Green Foliage Wire Tree Sculpture in bonsai pot by Metal Bonsai MG250-5
Blog,  Educational

How long does it take to make a wire tree sculpture

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One of the most common questions I get from customers and other interested parties is how long does it take to make a wire tree sculpture. This really depends on what style of tree I am making and what size, below I will try and break it down and give some examples of size and time.

Style 1- My traditional style comprises of making a wire tree with either no foliage, like deciduous tree over winter or with my 3d foliage pattern.

Deciduous, without leaves.


Colourful wire bonsai sculpture in yellow pot
My 3d leaf pattern.

Obviously there are different sizes of tree from 2-3″ (50-80mm) which are a relatively small tree all the way up to currently 8-10″ (210-250mm). Beyond this size, different techniques need to be employed and also larger wire. I typically use a 0.3mm thick wire to allow for more texture to the tree and foliage.

Small tree


Larger tree.

With regard to times, below are a few examples of size and time.

  • Small without foliage- 5hrs
  • Small with foliage- 7hrs
  • Medium without foliage- 9hrs
  • Medium with foliage- 10 to 14hrs
  • Large without foliage- Unknown as I haven’t made that large a tree without foliage.
  • Large with foliage- 12 to 18 hrs

Style 2- Crystal or bead wire trees utilise beads between 3 and 8mm in diameter and between 3 and 1000 beads per tree.

Small Green Glass Bead Wire Tree Sculpture in Blue Pot by Metal Bonsai MG244-3
Small bead tree- 300 4mm beads.


Large bead trees- 800 beads each. (and my ugly mug!)

Regarding the time these take this is more complicated as there are a variety of leaf patterns and some take a lot longer but as a general rule of thumb, below is a rough example of times.

  • Small bead tree- 10 to 15 hrs
  • Large bead tree- 20 to 40 hours! (yes you read that right!)

A note on the large trees, there are anywhere up to 1000 beads and these need threading onto each piece of wire, which can be up to 400 pieces. This is very fiddly work which really eats up the hours.

Obviously these times and sizes are based on my current situation and I am sure in future I will be making bigger trees with more branches and many thousands of crystal beads.

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  • Daniel

    Hello very good article and amazing trees you make,very inspire, i made a 15.000 beads tree and i had the sensation i will never finish it :))

  • Delphyn

    I am making a big wire tree as my school project. With big I mean 60-80cm high. Already put in 30+ hours. And still not done, my deadline is tomorrow… I thought it was less work.

  • Metal Bonsai

    Threading beads is so time consuming isn’t it! Thanks for the compliment Natalie, your trees are also very impressive.

  • Natalie Purington

    I totally agree with your time tables. It takes me that long as well. This always surprises people until I tell them it has 400 Ft of wire and many hundreds of beads individually strung. Your work is beautiful.

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