Well I recently finished a project for someone, and thought I'd show you the process. I made a tree sculpture of paper mache.
First, I created a form for the tree out of plain aluminum foil. I twisted the pieces together to get the shape of the tree and braches. I glued it to a piece of cardboard to create a base, and went at it with my paper mache. I use torn squares of pain brown kraft paper, and plain white glue thinned with water. I find tearing the pieces of paper, rather than cutting them, gives them a softer edge and helps with a smoother finshed surface. Just dip each piece in the thinned glue, and go for it.
Here is a shot of the aluminum frame half covered with paper mache.
And my supplies after a gluey wet layer has been put on.
Let each layer dry before you add another, I think I did 4 or 5 layers of paper mache for this project. Basically, keep adding layers until the whole thing is strong enough. I just gently squeezed a branch to see who strong it was getting.
Then I covered the whole thing with 2 layers of gesso. The gesso gives the whole thing a smooth surface, so you can't see the individual pieces of paper.
Unless, you'd rather have a sort of patchwork texture to the whole thing.
When the gesso was dry, I started to paint the whole thing brown.
Then of course, I needed to embellish it. My original idea was to attach paper flowers for a cherry blossom effect, but lets just say, it didn;t work out. So I rummaged around in my supplies, found some wire and beads, and voila!
Sorry about the socks in this picture, I don't know why they are there.
You can't really see them in the photo, but I strung some small amber beads onto white wire, then just started wrapping the whole thing with it. I started and finshed with the wire at the base of the tree.
The whole thing neede more stabilty, so I glued the whole thing, with some strong wood glue, to a 6 inch square wooden base. Then I covered the base with strips of white felt, in a woven pattern. I used a staple gun to attach, then glued a square of felt to the bottom to cover all the staples. This picture doesn;t show the detail of the woven pattern, rather the white is glowing, but here is the finshed piece.