Art Decor

How to Make a DIY Fake Olive Tree for Less Than Buying

How to make an artificial olive tree for less.

If you love the look of decorative trees in your home, but don’t have a green thumb to keep real plants alive or the budget for an expensive fake store-bought version, this tutorial for a faux potted olive tree is for you!

I’ve wanted a tall plant for the basement for sometime — we do get a good
amount of daylight down there, but not enough that I could keep something

I have real fiddle leaf figs all over our house (see my
tips for taking care of fiddles here) so I wanted something different. I started searching fake olive trees
instead, but found they are pretty expensive. The best version (with good
reviews) I found was $115. 
As I was searching online, I came across tutorials for fake,
do-it-yourself olive trees. Huh. I never even considered it, but it
got my mind going. I combined tips for this faux olive tree project
from here and another tutorial (no longer online). 

This faux tree DIY was especially inexpensive because I got all of my supplies at half the cost. Look for
sales and use coupons! 

Step one: Figure out your tree trunk

I started with the “trunk” of the tree. I could have easily gone and cut a
thick branch off of a tree. I was going to do that, but then I realized how
cold and snowy it was outside. I really didn’t want to go forage
in the woods. 

So instead I check out the “dried naturals” section at the craft store. They
had actual (thin) wood trunks, which cracked me up that we can buy
part of a tree at the store. But I wanted something that looked
a little more natural and organic than just a straight branch. 

I figured those white branches on the left would be perfect: 

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The package came with three branches (for MORE olive trees obvs) and I used
the biggest one. 

I spray painted it brown…and was surprised when it looked
real! You can use any brown paint — craft paint even. 

I suggest using a matte paint finish for a more realistic look.

Step two: Attach your olive stems

I already had olive stems that I use throughout the year in our decor, so I
didn’t want to use those. Instead I grabbed
bundles of olive branches

fake olive branch bush

This is a way better bang for your buck. You’ll get a ton more stems to use
for the price, compared to the single ones. 

These also have some of the most realistic branches I’ve found. The silk long leaves help to fill it in even more and the faux olives are a realistic dark brown/purple color. 

You’ll need to cut each branch off the bundle — sometimes you can just pull down
and break them off. But a wire cutter
will make quick work of this and give you a blunt end that is helpful: 
wire cutters to cut fake branches

Then start adding the cut branches to your “tree” — this was a lot easier than I

I started with a few at the tips of the top branches. For these I attached the
olive branches with
brown floral tape. The brown blends into the tree branches really well: 

I had to really search for them after I was done to take this picture! You
won’t need much of the tape — I only added a few at the tips, but overall
those did make for a more realistic look. 

For the rest, I used a small drill bit and drilled tiny holes into the

drilling holes in DIY olive tree

Then just stick your olive branch in! No glue or tape needed. 

I did most of these at an angle so the branches would point upwards. You may
need to adjust your drill bits for the size of your branch. 

I would add a few, step back and see where it needed more, and then keep
adding. There’s no right or wrong — just depends on the look you

I also added them where the branches met for a more realistic look: 

adding branches to DIY olive tree

Also, if the tip of a branch was big enough, I drilled into those and stuck
one in there. On those I found it helpful to add a bit of the floral tape so
it blended better. 

Sometimes my drill bit went all the way through a branch — I did try to
avoid that on the thinner branches because I didn’t want to weaken them. 

you can, keep your holes shallow, just deep enough to stick the stem in.

I was a little shocked and kind of tickled with how good it looked as I was
going. I kept telling my family — “Look at my TREE!” It
actually was turning out really well! 

When I was done with the whole thing, I touched up any of the original white
branch that showed when I drilled holes. I just sprayed the spray paint on a
paper plate and used a Q-tip to apply small touch ups. 

Step three: Plant your rustic faux olive tree

When I was done I used a block of hard foam in a plastic planter and stuck the branch in

using foam in planter for fake tree

You may need to make a starter hole for the branch — don’t break it trying
to get it in! As you can see, I stuffed plastic bags into the sides to make
sure my tall olive tree wouldn’t wobble. 

soft moss on top of planters

I had that on hand, but it isn’t expensive. 

The green olive leaves are so wispy and pretty!:

real looking olive tree

It looks more realistic than a lot of the fake silk trees I’ve seen in

DIY olive tree in foyer

I was worried this DIY would be too good to be true for the price. I was so wrong!:

DIY olive tree in basket

She’s so pretty! I brought her to the entryway for better light for photos — but I
really like it here! May have to make another one. 😉 

My “trunk” has two long branches, but you can use a single trunk for tight spaces. 

Mine will stay in the basement living room for now: 

inexpensive DIY olive tree in basket

I’d like to find a bigger planter for it eventually. When it gets warmer out
I’ll make it permanent by pouring quick dry cement into whatever planter I
ended up with. 

Update! I found a really cool product that allowed me to permanently “plant” this into a pot: 

Sika expanding foam

You break the seal between the two pockets to let the product mix together and then pour it into the planter with your tree inside.

It expands within seconds (actually really cool to watch) and then sets up within minutes. 

Keep the size of your planter in in mind when pouring it in! You can cut off any excess off the top, but you don’t want it going everywhere. 

Make sure to hold your tree straight while it dries.

After it was dry, I placed the moss over the top of the foam: 

expanding foam in planter
decorative trim on gray walls

You can customize these artificial plants so many ways! Make yours a shorter tree for a tabletop display, a smaller one for tight spaces, or go even bigger and wider! 

These zero maintenance trees would be great decor for bathrooms or any other space that needs a natural touch. 

Be aware, this DIY is for indoor use only, although I think it would be fine on a covered outdoor area like a porch or patio. 

Overall my tree cost me less than $35 and the dimensions are five feet high with about a three feet width at the top. You’d spend at
least $100 to buy that size. I had the planter, paint and moss already. 

highly suggest gathering your supplies when they are on sale, but even if you
pay full price it will be cheaper than buying. 

Here’s a list of the items in one spot in case you want to try this yourself!


Would you try making one of these artificial trees instead of buying? It didn’t take me long at
all and was kind of fun. But I’m a little weird that way. 🙂 

Pin this image to save this tutorial for later: 

DIY olive tree in basket