To learn how to draw a Christmas tree from scratch could be challenging. Here’s an easier way! Learn step-by-step how to paint a Christmas tree easily by layering stencils and hand painted techniques, offering a quaint, homespun look! Great for beginners!
This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage on qualified purchases, at no extra cost to you.
I’ve always loved the look of hand illustrated art! While I do have some background in it (remember tole painting?), watching artists paint from scratch has always mesmerized me!
On that note, DIY Christmas trees are so my thing! What I love about them most is the fact that you can create them once, then decorate them anyway you wish each year if you leave the trees plain.
Here’s a few of my past Christmas tree sign favs:
I actually love how they ALL turned out! Even though all the details are done with just stencils.
So when I desired to create a cute and quirky Christmas Tree seedling type of sign for my Christmas front porch, I was hopeful I could capture some charming hand painted details. But drawing trees completely by hand would have been daunting!
But there’s an easier way. I started with a stencil first. Then, I started to layer the paint on top, filling in all kinds of hand painted details on each graphic. Boy did that move turn out to be a game changer.
The tree went from a simple stenciled image, to one positively loaded with homespun hand painted results. It even looks vintage!
Plus, even if one makes mistakes, which I did too, they are so easy to fix by painting over and starting again! You get LOTS of second chances with this method.
So if you too love a hand-painted look, here’s how to draw a Christmas tree an easy way for beginners that just may have you feeling like a real artist too!
Here’s the easy step-by-step instructions in this full tutorial.
How to draw a Christmas tree with stencils and loaded with hand painted charm!
Supplies I used:
Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post so you can view the hand painted details!
Where to find a Christmas Tree stencil and decorations
The tree is a unique seedling styled Christmas tree planted in a tin can, complete with its own lettering!
The decorations offer popcorn and cranberry garlands, two hanging tags with a 2 and 5, and a Christmas ornament that can be decorated with numbers or a star, plus 3 different sized pine cones to finish up your natural Christmas tree done right! Along with slightly rounded Merry Christmas sign that also fits onto the round can.
Next up, here’s how to draw a Christmas tree, adding decorations, and much more!
Preparing the sign boards
1. Prepare boards to at least fit the size of the main tree stencil, plus a little extra breathing room.
The Christmas Tree Seedling stencil image (tree and can only) measure to a total of: 11″wide x 28″ tall.
- Each board: 5.25 wide x 48″ high
- Total combined: 16″ wide x 48″ high
Assembling the boards
2. Attach the support boards with screws to the upper and lower sections of the 3 main boards.
I’d suggest to zig zag the screw positionings so the main longer boards don’t rock back and forth.
Painting the boards
3. Prep the boards by cleaning, lightly sanding, removing the dust.
I clean reclaimed wood by pressure washing it before storage, so it’s always ready to build with.
4. Coat the boards with Fusion Mineral Paint in Parchment.
This white casts a slight grey undertone once dry. I liked that it wasn’t bright white, which resulted in a toned down antique-look.
If you’d like to try a warmer white, Victorian Lace is nice too!
Stenciling the Christmas tree branches
This is where the fun begins! Now this is how to draw a Christmas tree that is much easier than done completely by hand!
5. Position the simple Christmas Tree Seedling stencil in the middle of the sign boards, minus the lettering attachment located at the bottom of the stencil.
This stencil has accurate registration marks on the top and two sides so you can position your main image in the middle of your surface effortlessly.
6. Run masking tape along the entire left side to create a door hinge effect.
This will help you check your stenciling progress with ease.
Adding evergreen highlights
7. Stencil in the evergreen branches using Fusion’s Carriage House.
Oh how I loved this paint colour! It’s the perfect Christmas tree green with a softer touch that makes the entire Christmas tree image feel light, airy and vintage-like!
How to stencil with no paint bleed:
- Dip dome-tipped stencil brush into paint.
- Remove most paint onto a rag, until brush feels dry.
- Tap or swirl paint through stencil for the desired effect.
Stencil the evergreen branches very sparingly with the lighter tone to create some highlights. This gave the evergreen branches lots of pop and depth.
Hand painting pine needles
10. Using a quality artist’s paint brush, mix the paint with water until your consistency allows the paint to flow freely off the brush with no drag or major coverage. The consistency is key to making the hand painting work effortlessly.
10. Create small pine needle strokes on top of the evergreen branches, starting from the inside of the branch going out. Repeat in all directions, with a mix the lighter and darker needles. This will give the needles some curves and shadows to play against.
Remove the stencil, then finish up by painting pine needles closer to the edges.
Just keep painting until you’re happy with the look. The outcome turned out SO good and instantly morphed a simple christmas tree look into one that looks hand painted!
Painting a galvanized rusty can
The can colour can be anything you desire! However, here’s how I achieved this rusty galvanized look.
11. Paint the can in Little Lamb.
13. Using a rusty red tone, load the stencil brush but remove most paint so the brush feels VERY dry. Then tap along the edges of the can and lightly towards the center to create a rusty can effect.
The red I used is Acrylic Craft Paint Deco Art in Georgia Clay.
Didn’t the rusty galvanized can turn out cool?! The mottled paint really took on a rusty galvanized texture!
How to draw a Christmas tree trunk
15. To paint the trunk of the tree, stencil in Fusion’s Woodwick, then mix a deeper brown and run a hand painted line along one side. Use a lighter brown tone on the other side if desired to give the trunk more dimension.
I LOVE Woodwick. It’s such a nice neutral tone of brown.
