Make a Birch Forest Mural

Bring the outdoors in with this birch forest living room mural. A few cans of paint and plenty of masking tape is about all you need for this dramatic effect.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Woodland Living Room Mural

Add drama to your living room with a hand painted mural.

Gathering the Materials

You will need: masking tape / craft knife / 2 medium sized paint brushes (2 1/2” to 4”) / 2 artist paint brushes (one small and one fine) / flat wall paint - charcoal / flat wall paint - white / flat wall paint - base color (example is slate gray) / drop cloth/ paper towels / Begin by masking off anything you do not want painted on the wall (baseboards, window frames) and paint the entire wall in the base color. It doesn’t have to be slate gray, but should be in the gray family for best results. Allow wall to dry completely before proceeding.

Outlining the Deepest Trees

Using masking tape, outline thin trees (ranging from 1” wide to 3” wide) to be in the background. Because they are further away, they should be smaller and darker than the rest of the trees. Allow some of the trees to cross over others. Use the craft knife to cut away tape at the intersections. These do not have to be perfect. Trees in nature are misshapen and bent.

Painting the Deepest Trees

With the outlines taped, fill in the taped areas with the charcoal wall paint. Use a paint brush with horizontal strokes. Any brush strokes (or gaps that are left) will have horizontal lines and mimic those of a real birch tree. Allow the paint to dry completely before removing tape.

Adding Branches to the Deepest Trees

At the top of most of the trees paint small branches using the small artist brush. Because the trees are the farthest away visually, you might be able to see the tops of the trees. The next two layers will not get branches. Allow to dry completely before proceeding.

Outlining the Middle Trees

To create the middle trees use masking tape to create trunks from the top to the bottom of the wall. These trees should range from 2” to about 5” in width. It does not need to be exact and the trees should be slightly smaller at the top than at the bottom. You should place some of these so that they overlap the trees behind them. Do not cover your work completely, but overlapping gives the layered appearance you need.

Painting the Middle Trees

To paint the middle trees you will need to make two new colors. Fill two containers about 2/3 full of white paint. Add enough charcoal paint to the first container to give you a medium gray. Add about twice as much charcoal to the second container to give you a darker gray. Use a paint brush and the darker gray to paint from the right side into the middle in horizontal strokes. The stroke should go about 2/3 the distance to the opposite side. Allow the paint to dry. Use a paint brush (a cheap one with a ragged edge works great) and the lighter gray color to paint from the left side toward the right side in horizontal, slightly curved strokes to give the tree a round appearance. Do this with a mostly dry brush and drag the stroke in to allow the brush stroke to show. Allow paint to dry completely before removing tape.

Outlining the Closest Trees

Use masking tape to add the closest trees to the foreground. These trees should range in size from 4” to about 8”. They should overlap the first two sets of trees and even overlap each other if you like. Use this opportunity to fill in any wide areas of background color or to hide any mistakes you may have made on a previous layer. The trees should be only slightly smaller at the top than at the bottom in most cases on this layer.

Painting the Closest Trees

Because these trees are the closest visually they will need to be lighter and bigger. Use the lighter gray paint from the middle trees and make it slightly darker by adding just a bit of charcoal paint to it. It just needs to be enough so you can see the difference between it and the lighter color from the middle trees if they intersect. Fill a new container 2/3 full with white paint and just a bit of charcoal to make it not perfectly white. Use the same method as the middle layer starting with the darker of the two grays from the right side toward the left side. Use the lighter gray to drag a stroke from the left side to the right side with a slight curve. Allow the paint to dry completely between colors and before removing the tape.

Thin Lines in Bark Details

After removing all masking tape from the wall begin painting in the bark details with the fine artist brush. Start on the middle trees first. Use the charcoal paint to paint from the outside edges inward. Some strokes can be wide and some should be very thin. Other strokes may be completely contained within the trunk and not touch the edges at all.

Various Shapes in Bark Details

When you have completed the middle trees move onto the closest trees making some of the strokes larger to make them appear closer. Make some of the shapes abstract as if they might be small knots in the trunk.

Staggered Lines in Bark Details

To mimic the peeling bark look of birch trees, stagger some thin lines together.

Finished Mural

When you have finished the mural stand away from it and determine if any details need to be filled in.

Cozy Backdrop

With the mural complete, add your furniture back to the room for a cozy retreat.

Adding Outdoor Elements

Adding greenery to the room will add to the natural feel.

Hand Painted and Modern Look

This completed mural will give your room a hand crafted look. The birch tree pattern keeps it modern.