Create A Bonsai Tree In Minutes (Step By Step DIY)

I was at a local garden center a few days ago and I saw a young tree that had perfect form for a bonsai. I got home and started doing some research into what I could do with that tree, could I make it into a bonsai? Yes! So I have put together a step by step guide on creating your own bonsai tree (DIY).


You can create your own bonsai tree using a young tree from a nursery. After a bit of pruning, wiring, prepping and repotting, you’ll have a bonsai tree! There are some huge benefits of creating your own bonsai, rather than just buying one from a garden center. Read on for my step by step guide to creating your own bonsai in minutes…

The Benefits Of Creating Your Own Bonsai Tree

Cost – Due to the nature of caring for a bonsai tree and the time taken for it to grow, they can get quite pricey, even the younger trees! To get around paying a lot of money, you can either grow a bonsai tree from cuttings, seeds or create your own bonsai tree. Doing it this way is going to be a lot more fun and actually save you a good few years compared to the other ways. You can usually pick up a young tree from a garden center in the price range of £10-£25, making it much cheaper than paying for a bonsai tree.


Wiring/Styling – When purchasing trained trees, they’re always going to be older than a nursery stock tree. Although the age has a lot of benefits, it means that a lot of the larger branches are going to be extremely difficult or sometimes even impossible to shape how you want them. This can be really annoying, unless you happen to find a tree to buy that is exactly how you want it! These younger trees are very easy to safely wire and style however you want, within reason. Having more options when it comes to styling can lead to the creation of the most amazingly aesthetic bonsai trees as they grow older and retain the shape you have forced them into!


Fun – This can actually be quiet a fun little project and a great way to exercise your creativity without risking using a trained bonsai! Set up a table in your garden and spend a few hours really styling the tree how you want it to be grown, put a bit of care into it and you know that in a few years you’re going to have a bonsai tree completely styled by you!

Create Your Own Bonsai Tree (Step By Step)

What You’ll Need –

(I have linked some Amazon products below, should you need them for this project)
  1. Remove the tree from it’s pot, carefully. You might have to give it a wiggle around to loosen it up at first – do this whilst firmly holding the bottom of the trunk as to not snap the tree.
  2. Once out of the pot, start picking away loose soil on the top, using a pair of chopsticks. You only need the first few centimeters gone, so you can start seeing where the main roots are.
  3. Using your pruning scissors, remove any dead leaves/foliage, also removing any small dead branches at the same time. This is to reveal the structure of the tree, so you can get a better picture of how to design it.
  4. Remove the top 1/3 of the tree, using a pair of concave cutters. This is to keep everything in proportion when creating the bonsai.
  5. Now comes the creative part! With your desired design in mind, prune away foliage and small branches as you see fit, leave enough to work with though. It’s recommended to prune up to 1/3 of the foliage, not more!
  6. Once pruned, we need to start wiring the tree to be the shape you want. Push wire a centimeter deep into the soil next to the trunk, then start wrapping the wire around the trunk at a 45 degree angle. Make sure you hold the trunk firmly with your second hand, or you will snap the tree in half.
  7. Cut the excess wire at the top of the tree off. Start slowly bending the trunk to reduce the height of the tree and start adding character. Hold the trunk in multiple places and push with your thumbs to ensure you don’t snap the tree.
  8. Next, using a thinner wire, start wiring the lower branches, 2 at a time, whilst connecting that wire to the trunk as well for stability. Again, use two hands to hold and wire, so you don’t snap the branch.
  9. Move your way up to wiring the top branches also. Wire one of the top branches upwards, to create a new apex for the tree. Trim away any excess wire.
  10. Start shaping your bonsai tree, from the bottom upwards. Be gentle and use two hands on every branch to ensure they are not damaged.
  11. Now it’s time to prepare the bonsai pot. Place mesh over the drainage holes and attach them firmly using thin bonsai wire.
  12. Untangle the roots using chop sticks. Most of the soil will fall away. Using your pruning scissors, prune about 1/3 of the roots away, starting with the longest ones.
  13. Add your bonsai soil to the pot evenly.
  14. Place your tree slightly off centered, in the pot.
  15. Add more bonsai soil and push it down gently with your chopsticks to get rid of large air pockets.


Creating your own bonsai tree using a nursery plant is a great little project and can help a newer bonsai enthusiast sharpen all of the typical maintenance skills such as pruning, wiring and repotting. As the plant used in creating a bonsai is only a few years old, it can easily be shaped into the most amazing bonsai over the coming years, whereas some older trees are very hard or impossible to successfully wire. Cost wise, doing your own DIY Bonsai is very efficient compared to purchasing a trained bonsai, making it a perfect option for people short of change or a beginner that doesn’t want to fully commit to purchasing a costly tree yet!


Let me know if you give this a try, I would love to see the finished product!


The images used are from Bonsai Empires YouTube Video – How To Create A Bonsai Tree. A big thank you to them for producing such a useful video and inspiring me to try it myself.

Recent Posts