Multi Media Winter Birch Trees

Painting birch trees is a perennial favorite in art rooms. And for good reason. They’re easy, accessible and impressive.
I thought this take on the standard birch trees was equally as pretty.

I believe I found the idea on Artsonia, but shame on me, I forgot to note the art teacher.


– White 12″ x 18″ Sulphite drawing paper (1 per student)
– Tissue papers in warm and cool colors
– Mod Podge mixed with water
– Brushes
– Black cake watercolor
– Strips of white sulphite paper (see sidebar for brand name)
– Glue sticks
– Scissors

Creating the background
After a discussion on warm and cool colors, the children chose which temperature they preferred. Choosing only those colors, the children tore the tissue paper into small scraps and adhered them to the top of the paper using Mod Podge. Tip: brush both the paper and then again on top of the tissue to make sure it sticks well.
I encourage the kids to brush the tissue paper flat; no bunching.
Most important part of this step is to create a smooth line of tissue paper across the page. If the tissue paper has dents and cuts, it won’t look like a horizon line.

Making the Trees
Using scissors and scraps of white sulphite paper, cut long strips of curvy–not straight–trees. Vary the dimensions. Make sure no straight edges remain.

Painting the Trees
Using black watercolor cakes, demonstrate how to vary the intensity of the black paint using water. With a watery “gray”, run a strip of paint along one side of the trees, going from top to bottom.
Glue the trees to the paper, varying the distance from the bottom that the trees are placed (closer to the bottom, the closer the tree). Make sure the kids extend the trees right off the top of the paper.
Tip: The shadow side of the tree needs to be consistent.
Now, using a very small brush, paint black lines (use little water here) going around the trees for the bark

Creating Shadow
Using a medium intensity black paint, brush “shadows” from the base of the trees to the bottom of the page.


Want more lesson ideas for the holidays? Download this free lesson guide by clicking the yellow button below and I’ll send you my 5 Non-Religious Projects for the Holidays! 

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