There’s something incredibly therapeutic about rolling up your sleeves and putting brush to blank canvas. It relieves stress and eases anxiety. Whether you’re an artist or a stick figure scribbler, it’s just fun -no qualifications necessary.
Moreover, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction in creating something that you’re proud enough of to display in your own home. For me, it’s a part of the enchantment of trying new things; discovering a propensity for something you’d never have imagined yourself capable; gaining a greater sense of confidence by deciding “maybe I can” instead of “I could never”.
This simple DIY painting project is one of those things you just ought to try. It’s quick, easy and leaves you feeling like the owner of your own Mona Lisa.
Begin by deciding what you want your color scheme for the background to be and getting your paint. I used 79¢ acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby (on 30% clearance –boom goes the savings dynamite!). Then you just need a canvas, painter’s tape, paint brushes and an old credit or gift card.
Use the tape to mark off your tree pattern.
Then just fill in your background. I’ve mainly seen these types of birch tutorials done with a solid background, but I wanted a little more color going on in mine.
Wait a bit for the paint to dry, then remove the tape. If you’re worried about getting your lines right for crossing trees, you can leave the tape on for your front tree to make sure you don’t accidentally smear it while you create the background tree. I had practiced this on several canvases, so I was feeling brave.
Here comes the trick so easy if feels like getting away with a crime… Take your old gift card and dip the edge in black paint.
Practice scraping it across a piece of scrap paper to create the birch bark pattern.
Experiment until you feel like you have a feel for just the right paint to scrape ratio of the side and darkness of the bark pattern you want.
Then get to scraping!
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes -if you try a color scheme and it comes out too light or dark, never underestimate the power of blending. When I first tried this on my big canvas, it came out looking like a poorly executed Smokey Bear commercial. I just taped my trees up again, busted out my brush and some lighter colors until I felt like no one was going to pop into my living room and say “only you can prevent forest fires”.
My initial large canvas didn’t quite fill up the wall space I had hoped it would. (That’s what you get for buying a canvas based on gut instinct rather than living room measurements.) I ended up adding some accent canvases and personalizing two of them by writing our last name on one and our wedding date on the other.
We aren’t allowed to paint the walls in our apartment, so we’ve kind of been battling the whole, white-washed insane asylum look since we moved in. I’ve done photo canvas collages on two other walls in the same open area, so I felt like this wall needed something different -I really enjoy how the paintings filled the space and added a spark of color. And that by creating your own paintings, you have the ability to really customize your wall art to match whatever color scheme you have going with your curtains and furniture.
So get cracking and try creating your very own birch tree masterpiece!
All writing and images copyright © 2015 Rachel Elise Weems Woods