We recently moved into a new apartment, and I’ve been working on the riddle of how to decorate a new space with the same pictures, curtains, etc that I’ve collected over the years. We’ve moved six times and lived in three states in four years of marriage. I’ve moved ten times since I graduated high school. That’s a lot! And of course, every new space brings a challenge of how to make things that were purchased for one situation work in another (and the challenge of resisting the urge to completely redecorate…if I only had the money for it!)
When we toured this apartment the manager kept pointing out how it had a huge alcove over the fireplace that would fit out huge flatscreen TV. My husband and I just laughed to ourselves, since our “huge” TV measures all of 23 inches! When we moved in, the valiantly tiny TV looked hilariously pitiful in this five foot by five foot alcove, and I knew I had to do something to distract from it.
We didn’t have any artwork big enough to fill the space, so to Pinterest I went! I had pinned this lovely Branches Wall Art by Lemon Tree Creations ages ago, and decided it was time to make my own version. Our living room is blues and browns with some green accents, and somehow developed a leaves/trees theme in the artwork, so I thought this would complement nicely.
The branches stencil is from Cutting Edge Stencils. It’s not cheap, which is why this lovely pin sat on my crafts board so long, but my wonderful family gave it to me for a Christmas present! (If you’re a friend and want to borrow it, let me know!)
Lemon Tree Creations used reclaimed wood for their art, but a) I didn’t have any, and b) I wanted a lighter look for my piece to go with the dusty blues we already have in the living room, so I picked up a large canvas at Michaels. With a sale and a coupon it came to less than $13! Score!
For the blue background I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Violet that I had left over from painting Bear’s Ombre Dresser. I have used this paint in so many projects, and I love it! I mixed it with Old White until I got a dusty sky blue color, then painted the entire canvas. While it was still wet, I took just a dab of each color and, without mixing them together, dipped my almost-dry brush in them both and streaked it on in a few places, blending just slightly. This gave the blue more dimension, and gave the background a bit of a windy feel. I forgot to take a picture at this point, but you can see it in the other pictures. I then let it dry overnight.
For the leaves, I bought Martha Stewart metallic craft paint in Brushed Bronze, Champagne, Pure Platinum, and Mother of Pearl. I did a test strip and decided the bronze was too dark, but I liked the others.
First, I off-set the stencil and used the darkest color, Champagne, to stencil. I used a repositionable spray adhesive on the back of the stencil, but it was too weak to hold it on the canvas, so I just made sure to work in tiny areas and hold it down carefully. When stenciling, you want BARELY any paint on the brush or foam, otherwise it will leak under the stencil. I always get impatient and use too much paint at first…don’t follow my example!
I waited overnight for this to dry, then positioned part of the stencil on the bottom and used the Platinum. When this was completely dry, I centered the stencil and used the Mother of Pearl.
And voila! Here you have it! The metallic paints really give it dimension—different leaves stand out better depending on the light and where you’re standing, which gives it a feeling like the leaves are actually shimmering in the wind.
One note, if you are going to do a piece with metallic paints, make sure it will hang where there will always be some light on it, because without it you won’t be able to see the leaves at all from some angles. Thanks to Lemon Tree Creations for the lovely idea! Be sure to check them out—they have great DIY ideas!