Watercolor Trees

I love paintings, but painting is never something I’ve considered myself good at. I can make crafty things and follow instructions, sure, but actual art? No way. Well, here is an easy peasy painting I made my mom for her birthday that required almost zero painting skills but still turned out beautifully!

Easy water color aspen trees diy


  • White watercolor paper
  • painters tape
  • exacto knife + cutting mat (scissors would work in a pinch)
  • watercolors
  • watercolor pallette
  • wide paintbrush (I used a flat 3/4″ brush)
  • thin paintbrush (I used round size 0 brush)
  • white crayon (optional)

Start by cutting your watercolor paper down to your desired size – I find that watercolor paper sizes and  frame sizes do not tend to match up. I cut 9×11″ watercolor paper down to 8×10″. Then, if you want a border, use some painter’s tape to mark off your desired thickness around the edge. If you want a really thin border, keep in mind that frames cut off a slight border from the paper as well.

watercolor trees border

Next, use an exacto knife to cut out your tree trunks and whatever other objects you’d like. I just cut gently wavy lines down strips of painters tape for the trunks. I added some tapered branches to the trunks. I then drew a crescent moon and some stars onto the painters tape and cut those out as well.

painters tape for watercolor trees

Arrange these on your paper however you want. Painters tape is great for this because you can rearrange things as much as you’d like!

water color trees painters tape diy

I also used a white crayon to make some ‘snow’. You can make marks on your page with a white crayon, and the watercolor will avoid those areas.

white crayon watercolor

Then mix up some blue shades of watercolor and just cover the whole thing with your wide paintbrush! Imperfection is great here – if you have uneven variations in color, it’ll just look more organic. I got my Reeves brand watercolors from JoAnn ($7 for the whole 18 color set with a coupon), and used ultramarine, phthalo blue, and payne’s gray to mix up my shades of blue. I found that the paper warped a bit when wet (maybe just because I used cheap watercolor paper?), so I taped the edges down to my table with more painters tape and that helped considerably. Let the paint dry, but don’t wash out your watercolor palette just yet!

water color trees with painters tape DIY

Once that paint is dry, carefully peel off all the painters tape. You could finish here, and have beautiful trees! I wanted to add a couple more details, so I a small brush (round 0) to paint in horizontal marks to mimic aspen trees. I just did these randomly and used a few of the different shades I’d used for the background.

water color trees with painters tape DIY

I also used a very watered down blue to make shadows on one edge of each of the trees.

water color trees with painters tape DIY

Now just pop in a nice frame and display 🙂

Credit where credit is due: this is very similar to the great tutorial here that I found via pinterest. I just wanted to share what I did and added a bit more detail 🙂

8 thoughts on “Watercolor Trees

  1. That is so pretty! I would never have guessed you did that with tape. 🙂 I’m not much of an artist either, but give me a pattern and I can make something nice!

  2. So very pretty and I love water colors, how clever to use the tape. Very simple and pretty, love the snow on the trees with a crayon! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

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