Thursday, September 8, 2011

DIY Painted Birch Tree Wall Forest Mural

diy wall painted birch tree wall art mural gray yellow white

I’ve wanted a birch tree wall mural for so long… in case you haven’t noticed from my etsy shop, my living room d├ęcor, or my pinterest account, I’m a little obsessed with trees, branches, and woodgrain anything. So when I decided to redo my office and I knew it would be my area and I could do whatever I wanted, I determined I had to have a wall-o-trees. I did a lot of research and looked at vinyl tree decals, but I decided since I can make my own tree art with a computer then I should be able to make my own tree wall mural with paint. Here are the two pictures I used as my inspiration (the one on the left is my own art, the one on the right is a vinyl decal.)
birch tree wall painted decal aqua red bird owl
Left: Aqua Blue Forest with Red Birds by Priss Designs on etsy; Right: Wild Birch Forest with Owl Wall Decal by designedDesigner on etsy.


The only supplies you need to paint your own birch tree wall are painter’s tape (I love the 2” wide green Frogtape, I think it works so much better than the blue tape), an X-acto knife, and paint. 
frog tape x-acto martha stewart white paint painting a diy wall tree mural
Frogtape; Martha Stewart Paint; X-Acto Knife

 To begin, tape two straight-ish lines for each tree, flaring them out slightly at the bottom. Don’t push your tape too tightly onto the wall at this point. I just randomly made little groupings of trees, although looking back I wish I had done 1-2 more trees instead of having the two bigger spaces, but I couldn’t go back in and add them without it looking weird and cluttered. 
taping trees for tree wall art mural painting



Next, using your X-acto knife, cut slivers of your tape out so your tree isn’t just straight up and down. Think about a real tree and how it has knots sticking out- To begin with, I was just cutting little slivers out of short sections, but by the end I was literally running my X-acto from the very top of the tape to the bottom, weaving slightly in and out as I went down, and it ended up being much easier to remove the tape that way. If you have a brand new super sharp X-acto, you really don’t need to push hard at all on the tape, just lightly score the surface and when you pull off the cut part, it will naturally want to break at your score line. I did need to go back and re-cut parts that tried to tear at the wrong points, and I did make a couple too- deep cuts in my wall (but you can’t tell now that everything is painted), but I really think if you don’t push the tape down too hard to begin with then the tape-wall bond won’t be as strong and the tearing off part will be easier. 
taping and using knife to cut trees for painting diy wall art mural
taping and using knife to cut trees for painting diy wall art mural

No lie, the taping/cutting part probably only took me about 30 minutes. Just eyeball your trees and then go to town with your X-acto knife. 

Next, I decided I wanted a few branches to fill in the spaces between the trees, and I used my tree artwork as inspiration for my branches. Looking at my wall now (and considering the extra work it cost me- I’ll get to that later), I’m not sure I’m in love with the branches. Although someone who has seen it now that it is finished said the branches make it look more like trees (you know, for people who haven’t been lusting over tree walls for years like me, they might not immediately realize that lines on a wall are supposed to be trees). I used my tape to “draw” some rough branch shapes then used my X-acto to cut out the actual shape I wanted. You also have to cut through the part of your original tree’s tape to connect the shapes. 
creating branches for diy wall art tree mural birch trees
Making the branch shapes
creating branches for diy wall art tree mural birch trees
After cutting branches out

When you are finished with all your cutting, then go around the edge of the tape that you will be painting on and really push down on the tape, trying to adhere it as well as possible to the wall. I use a couple fingers or the heel of my palm and rub back and forth. I’ve also heard of using the bottom of a spoon to go around everything. And just on a side note, if you are doing a smaller project and really want crisp paint lines, you can use clear nail polish along the edge of the tape and let it dry, and it seals the tape line so no paint can get under the seal. I did it when I painted one tree on my niece’s wall, but a lot of trees on a big wall would need a whole lot of nail polish! 

