Over the years I’ve spent as a LEGO builder I’ve built many a tree… some beautiful, some passable, and some – let’s face it – terrible. Eschewing the latter, today we’ll focus on a specific type of tree and the different techniques I’ve developed for it (taking inspiration, of course, from other builders): Palm Trees!
When it comes to beach scenes, palm trees are virtually a must. But palm trees – as you’ll notice if you google the term – come in all different shapes and sizes. Not only that, but LEGO bricks come in all different shapes and sizes, so if we just put the two together, we’ll have lots of possibilities!
There are two obvious big distinctive to palm trees: they have a jagged upward-sloping trunk texture, and they have a very unique and immediately recognizable leaf shape. Fortunately, LEGO has a couple of different options for the leaves, and that’s a great place to begin our exploration.
In this build we have a couple of pretty simple palm trees, but using both available shapes… all three, I should say, since the flat leaves come in larger and smaller sizes. For larger dioramas, where several palm trees are needed, this is an effective way to spread your pieces and still get a definite palm tree look.
But of course, there’s so much more that can be done with these leaves. Take the flatter variant for example. One great way to spiff it up a little is to add a shrub upside down between the stem and the leaves. This looks super realistic and really adds a lot of flair!
Or take a look at another variant, this time using the shrub piece, but also flipping the palm leaves to create a more bulky look. Of course, this uses up an awful lot of leaves for even just one tree!
The same basic concept can easily be used with the other style of leaves, as in this next MOC:
You’ve probably noticed something all these last three examples had in common… the prefabricated LEGO trunk. While this trunk definitely nails the look, and is also fairly easy to work with, sometimes you want a slimmer trunk, or more trees closer together, or just want to branch out a little with other techniques.
The most basic trunk technique is 1×1 round brown bricks – like so:
But the round bricks loose the repeating slope aspect of a palm tree. The obvious way to avoid that is to use the 1×1 round bricks with a slope … like on the palm tree in this creation:
Then you have to either find a way to attach the trunk to the base of the build by connecting two studs (which is becoming increasingly easier as the LEGO part arsenal expands), or resign yourself to a palm tree with the right pattern… but upside down (as above).
A parts consuming way to do the trunk is by using the newer flower mold in brown. Did I say parts consuming? I meant very parts consuming…
The brown flowers also work well in conjunction with other round parts.
Of course there are all kinds of other creative ways to do palm tree trunks, but I’ll close this section off with a closer look at that first palm tree… which uses a stack of travis bricks (bricks with studs on four sides) and dark brown cheese slopes. This is actually probably my favorite palm tree trunk, although in that color, I can’t make a very tall one!
And then, of course, there are always a few wacky things one can do with palm leaves… like building islander huts…
…or creating giant pineapples…
…or using them inside giant tropical flowers…
Fun stuff. 😉
What about you? Have you ever experimented with palm trees? What are some of your favorite techniques? Did any of these catch your eye? I’d love to hear from you below!
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