Monday, March 21, 2011

Chic Leaves Wall Mural Tutorial.

Hi Lovelies! How was the weekend? I think spring has finally arrived in Cleveland. Sunny, warm(ish) weather meant lots of walks, a drive through the most beautiful river valley, and a general excitement about life again!

Anyway, today I want to share a tutorial with you for a pretty yet simple mural wall I recently completed.

Start with a clean, painted wall. Then, draw the basic structure for your branches. To create realistic branches, start with one branch and break it off into two, creating a "V". For this first step, don't worry about the details. Just draw the large, main branches to create the structure for your mural. You can do this with pencil, but I went straight in with white paint. The beauty of this design is that it's not perfect, and the less perfect the design looks, the more realistic it seems.

Once you have the main branches in, continue "V-ing" the branches all the way to the end of the branches. Once your branches are sketched in, thicken the branches to the desired width. Mine are thin, but you can go as thin or thick as you like.

Now you can begin adding your leaves. This part is much easier than it may seem. You can even create a stencil for the leaves if you are concerned about free-handing them. Because my branches were thin, I choose long narrow leaves for my trees. A general guideline is to add 5-7 leaves at the end of each branch. Make sure you space them out irregularly and have some overlap, etc. to make it look more realistic.
(Be sure to continue your branches around architectural details such as windows and doors.)

(The leaf groupings aren't too regular. Some overlap, they point different directions.)

Once your base color is done, go in with your accent color. I used gray paint and added 1 part water to 1 part paint. This created a softer effect and created a more blended look between my white and gray paint. It also ended up creating a watercolor effect which wasn't planned but looks really beautiful.
(Add your accent color to one side of the branch, and one side of your leaves. This adds a shadow and creates depth.)
As you go, add more branches depending on the thickness you want. I added quite a bit through out the precess to make the mural look more full and add more interest. Add branches that overlap existing branches to give it more interest and seem more realistic. Also, adding more branches with leaves off the main branches thickens up the design.

Use a darker shade for the background and you'll create instant drama. Also, add more contrasting colors to the branch design to create a more graphic look. I can't wait to create another similar wall with more color, but the effect of this color palate is very beautiful and sophisticated. This mural would look really great in a powder room if you can't afford wallpaper (confession: this was loosely inspired by DeGournay) or don't want to deal with the "permanence" of paper in an entry way.

Hope this helps! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions and I can further help you create your own wall. And encourage you to do it because I couldn't not be more excited with how this wall turned out!


  1. Heidi,
    This is unbelievable! Do you mind if I repost this tomorrow?

  2. This is a FABULOUS idea! And you did it effortlessly. Makes me think I could tackle this project. Thanks for sharing!!


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