{seasonal style} Painted Christmas Trees

I can't believe Christmas is only five days away! I should have been wrapping presents for the last couple of days, but instead I've been busy finishing up my decorative Christmas tree craft project. 

Modern Painted Christmas Trees

Earlier this week I showed you where this project started - with three paper mache cone Christmas trees, three flat chipboard Christmas trees, and a whole lot of paints and craft supplies. Basically, one big mess on the kitchen table.

I tackled the paper mache Christmas trees first, and they turned out great! You can read all the details about my fur, bead garland, and scrapbook paper Christmas trees in this post.

Modern DIY Christmas Trees

Once I finished the three cone-shaped trees, I got started on the flat chipboard trees that my mom had bought for me during a sale at Hobby Lobby.  Since the shapes of these trees didn't lend themselves well to being covered in ribbon, beads, or other materials, I decided to simply paint each of the chipboard trees. I used some Christmas ads to cover and protect my kitchen table, then started with a base coat of paint on the trees before giving each a unique paint treatment.

Chalkboard Christmas Tree. First up is my chalkboard Christmas tree. I already had some leftover black chalkboard paint from another project, but I really wanted this tree to be gray, so I made a quick trip to Michael's for a bottle of CraftSmart brand of acrylic chalkboard paint. After letting two coats of the paint dry for 24 hours, I followed the instructions on the bottle and "primed" the chalkboard finish by using the side of a piece of chalk to fully cover the painted surface. I then rubbed the chalk in with a dry cloth before using a chalkboard eraser to remove the chalk and return the tree to a solid grey finish.

Since I had covered one of my paper mache Christmas trees in music note scrapbook paper, I decided it would be fun to write lyrics from a favorite Christmas song on this chalkboard tree. I used a scrap of paper to jot down several sets of lyrics in order to figure out what would best fit within the lines of my tree.  I settled on "White Christmas," but I look forward to changing the lyrics from year to year.

White Metallic Christmas Tree with Ornaments. Next up, I worked on the Christmas tree with the circle cutouts. After painting the tree with a base coat of white acrylic, I then applied two coats of Modern Masters brand of shimmer metallic paint in Snowflake White using the leftovers of the sample-sized bottle I had purchased for another project.

I wanted to create the appearance of an ornament hanging within each of the open circles of this tree, so I picked up a bag of small glitter-covered styrofoam spheres for about a dollar at a local craft store. A very fine needle and thin, clear thread completed my supply list.

I threaded the needle and left and equal length of thread on each side of the needle's eye. I originally tried to knot the thread before pulling it through the sphere, such that the knot would prevent the thread from pulling all the way out, but the thread was too thin and even with two or three knots it still just pulled right through the styrofoam.  Instead, I pushed the needle through the center, then wrapped the thread around the sphere and placed the needle back through the same spot again to make it more secure. I left about a two inch length of string on one side, and trimmed off the excess thread on the other side.  I placed a dab of hot glue over the trimmed off threads on what would be the bottom of the ornaments to ensure that the thread would stay securely in place.

I used the thread on the top of the spheres to suspend the ornaments within each of the full circles on the Christmas tree.  Large gobs of hot glue on back side of the tree holds the threads in place. {And, yes, "dab" and "glob" are very technical hot glue terms!} From the front side of the tree, ornaments appear to be floating in the center of each circular cutout.

Ombre Christmas Tree.  Finally, the Christmas tree I was most excited about, but also the most nervous about - my Ombre tree. I've painted ombre stripes before {on a large scale - all the walls of the nursery}, but for this tree I wanted the color to fade from dark to light rather than having stark stripes.

I had already learned that the chipboard absorbed quite a bit of paint and required several coats to cover, so I started by giving the entire tree a two coats of solid white acrylic. Then I selected a charcoal acrylic paint for the darkest grey at the bottom of the tree.

I squeezed out a large amount of the charcoal paint onto my paint palette and mixed in some Liquitex Slow-Dri Blending Medium (to keep the paint from drying to quickly, thus making it easier to blend the colors together as I worked). I started by painting a thick stripe of charcoal gray at the bottom of the tree.  I then added some white paint to the gray on my palette to lighten the gray color just a bit, and painted a second striped on the tree overlapping the first stripe by about a quarter of an inch, blending the two colors together where they met.  I continued to add more white to the gray paint to create increasingly lighter shades and followed the same painting process as I worked my way toward the top of the tree. 

I ended up using a total of eight different shades of gray as I painted from the bottom to the top of the tree. Because I found it to be easier to blend the lighter color of paint into the darker color, when I reached the top of the tree, I added another coat of white paint to the very tip and blended the white down into the shade a light gray below.

After having created such distinctly different looks on the cone shaped Christmas trees (fur, beads and scrapbook paper), I felt challenged to ensure that each of the painted chipboard trees had a very unique finish. I think I accomplished this goal quite well with my chalkboard tree, my ombre tree, and my white metallic tree with glitter ornaments.

I am thrilled with the finished products!  These three painted Christmas trees, when paired with the three cone shape trees I completed earlier this week, will be the perfect holiday decor for our fireplace mantel!

Modern Painted Christmas Trees

Now that all of these Christmas trees are finally complete, I have no more excuses and it's time to start wrapping presents!  On Christmas...

Looking for more Christmas inspiration? You might be interested in these projects:

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