea but the execution was just not quite right. This technique, while potentially using an ENORMOUS amount of wire, will result in a much more delicate version. Thanks of these days, I am going to finish that Willow... I have the perfect spot for it.

    Word Verification: thnsnaki (Thanks Nikki!)

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your method with us. I never would have thought about adding glue - but I'll give it a try.

    Greetings from Germany

  13. Wonderful Nikki.

    This is pretty much the same way I make mine. I use school glue for some and on those I want a more detailed bark I'll add molding paste on top of it. Just depends on what i am making and the size.

    You are very generous sharing xxx


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