Aspen Trees Wall Art

The space for this project measures 6’ X 11’.  It required 8 tubes of caulking.

The space for this project measures 6’ X 11’.  It required 8 tubes of caulking.

I’ve created wall art with stencils before.  A good example is the 3-D Wall Leaves project.  The stencils for the leaves were thicker than normal stencils and gave the leaves a raised look.

But that dimension was nothing compared to these Aspen trees which appear to be popping off the wall.  The beautifully designed stencils for this art are even thicker than ones I’ve used before. They allow you to add a lot of texture, which provides great nooks and crannies where paint can collect, adding interest to the art.  

Victoria Larsen created the tree stencils used for this project.  Her unique designs come in various sizes and styles suitable for many home decorating jobs.  You’ll find them on her website which displays photos of completed projects.  Click on her raised plaster stencils to see additional dimensional designs.

By combining the stencils provided in the set, you can make the trees any size you need.  You can also add as many or as few branches and leaves as you choose.  The overall look of the project is really up to you.  There is no one way to create this wall art.  The following directions detail how I went about it.

 
stencil set

stencil set

Before

Before

Directions

step 1 - Plan the number of trees you will create and their size. If you’re going to angle some trees, tape a yardstick or dowel against the wall as a guide and follow it as you position your stencils.    

step 1 - Plan the number of trees you will create and their size. If you’re going to angle some trees, tape a yardstick or dowel against the wall as a guide and follow it as you position your stencils.

 

 

step 2 - If you won’t be using the largest tree trunk, you can cut it in half vertically to create a width size that will work for your project.  I taped mine back together making it only slightly wider than the smaller trunk.  I also angled it so it tapered at the top.  

step 2 - If you won’t be using the largest tree trunk, you can cut it in half vertically to create a width size that will work for your project.  I taped mine back together making it only slightly wider than the smaller trunk.  I also angled it so it tapered at the top.

 

step 3 -The directions included with the stencils suggest using joint compound.  Because I’ve successfully used tub caulking for this kind of job before, I chose to use it again.  A caulking gun makes the application convenient.  Read the important notes below about caulking application and tips.  Fill in the center of the trunk stencil then use the plastic putty knife to distribute caulking to all open areas.  Work in a well ventilated room and occasionally spray a good quality room deodorizer as you work to minimize the caulking smell.  Glade Fresh Linen almost completely eliminates the odor.

step 3 -The directions included with the stencils suggest using joint compound.  Because I’ve successfully used tub caulking for this kind of job before, I chose to use it again.  A caulking gun makes the application convenient.  Read the important notes below about caulking application and tips.  Fill in the center of the trunk stencil then use the plastic putty knife to distribute caulking to all open areas.  Work in a well ventilated room and occasionally spray a good quality room deodorizer as you work to minimize the caulking smell.  Glade Fresh Linen almost completely eliminates the odor.

step 4 - Create all the tree trunks first by adding additional sections as you work up the wall and reach the desired height.  Hold the stencil to the wall with painters tape.    

step 4 - Create all the tree trunks first by adding additional sections as you work up the wall and reach the desired height.  Hold the stencil to the wall with painters tape.

 

 

step 7 - Once you have all your trunks in place, add tree tops and other branches.

 

step 5 - If you like a lot of texture, the more irregularities in the caulking surface the better.  Create a tree bark-like effect by dabbing at the caulking with the straight edge of the knife once the stencil is filled.  Running the knife horizontally across the stencil will also create realistic ridges.  

step 5 - If you like a lot of texture, the more irregularities in the caulking surface the better.  Create a tree bark-like effect by dabbing at the caulking with the straight edge of the knife once the stencil is filled.  Running the knife horizontally across the stencil will also create realistic ridges.

 

step 6 - Because you would have to wait for one trunk section to dry before repositioning the stencil again, you may want to cut off the blank margin on one edge of the stencil leaving it open at the bottom.  This will allow you to align the stencil edges with the finished edges of the previous trunk and continue working.  Use the knife to blend the joined ends of added trunks sections.  Keep an oversized towel and a sink filled with sudsy warm water to wash caulking off both sides of the stencil before using it again.

step 6 - Because you would have to wait for one trunk section to dry before repositioning the stencil again, you may want to cut off the blank margin on one edge of the stencil leaving it open at the bottom.  This will allow you to align the stencil edges with the finished edges of the previous trunk and continue working.  Use the knife to blend the joined ends of added trunks sections.  Keep an oversized towel and a sink filled with sudsy warm water to wash caulking off both sides of the stencil before using it again.