Anyway, so now you’re ready to paint! I got my white paint from the Oops bin at Home Depot, $7 for a gallon of Martha Stewart paint, so I think it’s a pretty good deal… not sure why it was in the oops bin, it said “bright white” and the paint looked pretty bright white to me, but maybe they tinted it a little or something. 

I painted my first coat with a small paint roller and it looked like this: 
first coat of white paint on gray wall for diy wall tree painting

Not so great, I know. My husband came downstairs and said “whoa, how many coats are you gonna have to do to cover the gray?”… probably should’ve primed it, but oh well. Well, the answer is three. Three coats of paint. After using the roller for the first coat, I used a paint brush for the second two coats and it really didn’t leave paint strokes and it covered a million times better. 
third coat of white paint on gray wall for diy wall art birch tree painting

After my third coat of paint, I got to the “birch bark” part of my trees. While my tape was still in place, I just started painting lines with a smaller paint brush… some were more like long U’s, some were just straight, some were more like little sideways U’s, and I made a couple ovals that looked like knots. I just kinda free-handed it on the first tree, then took off the tape after a couple minutes to make sure I liked how it was looking before I did the rest of my trees. A couple tips from a design standpoint: I think it looks a little better if you have more “bark” on one side of all your trees (as in, left instead of right) just because there would be more shadows on one side of your tree in a forest. Also, keep in mind that you can always add more, but you can’t take away (well, I guess you could paint over some lines with your white paint again if you wanted less lines, but that would be extra work. So, I did my bark on all my trees, and then removed the tape! This is the exciting part, when you really start to see your vision coming together. 

painting birch bark cutouts on trees diy wall mural
I loved my trees… the branches, not so much. They looked all huge and wonky and I was really considering completely painting over them, but then I decided I just needed to make them skinnier. So I freehand painted around them with a smaller paintbrush. I also went back and filled in some of my “bark” with an even smaller round brush to eliminate some of my paint strokes on the ends of my lines where the paintbrush hairs left little trails. And voila! DIY painted mural birch tree wall. 
diy birch tree wall art mural painting gray yellow


Next up on my office makeover is DIY painted IKEA storage boxes with a yellow chevron pattern. Here's a sneak peak:
painting IKEA paper cardboard boxes with yellow chevron


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38 comments:

  1. Wow! This is amazing! Great job!!! :)

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries
    http://bonniegetchell.blogspot.com

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  2. I've been wanting to do this a long time....thanks for posting. I, too, confess a lust for tree artwork; however, my mural won't be complete without at least one or two small friendly little birds on a branch to add a bit of cheer and whimsy, but also I'm a bit lustful over bird art as well. :)
    Can't wait to start it.

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  3. Oh this looks very similar to what we did in my little guy's nursery, expect I used vinyl. I love your version and I would love for you to link this up at "Do Something Crafty Friday": http://vanessascraftynest.blogspot.com/2011/09/do-something-crafty-friday_09.html

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  4. Totally loving how this turned out! It's wonderful and you did a fantastic job on it!! Well done!! Thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

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  5. Wow--what a great job I am so impressed!

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  6. I love this! Such a great idea. I'd love if you'd share it at my blog hop this weekend.Hope you can join in!

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  7. I absolutely love this!! I've been wanting to do something similar but didn't want to pay a bunch for stencils or wallpaper!! Thanks for the great tutorial! I featured you on my blog today!!

    http://craptastickatie.blogspot.com/2011/09/five-feature-friday-8.html

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  8. This looks great.. I'm wanting to do a birch tree mural on my bedroom wall, but was going to use an overhead projector and transparencies. I'm thinking this is much easier. I prefer to just freehand it anyway. :)
    I'm a new follower - would love it if you'd check out my blog sometime
    M

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  9. LOVE these birch trees! so so clever.
    (i have real one's all around our garden!)
    great tutorial.
    cheryl xox.

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  10. You did a great job! I just posted on Aspen trees {look the same as Birch I'd say} today because I want to paint them in my twin boys' nursery. Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

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  11. Cleverly and beautifully done! I will put this on my list of things to try in my guest bathroom. Thanks for a great tutorial.

