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How to make a wire bead tree

Crystal Wire Tree Sculpture Purple and Silver

How to make a crystal bead wire tree sculpture.

To make this wire crystal tree sculpture I went through the process of visualising the tree before even starting the assembly. In the post I will briefly go though the process of how it was made, but first the stats of the tree.

  • Height- 260mm/ 10″ tall
  • Wire- Silver coated copper wire, 0.315mm diameter. Approximately 190 meters of wire used.
  • Lilac Beads- 700 beads, 8mm diameter.
  • Base- Real driftwood

Crystal Wire Tree Sculpture Purple and Silver


Step 1- Get together the beads and wire. I use around 70cm for each strand and 3 beads per strand. Measure out the wire before you start and place the beads in a bowl so they don’t get lost everywhere!

Purple crystal bead and silver wire on hand

Step 2- Thread the beads on to the wire making a leaf type pattern. There are a wide range of patterns you can choose, this tree was made with beads in batches of 3 and then three branches added together to make a cluster of three, so 27 beads in each cluster.
Wire bead tree branching example

Step 3- Once you have your clusters it’s time to make some bigger branches, this is done by taking clusters and adding them together again. As you can see in batches of 3 again.

Wire Tree sculpture branching example

Step 4- Once you have made all your branches, you should have around 15 to 20 branches depending on how you decided on the tree design, these then need to be twisted together again and to slowly form the tree shape. Take some time looking at pictures of trees and their branching structures on the internet or in books to know how they branches out. Once you have it assembled I like to squeeze all the branches together like in the picture below to make the next step easier

Cluster of purple beads for wire tree sculpture

Step 5- Twisting the roots is a time consuming process and is hard to explain. Basically you are taking all the wires from the bottom of the tree and dividing them into batches. I tend to shoot for around 8 initial batches and then sub divide them down in half over and over again until I get to the thinness of root I desire. There are other ways to making roots that look more natural, again research on how roots spread will assist in getting the right look. Roots are rarely straight so now in the time to make them more informal.

Silver Wire Sculpture Roots

Step 6- Once you have your roots made you can then go ahead and start fanning out your branches to compose the tree. I initially just spread them out and try to get the tree balanced compositionally.
Purple Wire beads on silver wire

Step 7- Mount your tree onto the base you have chosen, the tree I made here is glued to the base for stability.

Step 8- Now I do a final styling on the tree, this means tweaking the branches so they are not straight, adding any informal look I want to the trunk, adjusting the leaf clusters so they look natural and make sure the tree looks it’s best.

Crystal Wire Tree Sculpture Purple and Silver


The final tree in all it’s glory! It turned out exactly how I expected and am very happy with the result.

This tree is for sale, please contact me for details.

So there you have it, this is the process of how I make a wire bead tree sculpture. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask.

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Large Crystal Wire Tree Sculpture

This crystal wire tree sculpture uses around 800 beads of various green colours and has 160 wires in the tree itself. This one took quite a long time to make, as 5 beads per wire is time consuming. The beads are glass and are faceted but also slightly rounded which made using them easier! I wanted to have natural looking roots and they sit on the driftwood base nicely. I am really happy with how it turned out. This will be listed on the website at some point but if you are interested, please contact me. 

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Small Wire Bonsai Tree Sculpture in White Container

This wire tree is made with 4 colours of wire, silver, rose gold, dark purple and grape purple and the wire is 0.315mm thick. There is a dramatic twist in the trunk showing off the different coloured wires and styled as a informal upright this wire tree sits in a white rectangular Walsall studio ceramics container and has a moss effect on the base. You can see there are some exposed roots to complete the sculpture.

This tree is available for purchase, please contact us for details. 

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One of a kind wire sculpture?

I find myself wondering why I don’t just “crank out” a load of wire tree sculptures and make money doing it, today I learned why.

Another talented wire tree artist has run a kickstarter campaign and within this he offered 30 low level trees for x amount of £, amount many other higher offerings. Everyone looked identical and at this point I must admit I was quite jealous. He exceeded his campaign and I am very happy for him.

