About 5 years ago I was asked if I would decorate a friend’s daughter’s bedroom. It was years before the advent of wall decals and vinyl stickers and they wanted something fun and pretty to break up the vast expanse of magnolia. The room was a bit of an odd shape — it had an alcove with a sloping roof — but I thought this would lend itself well to creating something really lovely.
I was obsessed with Enid Blyton books, when I was a child, and particularly loved The Magic Faraway Tree. I loved the idea of creating a secret space, so the little girl could lie in her bed and pretend she was in an enchanted forest. As her bed fit really well in the alcove, I imagined a tree’s branches surrounding the bed, almost giving her the feeling that she was sleeping in a tree house.
I started off by painting the alcove in hot pink emulsion, waited for it to dry then started on the tree design.
Although most of my work is created on the Mac, these days, it’s lovely to create somethings by hand occasionally, so I drew the tree freehand — with a white pencil — then filled in the lines with white paint.
Next came the foliage! I’d made a leaf shaped stencil and began to add leaves to the branches, using a gorgeous, zingy lime coloured emulsion; building them up one by one.
After they’d dried, I painted over a few of them with a glitter glaze, then added some small white stars and some large powder blue flowers, again in emulsion. I’d found some brilliant shiny, self adhesive mirror flowers online, which were perfect for popping in the middle of each larger painted flower and dotting around the tree to give it a bit of sparkle and life. And finally, I’d bought a butterfly garland and cut each little butterfly loose, to glue around the tree.
Adding a few 3D elements, to a mural, is a great way of really bringing it to life and giving it a totally unique feel. Also by adding a little glitter and sparkle — to catch the light — will make something that would otherwise be flat and dull, gorgeous and ethereal.
Finally, with the help of some clear, self adhesive hooks, I attached fairy lights around the trunk and branches of the tree. When they were switched off, you could barely see them but when they were on they looked amazing! They glinted off the glitter glaze and twinkled off the tiny mirror flowers.
All of a sudden our plain old wall had turned into something really magical!
Finally, once the bed was back in place, it was finished!
It was so simple to do — and cheap too. We used a small can of paint for the hot pink wall but the white, lime and blue emulsion were all tester pots. It took just a day to create this. The longest time we had to wait was 40 minutes or so for the pink background paint, then the same again for the body of the tree. Everything else was fairly instant! I used a glue gun to stick the fabric butterflies to the wall and the mirror flowers were self adhesive.
Needless to say, my little friend was pretty happy with her new space. As was I.