I looked at my hallway right around the new year and I says to myself: Self, that hallway really ought to be an enchanted forest! And so it shall be.
It’s a long, z-shaped hallway, with a narrow little bit that is just a connector between the front and back of the house. Because of the shape of the hallway, there are two long straight halls that stared at a blank wall. I read somewhere that putting a pattern on the wall you walk toward made a long hallway feel less … eternal, and that’s originally where I got the idea for the forest. Because I wanted an indoor forest with magical birds. Because who doesn’t?
I used this post as inspiration and as a starting point, but I wanted a) a light background with dark trees and b) some depth, so I added another layer of trees.
1) First, tape off the stuff that you don’t want painted. This lamp is going away eventually, but I needed it for now…especially because I haven’t bought its replacement yet.
2) Paint your base coat. I picked my colors by going to Lowes and grabbing four colors in the same spectrum, a light bluish-gray/white, a light grey, a dark grey, and a so-dark-almost-black. But do better than us, and do the math. We’ve got tons of extra paint.
You can kinda tell that the wall color is different. Kinda. Trust me, it is; it went from peachy-beige to bluish-grey.
3) Tape some trees. I got some hefty use out of my blue tape over the next few days. At first I was following my inspiration post pretty closely, but then it became clear blue tape does not want to stick to heavily textured walls. So I did my best. I agree with her recommendation to flare the trunks of the trees out a little, but don’t go too crazy; you’re looking at the middle of the trees here, not the base or the canopy. Oh, and remember, this is the farther-away layer of trees, so don’t fill in all your gaps yet; you’ve got another layer on top of this, too.
For the branches, I taped kinda free-form. I overlapped the tape with the trunk, then cut away the parts I didn’t want. Remember that a branch must always be narrower than the trunk it branches off of, and branches get thinner the farther out they go.
4) Cut out anything you don’t want. Like I said, I cut out the parts of branches that needed to connect to the tree. I started to follow the original poster’s suggestion of x-acto knifing the trees, but it was quickly clear that I was cutting the wall, not making much difference in the tree, and overall wasting my time. I’d skip that step. If you’ve got textured walls like I do, it really, really won’t matter anyway. Plus you can always touch it up later.
5) Paint! Fill in the trees with your lighter grey color. It took me two coats.
6) Peel off the tape and admire your handiwork for a moment. Look at the nice trees you have!
7) Tape more trees. By now, you’re a total pro at this. Remember, these trees are closer to the viewer, so they may be just a scootch bigger. Or not. Whatever, it’s your enchanted forest. Make your own rules.
8) Cut out the unnecessary bits and paint some more! You’re so good at this by now! Wow!
Remember, trees aren’t uniform, so let them flow, overlap, do what feels right. You’re using the darker paint for this section of “closer” trees, and you’re adding to the illusion by painting them overtop the lighter-colored trees.
It’s starting to look like a proper forest!
9) Get some bird templates. Now if I’d not been doing this on a whim, I might have planned ahead, but no, I didn’t, so I had to run out at this point and go looking for some nice bird templates. And then it turns out that there weren’t any flying bird templates, which is stupid, so you ask your husband nicely and he makes you one. Which is pretty sweet.
10) Tape bird templates to the wall and paint! I made my enchanted birds gold, but pick whatever color you like. I discovered gold paint from the home improvement stores is stupid expensive. So forget it. Just go buy some cheap acrylic paint from the craft store. It’s like $2.
If you have flying and sitting birds, make sure you mix it up so the birds are kinda tastefully spread out. Or don’t, make a flock, that’s cool too! It’s your enchanted forest, after all!
This…took a lot of coats of paint. Some as much as four. Just tape it, paint it, then come back an hour later and paint it again. I painted it in between loads of laundry.
11) Add bark details. Take a small paintbrush and your dark paint and add some swirls, swoops and swishes to your dark tree trunk. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll probably want some on your lighter trees, too. I mixed some of the dark tree color with the light tree color and wham: instant medium grey. Paint that on your lighter trees, and you’ve got a pretty nice forest.
12) Touch up and clean up. I didn’t like the pointyness of some of my branches, or the rough spots where the tape got weird, so I went in with pretty much all the paint colors and a small brush and freehanded details until they looked acceptable. But maybe you followed this guide flawlessly and did it perfectly the first time—awesome! Next up, take off the tape. It can be a little finicky, but peel firmly and steadily and you should be okay.
Then, enjoy your forest!
I intend to buy a old-timey outdoor-lamp-lookin’ lamp for the fixture, and then I’ll paint in a light pole so it’ll look a little Narnia-ish, but overall, I’m pretty happy with my enchanted forest. It’s definitely not in every house! 😉