Tree Trials: 7 Secrets for Deciduous Trees

Not too long ago we took a look at 8 unique ways to build LEGO palm trees, and today we’re back with seven secrets for building deciduous trees out of bricks!  These are pointers I’ve picked up over the course of my building experience.  But let me just say at the outset: there are dozens, probably hundreds, of amazing ways to build trees out there, so consider this just the tip of the iceberg!

Clicking on the following pictures will take you to Flickr, where in most cases you can see more of the same creation!

Secret #1: Start with the roots!

While this isn’t going to apply to every tree you ever build, a huge key to building gnarly trees is twisted, spreading roots crawling across the ground.  This goes especially well with an irregular or SNOT (studs-not-on-top) base.  Although you can build a good looking tree without any roots visible, they always add an extra umph!

Secret #2: Be asymmetrical!

Trees don’t grow in mirror images.  Instead, they go every which way.  So guess what?  Your LEGO tree should go every which way, too!  This is especially important to remember as you build the trunk, because that’s what’s going to determine the overall shape of your tree.

Asymmetrical trunks can be achieved just using simple, stud-up building with slopes and arches, or, they can take more complex forms.  Check out the close-ups below!

Secret #3: It doesn’t have to be huge, and it doesn’t have to take a bucket load of parts.

Trees start small, so a small tree is okay!  We all drop our jaws in awe when someone builds a massive, foot-high tree with a crown of leaves to match.  But lots of times we just need a small, simple tree – and the good news is, those trees can look great too!  This cherry tree uses only a handful of pretty simple pieces, but still hits the spot!

Secret #4: Don’t have enough slopes?  Try some sideways building.

Trees are a great place to start getting involved in the mysteries of studs-not-on-top, or SNOT, building.  After creating a four-sided pillar, it’s easy to work in texture, branches, and then leaves.  In fact, this gives even more opportunity for using other plant parts as leaves, as you can see in the next creation!

Secret #5: Branch out!

I mean, literally branch out!  Branches stick away from the trunk and give a tree its distinct poof.  Check out this droopy tree as an example:

It’s also important, as you’re building branches, to stage them at multiple levels.  This will help with an organic feel.  Take another look at this tree:

Leaves are sticking out at all different levels here, aren’t they?

One last trick when it comes to branches: angles are your friends.  Having all your branches flat – that is, perpendicular to the ground – means that you’re going to need a lot of leafy parts to get a well covered look.  But by using clips, Mixel joints, or droid arms to angle branches, you can create more of a crown with less pieces.

Secret #6: Branch out some more!

Not all trees have green leaves, and not all trees have brown trunks!  To give you an idea of the possibilities, take a look at the following birch trees!

Secret #7: Try out new stuff!

Not every table scrap is going to turn out a fantastic MOC (my-own-creation), but every table scrap has potential!  So try out new stuff and think outside the box…

…like I did for this dog house that casts a dog shadow…

…or for this arbor…

…or for this tree house.

I hope you learned something from this little overview of a few tree-building secrets!  Have you got any secrets of your own to share?  Did any tip in particular jump out at you?  Feel free to share your comments and questions below!  And remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg!  There’s so much more that can be done with LEGO trees.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll invent the next blockbuster technique!

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5 thoughts on “Tree Trials: 7 Secrets for Deciduous Trees

  1. Hildigrim Took May 24, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Yusss, I ha- very much dislike making trees! So this helps a lot, my favorite has to be the first one! 😉

    • Geneva D May 24, 2017 / 10:09 pm

      I used to hate – very much dislike… building trees too. Some of my early trees were pretty nightmarish, actually. 😛 But then I got more pieces and more practice, so now I find trees fun… most of the time!
      Thanks! The first one is one of my favorites too, though I like the second one a lot also.

      • VaderFan2187 May 28, 2017 / 11:16 pm

        Yeah I’m terrible at building trees too, haha. They’re even harder in LDD.

      • Geneva D May 29, 2017 / 9:28 am

        I imagine so! I’ve never been much of an LDD builder myself, it seems so painstaking!

  2. Lego Lessons January 14, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    Yes, trees are difficult to build with bricks!

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