Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

                                                            - Treebeard the Ent

JRR Tolkien

Your best projects are certainly worth taking a very long time to build. Luckily, the genius programmers at Adafruit have taken the time to create and build the amazing Monster M4sk -- a plug-and-play TFT display "mask" that makes bringing life to your props and creatures incredibly easy.

Power it with a USB cable or battery and upload custom graphics with drag-and-drop. In just minutes, your project will wake up, blink a few times, and proceed to delight and astonish anyone who encounters it.

This tutorial goes into detail about the Monster M4sk setup process, and gives a lot of info about how I built the tree to house it. It's not a step-by-step tree-build tutorial, but it will definitely give you the tools and a road map of how to create your own tree or monster or movie prop using expanding foam and a few simple hand tools.

If you love trees, and you think there should be more of them, check out https://teamtrees.org/. All donations go directly to planting millions of trees to repopulate our planet. This is a cause worth fighting for! Before you embark on building your fake tree, let these guys help out with a few new baby real ones.

Adafruit Products Needed

Adafruit MONSTER M4SK - DIY Electronic Eyes Mask

PRODUCT ID: 4343
Peep dis! Have you always wanted to have another pair of eyes on the back of your head? Or outfit your costume with big beautiful orbs? The MONSTER M4SK

PIR (motion) sensor

PRODUCT ID: 189
PIR sensors are used to detect motion from pets/humanoids from about 20 feet away (possibly works on zombies, not guaranteed). This one has an adjustable delay before firing (approx...

STEMMA JST PH 3-Pin to Male Header Cable - 200mm

PRODUCT ID: 3893
This cable will let you turn a JST PH 3-pin cable port into 3 individual wires with high-quality 0.1" male header plugs on the end. We're carrying these to match up with our...

Fully Reversible Pink/Purple USB A to micro B Cable - 1m long

PRODUCT ID: 4111
This cable is not only super-fashionable, with a woven pink and purple Blinka-like pattern, it's also fully reversible! That's right, you will save seconds a day by...

High-strength 'rare earth' magnet

PRODUCT ID: 9
Yow! These things are super powerful. 1/2" diameter, 3/16" thick discs, south side is marked with a red line. Great for use with your SpokePOV Kit. If you have an aluminium...

Materials for Building the Foam Tree

Hardware Store

  • "Great Stuff" brand expanding foam
  • Large diameter (8"-10") cardboard tubes
  • Pool noodles or foam pipe insulation
  • 16-18ga wire
  • Latex paint in brown, black, and light grey
  • Zip ties
  • Fishing Line & eye bolts for attaching branches to the ceiling

Craft store / Online

  • Silk leaves on wire stems
  • Moss & lichen for surface decoration

Tools Needed for Building the Foam Tree

  • Keyhole saw or other rough-toothed saw blade
  • Latex gloves & plastic sheeting
  • Spray bottle for water
  • Drill
  • Large paint brushes
This guide was first published on Feb 12, 2020. It was last updated on Feb 12, 2020.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 06, 2020.