Today’s method for making shrubs and plants is much longer, but gives you more control over size, shape, color, and positioning.
These are the supplies I would recommend starting with. They include: E6000 glue, generic metal wire, wire cutters, brown floral tape, lots of tiny leaves (plastic or dried can work, but I used paper leaves), and tweezers.
First, I cut a few small pieces of wire to begin making an armature for the plant. I wrapped the individual wires with floral tape.
Once the single wires are wrapped, I use floral tape to wrap the wires together. I like to weave the tape around the joints in a figure 8 pattern to keep things secure.
I keep going until I have a general bush shape. My default number of branches for these are 3 bigger branches and 2 smaller ones on a single trunk. I keep them roughly the same so they look uniform when they are planted together. But this size is not definitive; you can make them as big or as small as you would like.
With the armature finished and positioned how I would like it, I use my tweezers to pick up each leaf and dab the end in the E6000 glue. Then it gets gently positioned it on the branches.
I like to put leaves at all the ends of the branches and work them down towards the center. If you point them in all different directions, it makes the bush look a lot more full than it actually is. Looking at the bush from several angles ensures that the leaves fill in evenly.
When the leaves are looking pretty full, I dab some brown acrylic paint to fill in any light spots on the floral tape. The last step is to seal whole plant gets with matte varnish. These steps are skippable, but I tend to put a lot of wear on my dioramas so I like to keep things as sturdy as possible.
That’s it! It’s tedious, but not so bad once you get into it. If you use a foam base, you can stick the trunk right in the ground and it will hold up fine. If you use a solid base, you can bend the trunk and glue it how you would like.