DIY: Mock Anthropologie Tree Painting

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This is Anthropologie’s $2,000 dollar painting “Tree of Life.”  Ahem.

Since I like to craft and paint my own stuff, and help others do the same, I got inspired by a post at Lorilyn’s blog called “There’s spit in my hair”~ and did it myself.

Here’s mine and the step-by-step tutorial. Make one!photo 3

First, go search the garage for used lumber. 1×4 or 1×6 or 1x 8. Or you can re-use the surface of an end table. You can piece any widths together and secure them like this:

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Next, I divided the board into several colors, based on the left over green & blue paints I had in the garage. I watered them down a little, and sanded with medium grit paper when they were all dry:

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I used pencil and drew the base, looking at the model. Then I used Gesso (white paint is fine) for the leaves. Try a super stiff, small brush so you can shape out the edges. I am not a fine arts painter! I just fiddled with the basic oval shape and the brush made it easier.

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Now you have to be brave. In order to get these leaves faded and sitting “behind” the primary tree, I mixed white Gesso and water. I used about one teaspoon of paint with a cup of water. Take a larger brush and lightly load with water+paint mixture and try it on a corner, to test. It dries lighter than it goes on, so you’ll have to experiment.
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This looks pretty chalky white! But, after letting mine fully dry, it was much more subdued.  From here, I gave mine a good sanding, blending the leaves into the background.

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I really wish I had gotten a picture of just the trunk when I was done. I drew the trunk and basic limbs with a pencil. With several erasings and changes, I finally got a shape I liked. I painted the trunk and limbs next, saving the leaf-drawings for last.

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Looking at it all painted, it felt too bold and explicit, and what I wanted was softer and more muted. I was going to put on another layer of the paint+water, but changed my mind and tried lots of light sanding instead. That produced the effect I wanted and pulled the elements together.

photo 3One little point of serendipity~see the middle board where the trunk is? There was a knot in the plank of wood! The knot sits happily adapted to its new environment. LOL.

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One thought on “DIY: Mock Anthropologie Tree Painting

  1. I love it, it’s beautiful. I once made a 3-board sign out of discarded lumber and sold it for $40 at a craft show. I painted it mustard yellow/gold with red lettering and used jute as a hanger. It was rustic but very pretty. Your piece here looks similar. Thank you for sharing.

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