how to stencil trees

How to Stencil Trees in Multiple Colors

The Project:

Our client is a massage therapist.  She wanted to add some calming trees to her therapy room.  We decided on a forest/orchard look with faded trees in the background to create depth in the room.  Read more about the calming effect of trees here.


  • Tree Stencil (we did 6 trees easily with just one stencil)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paint
  • Paint Trays
  • Stencil Brushes
  • Stencil Roller
  • Paper Towels
  • Q-Tips and Water (for quick fixes)
  • Drop Cloth
  • Step Stool/chair

Paint Color Mixing

Our client chose the colors that matched well with the decor and floor colors.  The foreground tree colors were: Brown (very dark and muted) for the trunk and branches, Green (slightly muted olive green) for the leaves, Peachy Pink for the fruits and Red for the sun-kissed spots on the fruits.  For the background tree colors: we simply added White paint (about half and half quantities) to each of the foreground colors.  This gives the effect of the same tree, but farther away.

Step 1 – Begin with the Background Row

We used painter’s tape for the stencil because we intended to reverse the stencil for the foreground row.  Spray adhesive is not advised if you are planning on using your stencil in reverse.  Dot the registration marks (bottom corners) with a pencil.

We mixed all of our tree colors with white for the faded background trees.  It is easiest if you have a separate stencil brush for each color.  If you only have one brush, you will need to rinse it after every color.

We started with the branches in our faded brown.  The key to avoiding leakage behind the stencil is to dab perpendicular to the wall.

DO NOT use too much paint on your brush.




We continued with the leaf green, then the peach.  To add the sun-kissed spot: dab a touch of darker pink to one side (we chose upper right) and tap it outward a little bit to blend the colors slightly.

Then, we carefully peeled the stencil off the wall after a good once-over to make sure there were no shapes left out.  We cleaned up any leak spots with water and a Q-tip ASAP.  Next, we lined up piece 2 with the registration marks.  And we repeated the process.


When Piece 2 was finished, we lined up the trunk.  In this case, we used a stencil roller – every part is one color except two little leaves.  Again, it lines up to the registration marks.  We left the bottom of the trunk unfinished so that we could extend it later.

Continue Background Row (3 trees, in our case)

Once you have finished stenciling one tree, it is easier to do the rest because you have already applied the paint colors, separating branch shapes from fruits and leaves.  The spacing was kept fairly even, but not perfect.  That was because we wanted a really organic orchard look.  When considering how to stencil trees to look like a forest or orchard,

Step 2 – Foreground Row

The foreground trees are placed in between the background trees, overlapping slightly.  For these, we used our original, darker shades.  We also reversed the stencil.  Make sure it’s dry on the other side and free of any paint clumps.  Spacing was again even, but slightly imperfect.  The whole process was repeated three times.  We used a true Red paint color for the sun-kissed areas of the fruits.

The final touch was elongating the trunks by repeating the trunk stencil a few times vertically.

This 6-tree project only took a total of 9 hours and was done with just ONE stencil!  Have a day off?  Paint an orchard and transform you home.  The feeling these trees create is calming but full of life – a perfect statement for a massage room!