Inspiring wall art for the little ones
Instead of canvas wall art I used the entire wall as my canvas to inspire my kids. Doesn’t this sound like so much fun to do! Oh yes, I had a blast making this huge tree. Really an awesome DIY decor project. Made it for the kids and it so warms my heart to see, how something simple I created makes them happy every day.
As you may already know, I have three kids. They all enjoy going through books and listening to stories. I really like to encourage them to read by themselves, too. Reading is so important for language skills. (I am also a teacher by profession.) While beneficial, reading can as well be a very relaxing and calming routine for kids and us adults, too, in our busy lives. It is so important to just stop everything and lay down for even a little while ‘to charge our batteries’. Grab a book relax without blinking lights and sounds.
So, to entice my kids to read more I wanted to make them a cozy reading area. This made me think of old oak trees and how nice it would be reading under a tree like that on a beautiful summer day.
Obviously we couldn’t have a real tree like that inside the house and outside the weather isn’t that good all the time either, so I wanted to paint a big oak tree on the wall to create a cozy reading area for the kids. This painted tree is in our toddler’s room and big brothers pop in quite often to sit under the tree, too. It’s been a total success with a mattress and comfy pillows right in front of the tree. And of course we have lots of books right next to it.
How to get started
Step 1. Get a pencil and an eraser ready.
First I took out a pencil and just drew the tree trunk and some branches on the wall. I looked at pictures of trees and tried to imitate them the best I could to make my drawing look identifiable as a tree. Had to use my eraser a few times, though. But that wasn’t so difficult after all and it was actually quite a deliberating experience! Felt like a kid drawing on the wall 😉
Step 2. Paint the trunk and branches.
For the tree trunk I used dark brown furniture paint. We actually had the paint left over from an other project. I wanted to use this paint because it’s very durable and that’s perfect for the trunk since the kids will be leaning on it and touching it a lot. So, when you pick the paint for the trunk, get something durable that you can wipe clean with no worries of paint wearing out.
Step 3. Make an oak leaf stamp.
I am no artist, so I had to figure out a way to paint lively looking leaves on the tree. I came up with this easy solution to just stamp the leaves on the wall, hurray. To make the stamp I actually went outside and picked a couple of leaves from a real oak. So the leaves are kind of authentic on our painted tree. If you don’t have oak trees anywhere near then just draw them or use this template (just click open the brown leaf).
Draw the outline of the leaf on foam paper in the size you prefer.
Make two leaves and cut them off with a small and sharp utility knife or a pair of scissors.
For the stamp material I suggest a paper plate with dividers.
Glue the leaf shaped foam papers to the bottom on two separate sections of the plate. Make sure the parts are firmly glued together before you start stamping away.
Step 4. Paint the leaves on the tree.
Make sure your painted tree trunk is dry before you start stamping the leaves. To mix the paint colors for lively looking leaves I used another plate with dividers. I used three different colors to make the leaves. I had one darker green and one yellow-green tone of regular wall paint. And I also mixed in that brown paint, too. For the leaves I varied the mix with all three colors. Some leaves I stamped on using solid mixed colors and one color. But most leaves had mixed colors as you can observe in the pictures. I did that with a paint brush. Just brush on different tones of paint on the foam paper stamp and stamp it on the wall. I also varied the amount of paint I used on the stamp. I did all the leaves a little different just kept stamping until I was happy with the tree. Easy to do and can’t go wrong! Just keep on stamping until your tree is full of leaves.
Step 5. Add comfort & books
We have a mattress and comfy pillows to make the boys want to sit down and pick a book. You should also have books handy right there, too. It seems that kids just can’t help but read while sitting under this tree with books in sight. Complete success!
P.S. The cute owl sitting in the tree is a craft made by our “middle child” a few years ago.