A Bonsai Tree created from strands of copper wire twisted together

Upcycling Project Aesthetic – Twisted Wire Bonsai Tree

An intricate Bonsai Tree made of strands of twisted copper wire

[1] An intricate Bonsai Tree made from strands of twisted copper wire


For the Upcycling Project, I was heavily inspired by videos I have seen about people making Bonsai Trees from twisted wire. I am drawn to this process because it emulates one of the core tenets of the Zen aesthetic, “beauty in imperfection.” A tree made from wire may appear from a distance to be akin to its real-life counterpart, but upon closer inspection, one will find the simplicity of its design creates something that is not a perfect replica, but that’s not its purpose. The other core tenant of the aesthetic is  “impermanence,” and I am disrupting that concept by making a tree that will never grow old or wither with the seasons. Yet I believe I will reach this aspect of the Zen aesthetic with my state of mind, by entering a flow state during the creation of the tree. While the trunk is a fairly simple task of twisting a whole bundle of wires into the desired shape, the bundle must then be segmented off into smaller sections that form the branches of the tree. From there, each individual wire must be separated and twisted in on itself until it resembles a group of leaves. This process is then repeated a hundred-fold, and the repetitive monotony of wire-twisting will result in a very Zen-like experience. Akin to my process for painting, I plan on putting on my favorite music playlist and zoning out for hours while making this project, creating a pleasant escape from the more thought-intensive duties of my day.

A landscape of flagstone mountains I created for a project last year

[2] A landscape of flagstone mountains I created for a project last year


While the tree can be displayed by itself, I think it will only be magnified by the base I present it on. This is why I plan on combining this project with a previous scene I have created. Some time ago, I made this flagstone mountain range. While I was quite happy with the end result, I always felt that it needed something more to bring the piece to life. I plan on featuring this Bonsai Tree behind the mountain range, looming over the pieces of stone, casting a shadow upon the Zen garden sand I will place below. The finished result will resemble a traditional bonsai garden, but with the change in scale and color, I believe its perspective will be warped in a fascinating way. This falls in line with my surrealistic art style, and I am quite excited to merge these two projects together.

A bundle of telephone wire I sourced from Art Parts for $4

[3] A bundle of telephone wire I sourced from Art Parts for $4


[Featured] https://www.insider.com/making-bonsai-tree-sculptures-by-bending-metal-wire-2019-9


[1] https://www.pinterest.com/pin/774548835887878813/

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Shrey Naresh Solanki
    February 27, 2023 11:11 pm

    I like how the blog reflects your enthusiasm for the undertaking, and it is obvious that you have given consideration to how the various components of the display will work together. I think it’s a nice detail that gives the presentation of the bonsai tree depth and context in the use of the flagstone mountain range as a base. The description of your creative process and your goal to achieve a flow state while creating the tree gives the article a more individualized touch and aids in communicating your artistic vision.

    • Thanks for the kind words Shrey! I really try to incorporate a little bit of myself into all the projects I create, and I reflect that in the subject material I cover. The Zen aspect of creating this Bonsai tree was truly something I felt while making it.

  • Reed Beidleman
    February 12, 2023 8:46 pm

    I love these types of works! I made onw of these a few years ago that had internal LEDs that lit up the ends of the branch. It was such a fun project and a great candidate for an upcycle project since you can retally source wire as you have done. Your idea of adding the base it great as well. I made mine out of a rough piece of walnut that had a live edge which had a very ‘imperfect’ look but as you mentioned matches the aesthetic you have chosen nicely. I can’t wait to see the final product!

    • I love the idea of adding LEDs to the branches! That’s such a fun way to emphasize the “wire” aspect of the tree’s foundation. I’d love to see a picture of the tree that you made, I can imagine that walnut base must really tie the whole aesthetic together.

  • Cameron Sprenger
    February 12, 2023 8:34 pm

    Great use of recycled materials. I’m excited to see the final product. There are so many ways to shape this tree just like in bonsai. Finding a balance of a “perfect” natural is the true art in bonsai.

    • Something I’ve already encountered in this project is the struggle with perfectionism. I’ve had a singular wire in a bunch twisted or knotted and its taken me more time to rectify the situation than to accept the slightest miniscule flaw that it creates.

  • This is an impressive idea. I love how the zen and relaxing aesthetic comes in two stages throughout the course of this project. It first comes during the build stage when you get into this zen state of listening to music and creating. It then comes back visually as the final product portrays this zen state as a banzai tree is meant to give a relaxing feeling. Are you planning on keeping the color of the telephone wire, or are you stripping them to bare metal? Either way, the final product will look amazing. I’m excited to see how this turns out!

    • I’ve definitely entered the first stage of Zen with the process of untangling the wire mess that I purchased. There were tiny ribbons that kept the wires bundles together, but I opted to remove them because they were too chaotic compared to the intricate form of the bonsai tree. I thought about stripping the copper wire, but I quite like the colorful aesthetic it creates. It reminds me a lot of Dr. Seuss’ colorful imagination.


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