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
$44.95
IN STOCK

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...
$9.95
IN STOCK

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...
$1.25
IN STOCK

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...
$3.95
IN STOCK

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...
$2.50
IN STOCK

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 2020-02-12 11:56:46 -0500. This page (Overview) was last updated on Feb 20, 2020.