Crafting with Cassie is always fun, but what was especially fantastic during this project were her words of encouragement which helped me paint the thumb print tree for my At Home Reception. From the first day my husband and I started planning our wedding I knew that I did not want a traditional guest book and so I started looking around on Etsy where I found the idea of the thumb print tree.
Wanting to save money I decided that I wanted to create the tree myself, but I had no idea how to go about it. After weeks and months of searching for ideas online I considered several ideas, not including doing it myself, and then I saw an acrylic tree painting Cassie had just finished and knew with her help I was capable of doing the thumb print tree myself. I finally found a tree that I loved on Etsy here. I bought all of my supplies from JoAnn’s with several coupons. I did end up using some of Cassie’s paint pen and paint brushes because they were thinner and harder and easier to do the detailing with.
- Acrylic Paints (JoAnn’s)
- Scrapbook Paper
- Paint Pens
- Black Fine Tip Sharpie
I had my laptop open to the tree painting I liked and started out by sketching with pencil on the canvas. I began by free drawing the trunk, the outline of the roots, the main branches of the tree and the swing. Using a pencil was great because I could easily erase any lines I didn’t like. I started painting with ‘Au Natural’ from JoAnn brand acrylic paint. I painted the inside of the tree before I painted the outline so that I wouldn’t paint over the outline. I made sure to stay within my sketch so that the branches wouldn’t end up being too big for the size of the tree. I also knew once I was done with all of the branches I could cover any of the pencil left once I began outlining.
After I finished painting all of the tree and branches that I sketched, I grabbed a smaller more sturdier brush to start on the branches. I looked at the painting of the tree I liked and put a similar amount of little branches as in the painting. Once all of the branches looked similar to my favorite tree painting, I took a break and then stood back to see where else I wanted to add branches to make them look fuller so that I could maximize the amount of thumb prints we can get at the reception.
I then used and even smaller and sturdier brush and ‘Chocolate Sprinkle’ acrylic paint to begin outlining my tree. I put shadows throughout the tree for depth and along the branches. Then I used the same brush from when I painted the base of the tree and used ‘Au Natural’ and ‘Hot Cocoa’ acrylic paints. I dipped each corner of the paint brush into one of the paints and then brushed the paint on the canvas. I did not premix, but let the paint mix as I used the brush so that I would get the light effect onto the tree. I then painted the swing and premixed ‘Au Natural’ and ‘Hot Cocoa’ for the heart that is carved out of the tree.
I’m very critical about my handwriting and didn’t want our names at the bottom of the tree to look bad so I started brainstorming for ideas. Cassie remembered my Cricut Expression that I got for Christmas and so it was christened! I used my Winter Wonderland cartridge because that was my favorite font and got to work cutting the letters into some scrapbook paper, which I then cut and taped the negative space to the canvas. I used a ruler to make sure that the wording would be centered and then I used a black paint pen to fill in the letters.
Here is the tree I brought to my At Home Reception. I used a black fine tip Sharpie for the letters within the carved heart and put detailing on the wooden swing to make it look real. I also added some detailing to the rope to make it look more realistic.
And here it is! My finished tree! I am so excited about how it turned out and I still can’t believe I was able to do it myself.I had my At Home Reception guests use a dark green, light green, and blue ink pad for their thumb print leaves. My husband and I also added our thumbprints as the two love birds on the swing.
Stay tuned for my Destination Wedding Guest Book! What are some guest book ideas you’ve seen that you loved?