step 8 - When adding leaves, keep in mind that you don’t have to use the entire stencil as is.  Apply painters tape to close off openings in the stencil to create a smaller grouping.  Also flip the stencil over to create leaves that bend in a different direction.  Texture the leaves with the knife just as you did the trunks.  

step 8 - When adding leaves, keep in mind that you don’t have to use the entire stencil as is.  Apply painters tape to close off openings in the stencil to create a smaller grouping.  Also flip the stencil over to create leaves that bend in a different direction.  Texture the leaves with the knife just as you did the trunks.

 

step 9 - When the caulking is thoroughly set, paint can be applied.   For good color effects, determine the direction of the light source in the room.  If it’s on the left as in my project, keep this in mind as you paint, making your darkest color on the right of images and lighter color on the left. 

step 10 - Fill a small container with a wash made by mixing a little water with the original wall paint.  Don’t dilute it too much or you will loose your color.  Fleece or other similar fabrics make great paint applicators.  Cut two pieces about three inches square, one for adding on, one for wiping away.  Dip a portion of one of the pieces in the wash and dab it along the right side of the trunk and leaves.  Create variety by painting some leaves with the dark side on the bottom and the light side on top and vice versa.  Use the second fleece to wipe away excess or blend the paint from dark side to the light.

step 11 - Add green color accents to the leaves and gold to the trunks.  I wanted to use pearl paint for both but couldn’t find colors I liked.  Instead I found a pearl pigment powder sold for stamping and scrapbooking.  Add a little water to some green powder. Using the fleece add on and take away method to stain the right side of the leaves.  Wipe away to the left.  Add water to the gold powder.  Apply the color to the right sides of the trunks.  Also add gold color to the edges of the breaks in the trunks.  This color is most effective when applied over surfaces painted with the wall color.

step 11 - Add green color accents to the leaves and gold to the trunks.  I wanted to use pearl paint for both but couldn’t find colors I liked.  Instead I found a pearl pigment powder sold for stamping and scrapbooking.  Add a little water to some green powder. Using the fleece add on and take away method to stain the right side of the leaves.  Wipe away to the left.  Add water to the gold powder.  Apply the color to the right sides of the trunks.  Also add gold color to the edges of the breaks in the trunks.  This color is most effective when applied over surfaces painted with the wall color.

IMPORTANT CAULKING INFORMATION AND TIPS
I used white Loctite paintable adhesive caulking for this project which acted as the perfect canvas, allowing me to blend paint and shading across the surface.  it is flexible and cleans up with water.  I don’t recommend using another medium because I can’t tell you what the result will be.  One reader attempted this project using plaster instead of caulking and found that the paint was absorbed and unworkable on the plaster.  

Keep in mind caulking can made from different materials.  Mine was not a silicone caulk.  I suspect it’s made from latex because of the easy water clean up but the packaging didn’t specify.  For the best results I suggest using the exact product I did. It was workable, flexible, held it’s shape, applied easily and required no trimming, sanding, etc. once it dried.  One day I applied the caulk, the next day I painted.  It was that easy.

Like the bark, leaves should not be smooth and flat.  Apply the caulking with a gun to the center of the stencil opening.  Gently and generously distribute the caulk with a wide plastic spatula while you press down on the stencil edges.  Do not use heavy pressure when spreading which could cause caulk to seep under the stencil.  

If you don’t want white caulk showing, paint the entire project with the wall paint then add color and shading, etc.  Or just leave it as it is.

Do a test of the products and techniques you plan to use on a similar surface before applying to a wall.  Also allow the test to dry.  Some products like plaster may crack when dry.

If you were taking a photo of a woman in a beautiful dress, you wouldn’t zoom in on her eyelids.  Instead, you would stand at a distance where you could capture the complete subject.  Using that logic, this is a large project and more appropriate for a larger space. Place it in a room where you can stand back to appreciate it in its entirety.

A Huge Thanks To Gloria Horner For Bringing These Stencils To My Attention!!!


Supplies

Amazon           

  • Loctite Polyseamseal All Purpose Adhesive Caulk and caulking gun
  • Ranger Perfect Pearls Palettes pigment powder Green Patina and Heirloom Gold

Victoria Larsen

Lowe’s

  • painters tape
  • yardstick or dowel
  • putty knife

 


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