How to Paint a Decorative Twig Design
Soften the look of a formal room with hand-painted branches and gold-washed leaves
Wall-frame molding can help make a large room feel more intimate, but those rectangles can also be a challenge to work with. Interior designer Meridy King, who likes to give period rooms a contemporary touch, originally decided to simply paint the paneled dining room walls in this Atlanta home a soft French blue with linen-white baseboards and chair rail. Artwork didn't sit right within the frame molding, and wallpaper inserts would have looked too fussy.
But something was still missing, so she turned to local decorative painter Brian Carter to provide the needed finishing touch. "The furniture and draperies were in; we just needed to enliven the space," he recalls. The solution came in the form of gentle tree branches, a natural motif for a room with a garden view. He let the branches grow up naturally, as if rooted in the dark oak floor, their leaves bumping up against the wall moldings as if they were framed by windows. "It looks random but has a sense of order," he says of the pattern. Just like the tree branches growing outside.
Sketch Outline in Chalk
The walls already had a base coat of interior latex with an eggshell finish, which is ideal. "Oil paint or latex with a higher gloss might make it hard for acrylic craft paint to stick to it," says decorative painter Brian Carter. Before you begin, paint a large piece of foam board with the same base color to provide a practice surface when you're working with thinned craft paint. On the walls, use painter's tape to create an edge along the bottom, right where the branches start, to give you a clean line.
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," says Carter. Establish the structure by sketching all the branches first, then add the leaves.