16. Stencil the pinecones by mixing a cinnamon toned paint with the colours you have on hand.
Reference images if you need a little extra inspiration. I just looked at a real pinecone and attempted the same tone.
17. Detail the pinecone with hand painted strokes if desired.
I went too far so I stenciled back over it again. LOL
And that’s the nice thing about this kind of art! You can start all over again by stenciling over and trying again if you mess up!
Adding painted Christmas tree decorations
15. To paint the decorations, the Merry Christmas with Decorations stencil from HERE was used. Position the stencil to paint the decorations where desired.
I just mixed tones that suited the images and hand painted details on top.
How I painted the decorations:
Popcorn – a tone of medium yellow was stenciled, then hand painted in small circles around the popcorn shapes with a thin outline of dark yellow.
Cranberries – the cranberries were stenciled in a rusty red tone, then highlighted with tiny curved line details in a lighter cranberry tone.
Both garlands were hand painted with added twine between the popcorn and cranberry gaps.
Ornaments – stenciled in black, then highlighted by hand in a grey to add shine
What a difference these tiny details made! And honestly, typing this all out is way more work than just stenciling an image, then adding details. Don’t overthink it. Just do it and have fun!
And remember, it’s all easy to fix. Just paint over any mistakes, and give it another go. The paint is your personal eraser!
Christmas drawing inspiration
For reference, I used the above full colour image that’s also found in the stencil listing HERE, as a design guide when painting, which proved actually quite helpful with each Christmas tree step! I suggest to save the image to your phone to provide easy and quick referencing when needed.
Tip: Try and paint most decorations on the white surface, as anything that overlaps the tree branches and otherwise will require more coats of paint for full coverage.
The completed tree sign
And here’s the full Christmas tree sign! Oh how I love how it turned out! It’s light, bright, in soft tones, and oh so Christmasy! I think I’m going to hang this cutie in my bedroom!
But it’s those final step hand painted details that make this Christmas tree image extra special, don’t you think?
And here’s one more decorating idea! Use real items to hang on the tree to give it a fun 3D effect! Here, added cranberry faux beads and real popcorn were hot glued into place.
For the pinecones, I used a drill bit to drill a hole, then screwed the pinecones onto the board, then covered the screw head with other bits of pinecone.
It’s cute too! But I think I prefer the hand painted variation best!
Other decorative elements to add to your tree:
- Leave the branches bare, then add real ornaments each Christmas to change things up.
- Hang small bows, real ornaments, candy canes
- Attach fairy lights for a night time glow.
- Add a snowy sparkle with glitter.
- Place Christmas presents made from wood blocks at the base of the tree.
- Hang Christmas lights to your tree foliage.
- Try extra decorations such as ribbons, gift tags, berries, etc.
- Hang something at the top of your tree, such as a star or ornament.
This little Christmas Tree seedling sign is the perfect touch for a front porch! At the base of the tree sign stands other small faux evergreen trees inside their own galvanized tin cans or buckets which brings the entire theme all together.
So if you were to ask me to offer up some info on the drawing of a Christmas tree, stencil-style, here’s my beginner’s advice:
- Use a stencil to start.
- Paint and stencil in all the images with soft overall tones of paint for a cohesive look.
- Add hand painted finer details to suit each piece.
- Make a mistake? Paint over it and start again.
- Keep going until you love the look!
- Try different shades of the same tone for each detail.
- Get a brainstorm of something else you want? Pencil sketch the image, and give it a go with paint.
We may not turn into amazing artists overnight, but hey, I’m pretty proud of this piece.
Here’s hoping this easy Christmas tree drawing step-by-step tutorial will give you the confidence to give your own hand painting a go, as well as offer up a fantastic addition to your festive decorating this holiday season! Here’s creating your own Christmas trees your way!
Video tutorial – How to draw a Christmas tree
View short video above to watch some of the hand painted detailing on this Christmas tree sign!
How to draw a Christmas tree with stencils and loaded with hand painted charm!
- Christmas Tree Seedling stencil
- Merry Christmas and Decorations stencil
- reclaimed wood planks
- Americana Decor Art paint in Georgia Clay
- Fusion Mineral Paint - Little Lamb
- Fusion Mineral Paint - Coal Black
- Fusion Mineral Paint - Carriage House (green)
- Fusion Mineral Paint - Parchment (greyish white)
- Fusion Mineral Paint - Woodwick
- Stencil brush (I love dome-tipped)
- 2 inch angle brush by Fusion Mineral Paint
- Artist brushes
- Masking tape
- Cut boards to fit the total tree stencil which measures: 11" wide x 28" tall. The boards in this tutorial measure 16"wide x 48" tall total.
- Attach two horizontal support boards at top and bottom with screws.
- Paint boards in Fusion Mineral Paint in Parchment.
- Position Christmas Tree Seedling stencil (tree image only) in the middle of the boards. Secure with masking tape running along left side of stencil to create a door hinge effect.
- Evergreen branches: stencil in Fusion's Carriage House. Stencil a lighter green on top to highlight the branches. Hand paint pine needles in lighter and darker shades of green to contrast.
- Trunk: Stencil in Fusion's Woodwick. Hand paint left side edges with a darker shade, and the right side a lighter shade to enhance.
- Bucket: Stencil in Fusion's Little Lamb. Stencil a darkened version along outer edges. Dry brush a rusty effect around edges and overall if desired.
- Lettering: Stencil lettering in Georgia Clay. Stencil a darkened tone along the bottoms of the letters to enhance.
- Stencil decorations with Merry Christmas And Decorations stencil. Enhance each one with hand painted details. (see video)
Visit other DIY Christmas trees and signs HERE