Search online for tree silhouettes to inspire your one-of-a-kind tree wall art.

Painting Tree Wall Art

by Jan Burch

Imagine painting a graceful tree with branches spreading across your living room wall, a sheltering tree filled with birds in a nursery, or a mural of pines and birches in the family room. These designer effects are easy to accomplish even if you think you can't draw. With an overhead projector, you can beam the image onto your wall and trace or stencil the design before you paint it. If you don't want to take on the entire wall, paint and embellish a tree on canvas for a portable piece of wall art. Make an impact by spreading your tree across three or four same-size canvases; then hang them together as a group.

Using a Projector

Project your tree silhouette or image onto the wall using an overhead projector. Find overhead projectors at craft stores, borrow one from your local school or library, or rent it from an office supply store. Move the projector until the image fills the desired wall space. The farther away the projector is from the wall, the larger the image.

Trace the projected image onto the wall with a light pencil or chalk.

Paint the traced outline with a small liner brush and latex wall paint. Fill in the outline using larger brushes as appropriate.

Using a Wall Stencil

Cover the desired wall area with overlapping strips of tape. Draw the tree outline on the tape with a pencil. You can use a projected image or draw freehand.

Cut out and remove the tape where you will paint the tree. Use a light touch and a sharp craft blade to avoid damaging the wall.

Paint over the resulting stencil with paint in the same color as the wall to fill in and seal the stencil edge.

Paint with the desired mural color, using two coats if needed for complete coverage. Allow to dry for 8 to 10 hours and remove the tape.

Painting a Canvas for Portable Wall Art

Purchase a stretched and primed artist's canvas, available at craft and art supply stores. Lightly trace the tree outline in pencil. Use a projector or stencil, or draw freehand to create your tree's trunk and branches.

Paint along the traced lines using a liner brush and acrylic craft paint. Fill in the outline using larger brushes, 1 to 2 inches wide as needed. If desired, stencil, stamp or sponge leaves in your choice of realistic or fanciful colors.

Cut leaf shapes from scrapbook paper instead of painting leaves. Use decoupage medium to collage the shapes around the branches on the canvas. For a creative touch, use other collage items such as buttons, sequins or stickers.

Items you will need

  • Tree design or silhouette
  • Overhead projector
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Craft knife
  • Liner brush
  • Paint brushes in varying widths, 1- to 3-inches wide
  • Latex interior wall paint
  • Artist canvas
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Leaf stencils or stamps (optional)
  • Scrapbook paper (optional)
  • Decoupage medium (optional)


  • Tree images for inspiration abound on the Internet. Search for "tree silhouettes," "tree designs" or "tree images." Some images are available for free download, while others are old as clip art. Check the site terms and conditions before you use an image. Photographs of trees can also provide ideas.
  • Create graphic impact by using simple lines, stylized shapes and a solid color for a silhouette effect. Choose a color that contrasts with the wall and complements your decor. Add more creativity to your tree mural by painting in leaves, birds, insects or clouds using contrasting colors from your decor palette.

About the Author

Jan Burch has written about home, garden, wellness and other topics since 1992. Her articles have appeared in ByLine, Living Natural and New Mexico Woman. Based in Albuquerque, Burch is a Feng Shui consultant and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. A life-long crafting enthusiast, she holds a master's degree from the University of California.

Photo Credits

  • Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images