Wire is an amazing sculpting tool. Whether it is being used for a model for a larger project or for the project itself, it has potential for being a really cool art piece. One of the easiest sculptures to make with wire is a tree. This will be easier for you if you are familiar with sketching trees. This knowledge will help you to better understand proportion.
Here are some important things to remember before starting wire art projects, as well as how to create a wire tree sculpture.
- What wire to use? When choosing wire, there are many things to consider. If you are going for a certain look, it is important to choose your wire accordingly. When making a smaller piece that you are hoping will have a lighter appearance, it is best to use a smaller, lighter gauge. When making something larger, obviously heavier wire will be used. Also remember if smaller wire is used on a larger sculpture, a lot more will be used up. Small craft wire can be found just about anywhere, in any craft section of a store, including all purpose stores such as Walmart, or art supply stores. They are usually found on small spools and often come in many colors. You may also note that these smaller wires may come in different gauges. The gauge depends on the thickness of the wire. If you are looking for something smaller but more pliable, you would want to choose a wire with a higher gauge. The highest is generally 20. These wires are often more bendable than others. They come in different kinds of metal--steel and copper. Copper wire will be a bit more bendable than many of the others, but it is strictly copper colored, so you'll be able to easily identify copper wire art. Depending on your choice of tree, the copper color might be interesting.
You can find large spools of heavier wire at many stores, including hardware stores. These are about the same as the smaller ones in variety, but they may not come in different colors. This is because these wires were not meant to create sculpture or crafts. Another option is a coat hanger. This is an exceptional choice for sculpting if you are going for a more rustic look. Finding a hanger that is old and used up that you can bend every which way is a great addition to the piece.
- Tools: The best tools to use when creating a tree sculpture are your hands, and a pair of needle nose pliers. When you are using the smaller wire, it is perfectly feasible to use your hands. Often, the wire will be so small that it will bend without a problem. The needle nose pliers will also come in handy for this, though. This is for the attaching of wires and bending and securing. You would also use the needle nose for the larger wire, especially if you used the coat hanger, which is especially strong and requires a lot of strength to bend.
- How to sculpt? After you have chosen your wire and have your tools handy, you are ready to start. This is a great and easy project that will help you hone your artistic skills, especially in the area of learning three-dimensional proportions.
Take the wire and create the base first, which is the trunk of the tree. There are two ways to do this and have it look wonderful. You can take the pliers or your hand and bend the wire so that the wires zigzag up and down--vertically--to create the trunk. Splay the bottom wires out slightly and flatten them out on the bottom and the tree should sit up on its own. You could also take the wire and spiral it from the bottom to the top. These techniques will both give you different, yet effective, looks.
For the leaves and top portion of the trunk, there are a few things you could do. You could either keep the wire from the trunk contoured and just continue on to create the top of the tree, or you could attach a new piece. The new piece can be attached with the pliers. It is best to pick a larger flat spot of wire that has already been sculpted and wrap the wire to be attached as tightly as possible around the existing strand. If wrapped tight enough, it should stay still without rocking back and forth.
The top will look the best if it is random. No two trees are the same. If you are creating a tree with leaves, just bend and curve the wires until the layers all look full, and the top of the tree looks to be in full bloom. Creating the top of the tree may be a bit harder to do with a coat hanger, as they do not bend as easily in a rounded fashion as smaller wires do. There is no rule, however, that the different sizes cannot be combined.
Creating sculptures out of wire is a fun project. The sculptures can often be created and then changed when the need presents itself. Whether you are creating a tree for a future project or just for fun and the sake of art, good luck!