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How to paint a decorative twig design

Decorative moulding can help make a large room feel more intimate, but those rectangles can also be a challenge to work with. The solution came in the form of gentle tree branches, a natural motif for a room with a garden view.


The design lets the branches grow up naturally, as if rooted in the dark oak floor, their leaves bumping up against the wall mouldings as if they were framed by windows.


Masking tape
Small artists paint brush
Acrylic craft paint - two colours






1. The walls already had a base coat with an eggshell finish. On the walls, use masking tape to create an edge along the bottom, right where the branches start, to give you a clean line.

2. Starting at the base of each wall frame, sketch the branches with chalk, erasing mistakes with a damp sponge. Imagine how something would grow from the ground, and play with it until you get a look you like. Establish the structure by sketching all the branches first, then add the leaves.

3. You can use acrylic craft paint for the branches and leaves because it delivers good colour intensity and you need only small quantities. Thin the craft paint 4-to-1 with water to achieve a soft, semi translucent line. You want it sort of sheer so that you don't get a solid brush stroke.

4. Practice loading a small artist's brush and applying brown paint on a scrap piece of board before moving to the walls. It's fine to paint over the chalk; you can erase any errant marks later. Let the branches dry thoroughly.

5. Practicing on the board, use gold paint thinned 4-to-1 with water to get the right translucency for the leaves. Paint leaves; let dry. Then add a second coat. You want the structure of the leaves to show through. It keeps the pattern light and airy, and more natural-looking too.

this old house