There are three ways you can paint leaves onto a wall. Each style has a distinct look. A freehand painting offers an artistic flair to your room design. A stencil or stamp can provide uniformity. All three types can be used with almost any style of decor and color scheme.
Freehand Painted Leaves
If you're artistic, then create whatever pattern of leaves you wish. Before you start painting, you'll need to choose your leaves' shapes and colors. Will your leaves be different hues of greens or will they be an array of fall colors? If you decide to go for fall colors, you can paint each type of leaf the actual color it turns in autumn. Alternatively, you can toss out the rules of nature and paint leaves in hues of purple, blue, and pink.
You can make freehand, general leaves or replicate real leaves by referencing ones you gather from your yard or see in photographs. If you're framing windows and doorways, then opt for ivy or grape leaves.
- 1 small flat artist brush for acrylic or oil paints
- 1 medium flat artist brush for acrylic or oil paints
- Acrylic paint in your color choices
- Paint palette
- Soap and water for cleaning brushes
Decide what a pattern for your wall. Are you painting a fall leaf scene with leaves falling and blowing from the wind or are you painting a lightly-dappled canopy of summer leaves? When you have a clear idea of the leaf pattern you wish to create, start drawing your leaves.
- Lightly sketch leaves onto the wall using a pencil. Once you have the leaf shapes penciled in, it's time to paint.
- Select the small flat brush to outline leaves.
- Select paint color you wish to use and squeeze a small amount onto the paint palette.
- Load the brush with paint by dipping the bristles into the paint. Outline the leaf to ensure you stay within the shape.
- Select the medium brush and load with paint by dipping tip of brush into paint. Move the brush back and forth on the palette to load paint evenly. You may need to repeat this a couple of times to get the paint loaded onto brush.
- Begin painting the leaves. Paint toward the center of the leaf to fill in. Finish painting one leaf before moving to the next.
- Clean brushes between color changes with soap and water or use a different brush. Repeat until all the leaves are painted the color(s) you want.
- Create depth and add detail to the leaves. Decide on direction of sunlight and paint leaves according to their relationship to the light source. Leaves closest to sunlight will be lightest in color. Blend lighter hues with original paint color by adding a few brush strokes in the appropriate place, typically the top of leaf, with the darker hues below. Some leaves will have lighter hues and others will have darker hues while some may have both.
- Once finished, wash brushes and palette with soap and water.
There are several types of stencils that you can use for walls. Some are simple and can be used as borders or mimic leaves blowing in the wind, while others are designed to appear like wallpaper. For example, the damask wallpaper stencil by Stencil Planet allows you to stencil over a colored wall to give the effect of wallpaper.
Painting a stenciled wall is fast work and easy when you know the steps.
- Spray repositional adhesive onto back of stencil to secure to wall. Don't overload the stencil with spray.
- Place stencil onto wall in desire position.
- Use a foam roller to achieve the best coverage. Depending on size of stencil you will want a two- to six-inch roller.
- Select stencil paint since it drys very quickly, allowing you to use the same stencil for the entire wall. You can use latex or acrylic.
- The majority of stencils have alignment lines to assist you in lining up the stencil pattern for a continuous appearance. If they don't, overlap the design slightly then begin stenciling the new section, being careful not to paint over the existing pattern. Work in vertical strips, completing one strip before moving on to the next one. Allow paint to dry after each stencil use.
- Fill in the areas around windows, doors, and corners with a stencil brush or flat brush.
Stamped Leaf Patterns
The art of stamping isn't just for scrapbooks and card stock. You can use leaf stamps made of wood, rubber, or foam to stamp leaf designs on your wall. You may wish to frame a wall, doorway, or window; stamp a large centerpiece on your wall; or stamp the entire wall.
There are all sizes of cling leaf stamps and others available that come with an index for aligning patterns. Cling stamps have a sticky back that clings to clear blocks for each stamping use and are cost effective since they are removable from the block, whereas a wood block is self-contained.
- Acrylic paint
- Foam pads or uninked stamp pads
- Small paint roller
- Apply paint to the stamp or foam pad. Use tip of the paint bottle or plastic spoon to spread paint onto the pad.
- Load stamp by pressing into pad. You may need to repeat a couple of times to fully load the stamp.
- Blot stamp on piece of paper before using on wall to remove any excess paint.
- Press stamp onto the wall area you want to decorate with leaves and remove, carefully lifting from the wall so as not smear the paint.
Deciding on Method
Each of these three methods of painting a leaf pattern on your wall(s) has merits. Some designs work best with stencils while others lend themselves to stamps. You can have more control over the end results when you use the free-hand method. Be sure you know what color(s) you wish to use before selecting which leaves you want to use.