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  12. Love this! It looks amazing! : )

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  13. Wow! That turned out great. Thanks for sharing.

    cookienut.blogspot.com

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  14. Wow! That is fantastic! I have wanted to do this for a long time...

    Jessica
    Chapman Place

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  15. So cute! It would be fun to have a space that's my own where I could incorporate design that The Mr. doesn't approve of (like pink and girly things). The design is awesome, of course, and I like the color scheme you chose as well. I featured you on my blog this week:

    http://www.imbusyprocrastinating.com/2011/09/get-me-motivated-monday_12.html

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  16. oh my gosh!! thats totally fantastic.. You've given me a brilliant idea.. I've painted one bedroom wall.. a lovely green.. and didnt know what else to do.. So this sure looks like a fab idea..

    Hey.. you've done this sooooooooooooo well!! Super duper impressive.. Do come by and say hello to me at Colours Dekor.. and when you can.. do join my Monday linky party too.. :-) http://coloursdekor.blogspot.com/2011/09/weekly-story-wk-48.html

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  17. Wow- great job! This is so inspiring that you made the birch effect yourself! Amazing job!! :)

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  18. Love what you have done, it is stunning:)

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  19. Thanks for the compliments everyone!

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  20. I love this wall! It is absolutely stunning!

    I would love if you would share with my Blog Stalking Thursday Linky Party. http://thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com/
    See You There!

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  21. It looks amazing! It looks like you have lots of invites, but I would love it if you shared it at my linky party Tuesday night. Pinned it!
    Jenn :)
    www.cleanandscentsible.blogspot.com

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  22. I love these wall murals! It looks fantastic!Blogger,Could you supply some more information about these murals for me?

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  23. Ack! I keep looking at birch tree art wherever I go and I LOVE this! I'm thinking maybe with a robins egg blue background it might work for a nursery? That's the only place I can think of to use this idea in my home. Thinking that especially with the grey it could of looked ok even with the grey peeking through a bit (like when you painted the first or second coat). Kind of like natural birch bark. Just an idea for the lazy I guess...haha Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  24. I totally followed your tutorial and I loved the results! Thanks so much for the idea!

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  25. Thanks for the tutorial! i love it so much and i did it right away to my bedroom,

    here's the outcome if you have time to see it http://imajinasimaginatia.blogspot.com/2011/10/bringing-forest-inside.html

    thanks again, it was so fun project also :D

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  26. Wow! You did a great job! Better than mine! Thanks to everyone who has commented!

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  27. I love this! I am doing something similar in my nursery, so this tutorial was really helpful!!

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  28. I am so grateful I stumbled upon this tutorial. I recently decided to do an accent wall to help disguise a wall-mounted tv and wires, and out of desperation I almost ordered a birch tree stencil for $75 including shipping. This will be so much easier and completely original. Way to be thrifty!

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  29. Great post, you gave me some ideas on how to tackle my next mural project. I painted a few birch trees for my son's room as well. If you'd like to see it I wrote a blog on it, would love to read your thoughts if you have the time:

    http://simplynamoured.blogspot.com/2012/03/room-tour-noahs-room.html

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  30. You'll find clues about the underlying tones of different shades of a color on a full sample strip of coordinated colors. Even if you're not even considering using a darker tone, look at all the colors carefully. Decide if the family of colors is the direction you're headed with your color selection.

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  31. The diy painted birch wall forest shown here is superb. Have a look at it

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  32. You did this yourself? You do have talent in creating wall mural. I like your work here. The trees came out really nicely. The combination of gray and white is amazing. I would love it more if you’ll add falling leaves. What do you think? #Clinton Hurlburt

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  33. I get some inspiration phoenixpaintinganddrywall.com. I really like the birch color effect here.

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. Hi, I get some inspiration from your blog. Look my wall now http://eldioni.blogspot.com/2013/11/de-como-converti-mi-pared-en-un-bosque.html. Thanks

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  36. Bold and neat design. Very effective, especially with the dark background. Dutch painter Piet Mondrian painted a tree in a similar way, Most popular Artists , that I saw at wahooart.com who can make a good canvas print of the image.

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