Painted Birch Tree Mural {How To} -

For the life of me I could not decide on a theme for the nursery. Like seriously. I drew up a bunch of adorable zoo animals and framed them and then changed my mind. I bought a bunch of dog themed artwork that I found around town and then changed my mind. I love woodland animal themes but then changed my mind. SO. What’s a very indecisive Momma to do with a growing belly already the size of a basketball?

Work with it.

I realized the part I loved the most about the woodland animal theme, besides the adorable foxes and owls, was the idea of having floor to ceiling birch trees. Naturally I went straight to Etsy to find some adorable decal birch trees. What wasn’t so adorable was the price! $120 for 5 trees and I wanted at least 10. Um, no. I don’t spend that kind of money on stickers. So I printed out a few that I liked and studied them.

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I really liked the colors in this one but hubs said no falling leaves.

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So then I found this one with the little bird houses and sparse leaves.

The more I looked at them the more I realized that birch trees are just straight-ish lines with branches. How difficult could that really be to just paint? I own my home, so painting isn’t an issue for me. Besides, that would be super cheap right? Um, yes, it would be.

In fact, it cost me $0 to paint the mural. I did my entire project with products I had on hand.

Here’s how it’s done!

New Carpet New Cribs

You got your freshly painted blank slate (See above). Now set up your furniture in the room as it would be after your mural is completed (See below).

Mark out furniture using chalk

Take a piece of chalk, or other non-permanent marking material and map out where your furniture goes. It doesn’t have to be precise, just enough to give you an idea of height and depth of the furniture on your mural wall.

FrogTape

Frog Tape is my painter’s tape of choice. I buy it in bulk whenever I see it at Costco. It has a super absorbent technology to prevent seepage and leaks along the edges of the tape.

Now for this next part you will probably need at least a roll if you’re doing as many trees as me (I think I have 11). Basically, start at the top of the wall and just willy nilly run the tape down the wall until you get to the floor. The trick is that you don’t want it to be perfect. In fact, the more imperfect the better! Make those trees wonky and wavy, you’ll like the end result much better!

Keep in mind the marks on the wall where your furniture will be and try to keep things semi-symmetrical. I didn’t want anything directly behind the tops of the cribs so I made sure to leave a gap. You’ll see why next week when I do the nursery reveal :)

Frog Tape Birch Trees

If you have one, print out your inspiration photo and tape it to the wall. It’ll help keep the shapes and heights of each tree in perspective as you work around the room.

If you can create a small portable work station to drag around, I highly recommend it! This table we got at Costco for $40 and it can support up to 1000 lbs and folds flat when not in use. So it doubles as a place to stand as well as a place to keep paint off your new carpet ;)

Replace furniture after taping off trees

Once your room is all taped up put the furniture back. It didn’t end up being all that important because I liked where the trees ended up but if there was a tree that was totally out of place I’d want to know before I painted it! So just try it before you buy it! You feelin’ me?

I’d also recommend trying a few colors before you paint. Yes, yes, Rachel you always say that. You own every color on the planet in a sample pot, we know. BUT I’ve never been disappointed that I tried a few. This project being a perfect example! My original plan was to paint the trees with the same paint as my Master Bedroom but after seeing it on the walls it wasn’t dark enough or grey enough for my liking, so I tried another color and presto! Perfecto!

Painted Birch Tree Tutorial

Once you’ve got your colors in order paint two coats from floor to ceiling using a 4″ foam roller. Super easy, it’ll take about 20m for each coat and you won’t need more than a quart of paint.

After you have applied the 2nd coat, and before the paint dries, carefully but quickly pull off the tape. You should have nice smooth straight lines once the tape is removed with little or no bleeds. I think I had one bleed where there was a wrinkle in the tape from making a curve. No biggie I just painted a branch there :)

Birch Tree Mural Tutorial

Once your tape is off paint the branches. I used a 1″ artist’s brush, nothing fancy. It came in a pack of brushes from Hobby Lobby and I think it was about $8 for 15 different shaped brushes?

Now this is not rocket science! They’re trees! Remember the whole imperfect is perfect thing I said a bit ago? It’s still the case for the branches. Just wing it. Worse case scenario you have a cankle branch (I had 2) that you skinny up with some wall paint when you’re finished. It may not look like much more than a desolate sad forest at this point but it’ll come to life before we’re finished. I promise!

Birch Tree Painting Bark Mural

Next you’ll want to take your wall paint and make the bark details. It’s basically just a bunch of hash marks (not tags!) along both sides of the tree trunks. I used the same 1″ brush and just clumped a few here and there. I added a few knots in the trees and a little something special…

Birch Tree Mural With Carved Heart Initials

Yep, I “carved” our initials in one of the trees. Call it a signature, if you will :)

You can also see how the hash marks are just a single swipe of a paint brush. Nothing technical about it. Just drag and release!

Birch Tree Leaves Using Sample Paint

Next you will want to decide what colors to use for the leaves. If you’re going for something super modern and neutral you can do white leaves on white tress, or grey or beige. The sky is the limit. This is a nursery, however, and I want it to be bright and playful, so I used some sample pots left over from this project and this one.

Painted Birch Tree Leaves

Again, nothing technical, just flicks and swishes. The art of it is the imperfection! I did one color randomly on each branch around the room, then came back with another, and then another. By the end it was all very randomly colored which was exactly what I was hoping for!

Birch Tree mural with leaves

See how much more life there is now?? It’s not over the top but it’s more than just dead branches creepily looming over their cribs. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the room since finishing this project. It allows me to have minimal decor on the walls without the room falling short.

It cost me $0. ZERO DOLLARS. Thrifty or what? *takes a bow*

My best guess if you were planning to attempt this yourself with 0 resources you would probably spend about $40-50. Considering floor to ceiling decals start at around $80 that’s still a pretty good deal.

Here’s a sneak peek of the almost finished room :)

IKEA Hemnes Grey Wash Chest of Drawers Boy Nursery

Does it make you want to see more?? I hope so because there’s a lot more!!

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll have the reveal locked and loaded for Monday!

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Comments

  1. Amazing! Super job!

  2. What a beautiful nursery. I’m so glad you’re back and doing well.

  3. Love the tree’s!

  4. Love it!

  5. Gorgeous! Stunning, you are truly talented! Reading your blog always seems to give me inspiration one way or another! :) So happy to see you back and blogging!

  6. Adorable…you did a beautiful job! And for zero dollars…gotta love that!

  7. Fantastic! You have such a good eye. Very creative and lovely. Looks like their room is going to look super cute. :)

  8. Such a great look and you did a wonderful job!!

    I have 2.5 year old twin girls myself and it is a super exciting and wonderful adventure! We started out with our cribs in the same configuration as yours, and then one morning about a year or so ago we found one of our girls in her sister’s crib! She had crawled over the top of the dresser and was harassing her sister. I still think about that hilarious morning when A was screaming her head off because N wouldn’t stop hugging her!! We did move the dresser eventually because it was causing sisterly issues :P Enjoy your moments (not all of them– some days are HARD) with those cutie babies!

  9. Wonderful! Love how you provided the step by step what a great looking outcome :)

  10. I am attempting to do this in my friends nursery … I started with the trunks and have some Branches done and so far it’s a success ! However , what kind of paint would you suggest for the leaves and did you apply two coats ? I am finding with the Branches that one coat is not enough and it is difficult to mimick same shapes two times (but ill manage I’m sure …) however for the leaves I am prediciton two coats may be a pain in the you know what !
    Thanks !

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