Friday, September 23, 2011

The Tree of Life

My living room has been kind of a blank slate so far, but no more. This past weekend I visited my mom's new store for the first time and created a bit of a masterpiece.

I had a couple different images for inspiration all found via Pinterest. First there is this "365 Days of Happiness" Tree from an etsy seller - going for 350 dollars over there.

Also found on pinterest, this button tree and this cool Wedding sign in thumbprint tree:

 I decided I wanted a bit of a combination of the three. I liked the charm and texture of the buttons, the curlicues of the thumb print tree, and the color scheme/idea behinds the 365 days tree. So I embarked on my creative journey - starting first at Michael's where they were having a killer canvas sale. I bought 5 16 x 20 canvases for $10. Unheard of! I only used 4, but here they are all laid out at my mom's store. 

I also picked out my color scheme at Michaels. I knew I wanted green to match my kitchen and kind of go with my couch, raspberry to match the paint we have picked out for our foyer, yellow, but not the exact yellow of the walls, and why not throw in some blue! We have no other blue in the living room but why not, a tree is natural and so is blue sky.

I used a foam roller to paint the background color on the canvases. I started with just pure color at one end and slowly added some white to create the gradient affect.

Next I sketched out my tree and outlined it with brown paint. This part of the process was very nerve wracking... but still fun! I used a brush with a chiseled edge, and went very slowly and carefully along. As you can see, the version below does not have many of the curlicues I wanted. Those had to be added with a different kind of brush. A softer pointer one.

Then I began to fill in the tree (also nerve wracking). I pushed the canvases together even though my intention was to hang them about an inch apart to make sure the tree lined up all the way across. By this point I had consumed a McCafe Frappe and was a little hopped up. It made the process interesting. :-)

After the tree was filled in I had to decide what kind of leaves I wanted and how I would accomplish creating them. I knew I was not advanced enough to make actual leaves look good, and I sort of liked the whimsicality of the round leaves on the 365 day inspiration tree above. I talked with my mom about using a paint brush or a polka dotter to make the leaves. In the end I decided finger paint would be the best technique... and it was definitely fun. I swirled lots of different colors together to make unique circles. She did go along and add the small dots with a polka dotter (basically a small dowel shaped tool with a sponge on the end to make nice circles).

It was about 1 a.m. when we finished the finger painting/polka dotting process so we called it a night. When I got back home to Indiana I added the finishing touch: the buttons. I bought this "Bucket of Buttons" at Michaels for $3 (originally 6 but I had a coupon). The jar of buttons I already owned.

First I laid out all the buttons where I wanted them. This process was much more laid back than actually painting on the circles because I could easily pick up the buttons and move them around... the paint was  more permanent. I just used a hot glue gun to attach them to the canvas.

Hanging the tree up, which I dubbed "The Tree of Life," was much harder than I imagined. There are about 30 little thumb tack holes in the wall behind them now (lets hope I never get sick of this and want to take it down!) from moving the tacks when it wasn't quite right. I still have plans to add two little birds to it someday, but for now I am loving it. It really brightens up the room and makes it an even more cheerful and colorful place.


Amanda said...

I LOVE this! I'm totally going to do this in the new year. I love your blog, you have wonderful, beautiful ideas!

Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home said...

I am totally inspired! Thank you for this great tutorial.

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