A Tree Mural Anyone Can Do

Okay, maybe not anyone, but many people could pull off this tree mural. (I would even go as far to say that many more people could do this than believe they can.) It’s a very simple design and a very easy process.

This project is the direct result of too many snow days in a row. No joke! I am a second grade teacher and this winter was especially rough so that equaled lots of snow days. (Nine to be exact.) I also happened to be the happy recipient of a few bottles of bubble bath in my stocking from Santa. (I know it doesn’t seem related, but stick with me a moment…I will get where I’m going eventually.) What else does a teacher with an unexpected day off (or nine) do on a snow day when she’s got three bottles of bubble bath? Take a bath of course! (Or a whole bunch of baths!) Anyway, when soaking in our tub you have a lovely view of our bathroom that we remodeled a good while back. (I will dig out before and after photos of our bathroom remodel for you guys to see one of these days.) The bathroom is lovely, but the blank wall that I had the best view of from the tub bothered me. And it kept bothering more and more the more I took my snow day baths. As the snow days mounted so did my annoyance with and pondering over this blank wall.

Wouldn't this blank wall bother you too if you stared at it long enough?

Wouldn’t this blank wall bother you too if you stared at it long enough?

I had decided to paint a tree on this wall years ago when Aaron and I painted a mural for a friend’s nursery of gigantic dandelions in all white. But then I forgot. That same friend had a baby recently and when decorating her nursery this time she did a gigantic vinal wall sticker of a white tree on the wall. I’ve seen lots of murals between now and then, but something about this tree jolted my memory. Maybe because it was in the same house??? This reminded me of my long forgotten idea. It also solved that blank wall problem! So…on the next available snow day I got to work on bringing the tree idea to life.

This mural is super easy because it is all one color. I actually looked at a tree outside and sketched it so the lines would mimic an actual tree. Then I took white paint and began sketching it out on the wall. If you go small and light and gradually make it bigger you can easily do a simple design like a tree. You have to treat the paint like it is a pencil that you are lightly drawing with.

If you look close enough you can see the tree sketched out.

If you look close enough you can see the tree sketched out.

I just worked gradually by slowly adding more paint and thickening up my design. I also used a small brush to carefully go over my edges.

Gradually thicken your paint and widen your tree.

Gradually thicken your paint and widen your tree.

I highly recommend Pandora on the ipad while you work.  (Like pictured here!)

I highly recommend Pandora on the ipad while you work. (Like pictured here!)

It does take a few coats to cover a dark wall with white paint, but don’t let that make you feel pressure to use more paint. Slow and steady works best!

Almost there!  Just needing some more coats.

Almost there! Just needing some more coats.

I have painted lots of trees over the years so a few tips for newbies are to remember the following: 1.) The largest part of a tree is its’ trunk. Branches should generally get smaller as you move up and out. 2.) Make it organic and uneven- that’s how trees appear in real life. 3.) Go outside and look closely (like I tell my second graders use your “scientist” eyes- pretend you’re looking at a tree for the first time and soak in every little detail) and sketch what you see. 4.) Do a practice painting on wood or canvas or even paper. 5.) If you make a mistake whipe it off with a wet cloth while it’s still wet. 6.) Don’t be afraid you can always paint over it if you don’t like it.

Now that's a much better tub view!

Now that’s a much better tub view!

Good luck and happy painting!

-Kelli

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