This brought me to a question, can I make clone trees, can I make two identitcal trees? No, the answer is no! Even when I am producuing identical 2 trees they end up different, and I am not 100% why.

To clarify this was a twist for twist production line style creation of the two trees, I started as always with a batch of wire which I spun into a nice and simple root cluster. From there I created the trunks and stared splitting off the branches. Now even with a ruler it is impossible to make the splits the same and so the differences would eventually emerge. Once at the top of the tree I would then work back down making the foliage clumps.

There are a few factors at play here with regard to why I cannot make them the same, one of which is I use far significantly thinner wire than our example artist. My style seems to be the opposite to other wire tree artist, as is the way I do it (as above) and my foliage style (which is original as far as I am aware?!) The other may be my subconscious knowing that every tree in nature is unique, and even the same species will grow differently every time. Uniqueness.

I even intended our example to be identical, so where does that leave me? Well I am happy creating one of a kind wire tree sculptures and that is all that matters. I don’t feel the need to pursue a crowd funding campaign, and our example artist may have £25+k in the bank I am sure the creativity will slowly drain from the artist. I may be wrong but it is simply something that won’t work for me. This is not to say I don’t wish I could achieve that style of promotion myself but with the variety of the wire trees I create I couldnt produce as such a realiable result.

Anyway, below is a picture of my two “clones”, bad arnt they! Enjoy!



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What’s with the Crystal Wire Trees?

Pink Faceted Crystal Bead Wire Tree Sculpture On Wood Base by Metal Bonsai MG237-1

So this first quarter of the year I have been experimenting with crystal beads on wire trees as the foliage instead of my normal style. After being making trees for a year, and cranking out about 200 in 2016, I decided I would switch it up a little. I have made a decent amount of crystal trees and feel they look great, if a bit different to my normal.

Why do it, why not! I have evolved very quickly with my original style and re-setting back to not knowing what to do it good for the mind, if a bit frustrating at times! The crystal trees have to be built in the opposite way to my normal all wire trees. Typically the all wires trees will be built from the root up to the branches and foliage, if applicable, whereas I cannot do this with the crystals and have to build it from foliage down to the root. (which I believe is the common way to make wire trees anyway!) This presented a couple of problems for me but with the creation of a custom tool I have got over them.

I have worked with variety of crystal sizes to get a feel for them, from 3mm faceted glass, 5mm, 6mm and 8mm which is on the dark green tree. Those 8mm beads, when you have 800 of them on a huge chunk of driftwood can make for one heavy sculpture! Currently the wire I am using, 0.315mm anodised copper seems strong enough to hold the weight but as I make larger trees I feel I with either need more wire per tree or a slightly thicker gauge. I am not too keen on thicker wires because last year I hurt my hand using a 0.6mm silver wire which has left me with a clicking tendon in my left hand! However the glass faceted beads have been hard going on my fingers but they have toughened up quickly!

Enough chat, time for some images! But if you have any feedback, I would love to hear it! Thanks.

These trees are also available to purchase, just click here to see them!

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Early year experiments

So a new year and the beginning of experiments in the form of glass faceted bead trees!

It occurrd to me to give this a try after spending the whole of 2016 making wire only trees. Immediately I noticed a few things, the creation process is opposite to how I make wire only trees; wire only I go root to tip vs beads are tip/ bead to root. This caused a few issues but a new custom tool has helped the process. Also the glass beads are pretty tough on the fingers and I am only now building up calluses to help with this problem.

I think I will keep playing with this style of tree for the meantime but will certainly make some of my original style also, even just to give my fingers a rest!

Do you like these trees? I’d love to get your thoughts.


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The Wayland Dragonfly Gallery

I am very proud to announce my work is now in a new gallery, the Wayland Dragonfly Gallery in Watton, Norfolk. Susan at the gallery have been fantastic and very receptive of my work and I appreciate the opportunity to share my work within the gallery.

The Dragonfly Gallery and Visitor Centre is one of the many local attractions that make Wayland unique and distinctive. Owned and managed by the community charity  the Wayland Partnership, a not-for-profit Community Partnership, is a part of Wayland House and situated in Watton High Street.

If you manage to visit, do tell them Matthew from Metal Bonsai sent you!